Project Ethan: Sky planning major revamp of set top box to fend off competition

Sky has setup a special unit named "Project Ethan" that's planning a major overhaul to place shows in the cloud, it's claimed.

In preparation for competing services from Apple TV, Google and Amazon, Sky has punted the name "Project 2016". This apparent two-year plan should mean a complete overhaul of the platform.

According to The Telegraph a new Sky+ box will be issued that allows shows to be recorded in the cloud where users will be able to access them from anywhere. So a show paused at home can be continued on a mobile when out. While that sounds like a smoother version of Sky Go it's likely there's more to it.

For one thing Sky should be introducing 4K viewing in the not-too distant future. The project is being led by Andrew Olson, formerly of American cable company Comcast. He has taken a board seat at ViXS, a semi-conductor company, who announced a new type of microchip that is, "a high-performance, yet cost-effective, solution for the next wave of set-top boxes, gateways and other consumer premise equipment solutions aiming to deliver ultra-high definition 4K content service."

Another reason for this new cloud-based delivery system could be to tackle the issue of device support. Sky's attempts to support Android for Sky Go have been lacklustre at best over the past few years. This cloud-based system should allow for simpler apps where all the processing is done at Sky's server end - meaning broader device support.

We contacted Sky to learn more and were told: "Innovation is at the heart of our business. We are always looking at ways to enhance our service to customers, as with the launch of our new EPG home page this month."

READ: Hands-on: Sky EPG 2014 review (video)



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