(Pocket-lint) - Sky is heavily tipped to bring forward the launch of a 4K Ultra HD-enabled set-top-box to spring in the UK.

This might come as a shock to some, especially with broadcasters yet to reveal their 4K ambitions, but the company faces increased pressure by BT and it is suggested that Sky will combat its rival's acquisition of the Champions League football rights by being the first provider to offer Ultra HD content and hardware.

The Daily Telegraph claims that industry sources reveal Sky's plans for a new premium service, which will come with a new, higher level premium subscription. And while it will be capable of playing 4K material, the box and service will be sold on other features instead - at least initially.

Sources claim that Sky's customer focus will centre on the new box's ability to link with smartphones and tablets, for viewing remotely. And it is said to be able to store recorded programmes in the cloud rather than on the hard drive, for viewing on other devices.

It is believed that Sky was looking to launch the new box and a premium service next year, when the 4K market has matured further, but it is taking BT's challenge seriously.

Indeed, BT is also rumoured to be introduce a new set-top-box soon which could have the ability to playback 4K content, most likely over an internet connection.

Virgin Media is also currently running trials for 4K content delivery in the UK.

Writing by Rik Henderson.