In my post earlier this evening about the Windows 7 launch, I mentioned new content providers in Windows Media Center and that was one of the other big announcements today – Sky and Microsoft announced the addition of Sky Player, Skyâ€™s online TV service, to Windows Media Center in Windows 7, creating a new and exciting way to watch live and on-demand TV from Sky on a PC.
In a few days time (27 October), Sky Player will also be available on the Xbox 360 and, whilst it can also be accessed from other platforms, the integration into Microsoft’s media offerings is part of Microsoftâ€™s multi-screen entertainment strategy which will bring a wide range of live and on-demand entertainment programmes to the Windows platform.
The service will give Windows 7 users access live and on-demand pay TV currently available via Sky Player, including movies, sports, entertainment, children’s programming, music, arts and documentaries.
For existing Sky TV customers, Sky Player in Windows 7 provides an alternative to their set top box in order to view their Sky TV. For new customers, Sky Player in Windows 7 will offer a wide range of live channels and on-demand content via a number of monthly subscription packages.
According to the press release:
“Windows 7 enables audiences with a broadband Internet connection to watch TV from Sky on a PC. In addition to offering digital music, photos and personal videos all in one place, Windows 7 makes it easier to discover great TV, sports and movies from Sky straight from the PC desktop, via a new desktop gadget. Users can also browse programme galleries or search for shows using keywords.”
Ashley Highfield, Managing Director and Vice President Consumer and Online at Microsoft UK (formerly of both the BBC and Project Kangaroo), commented:
“The way UK consumers interact with TV is changing. Audiences now want to consume great quality TV anywhere and at any time and are demanding a lot more from their TV experience. With the launch of Windows 7 and through partners such as Sky, we are making new things possible and delivering TV to British viewers the way they want it”
Sky recommends a 2Mbps broadband connection and when asked if the content was high definition, Sky’s Director of OnDemand, Griff Parry, said that the company is looking to improve the service over time but for now the focus is on great quality standard definition programming.
Maybe one day we’ll see the BBC’s iPlayer integrated in a similar manner – I certainly hope so!