If you’re a Sky HD customer chances are you’re already familiar with the satellite firm’s video-on-demand service Sky Anytime.
Just in case you’re not, the service allows you to watch a selection of films, sports events and TV shows after they’ve been aired.
But, as Virgin Media and others point out, this isn’t a true video-on-demand service because the ‘demand’ is limited to a small selection of content pushed to the Sky HD box and stored on its hard drive.
A ‘real’ on-demand allows the user to stream content from a remote server via broadband.
Sky has such a service, known as Sky Anytime+ but this is limited only to customers who also subscribe to its broadband service.
Or at least it was. Virgin Media has recently been offering catch-up content from SKy’s channels via it’s on-demand service under the Sky Anytime badge.
This has stoked the flames of dissent on Sky’s forums, with users unhappy that non-Sky customers can now access on-demand content denied to them.
Sky forum staff speak of a desire to ensure customers receive the best possible service while some customers accuse the firm or merely wanting to push its broadband service.
But some forum users now believe things are about to change and that Sky will soon allow customers with non-Sky broadband to access the Anytime+ service.
The reason for this newfound hope is an apparent change in the system message displayed when Sky HD customers plug a network cable into their box.
Whether the change has any real significance remains to be seen.
Sky are currently upgrading their broadband service at considerable expense and retaining Anytime+ as an exclusive service could be one way of recouping that investment.
On the other hand, Sky could well end up providing on demand content to YouView. Would it really want to do so while denying its TV subscribers access to the same service?
It also faces calls to open up its boxes to rival on-demand movie services. Doing so wouldn’t really make sense if the majority of its subscriber base (it has roughly 3.5m broadband users but over 10m TV subscribers) couldn’t access the service.
Are Sky about to make a lot of customers happy and open up Anytime+?
Should those on non-Sky broadband read anything into this ad which states merely that ‘on demand requires compatible box’?