BSkyB's Sky Player Broadband TV Service to Launch on New Freeview HD Set-Tops from Humax

UK satellite-TV provider, BSkyB, said Wednesday that its Sky Player broadband video service will be available on Humax's new range of high-definition hybrid DTT/IP set-top boxes for the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview (note: Humax is the UK's largest provider of Freeview set-tops). Those boxes include the Humax HD-FOX T2, which launched in February and which Humax claims is the UK's first Freeview HD box (note: the box also allows users to access the BBC iPlayer broadband TV service), and an HD DVR that is slated to launch in the coming months. Other platforms on which the Sky Player service is currently available--or is set to launch--include Microsoft Xbox and Windows Media Center, Apple Mac, FetchTV, 3View, and Cello connected TV's.

Sky Player offers both live, linear TV channels and a VOD service, and its content spans a range of high-profile broadcasters. According to BSkyB, the service's availability on Humax set-tops will enable existing Sky TV customers to access live and on-demand TV in a second or third room, and will allow Freeview viewers to upgrade their TV service by purchasing a standalone Sky Player subscription: existing Sky customers can access Sky Player content on a bonus basis in accordance with their core Sky DTH and product subscriptions, while non-Sky customers can choose from a range of TV packages that are available on Sky Player through a monthly subscription.

According to Humax, the HD-FOX T2 offers Dolby sound and support for home networking, content sharing and interactive TV services. The DVR version of the box is slated to offer a 500GB hard drive. "In providing both new and existing customers with more choice and control over how they access Sky content, we continue to harness secure and high-quality distribution platforms like Humax," BSkyB's director of on-demand, Griff Parry, said in a prepared statement. "We know that many Sky homes also have Freeview in other rooms, and this provides a great way for them to enjoy Sky away from their Sky box. And for new customers, particularly those in Freeview homes, it provides an innovative new access point to Sky's high-quality pay-TV content."