Humax has announced that it is partnering with BSkyB to offer the Sky Player on its Freeview HD set top box - the HD-Fox T2 - something which to be honest puzzles us slightly because while Sky Player is essentially free, you still need to be a paid-for Sky subscriber.
Now, we don't know of many people who would pay for a Freeview HD box AND a Sky subscription especially during times of economic hardship. The video on demand platform will also be rolled out on other Humax receivers which means that you will need at least TWO settop boxes to benefit from the offer.
Sky's director of on-demand Griff Parry explained that "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."
We believe however that this will provide Sky with an exceptionally good way of putting Sky content on non Sky boxes. Like BBC's competing iPlayer platform, Sky is trying to get as many supporters as possible and until now, 3view, Cello and IP VIsion have agreed to add Sky Player to their products.
Sky has already told us that they won't launch free 3D TV content on any platform. Stephen Gaynor, Head of Communications, Commercial told us that "we couldn’t offer 3D services over Freeview as we do not hold a licence for any of the platform’s 5 HD channel slots".
Sky needs to be more aggressive in getting more partners on board as it prepares for a cut in sport related revenues following the Ofcom decision to improve competition in the market and the simultaneous launch of Canvas by the end of the year.