Xbox and Sky bolster video on demand options


Another confluence of news this morning as both Sky and Microsoft have announced enhancements to their on-demand video offerings.


It was only a few months ago that Sky started individual on-demand rentals of new DVD releases, offering films that would be otherwise unavailable on their other packages, and they’ve now augmented this offering with what they’re calling “buy & keep”. Rather than simply sell film rentals, users will now be able to buy films to keep and play any time… and in addition to a download, Sky will post a copy of the film to them on DVD too. So even if you cancel your Sky subscription, you’ll still get to keep hold of the film.

The service looks set to launch with some big names thanks to deals with Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox and NBC Universal. Recent films available to “buy & keep” will include The Desolation of Smaug, The Wolverine and others.

Apparently the service will even be eventually available to non-Sky customers, and Sky are planning to extend viewing options to tablet apps and the Sky Store website too. The plan is also to increase available content to include TV show boxsets.

Meanwhile over at Microsoft headquarters, the company have announced some updates to Xbox Video – the company’s on-demand video service. The latest update will enable viewing of purchased content on multiple devices – so in addition to your Xbox One (or 360), you’ll be able to pause and resume watching on a tablet or the Xbox Video website. Similar to how Netflix handles resuming across devices now.

The company also say that they will begin selling “season passes”, so you can watch every episode of a TV show as it airs.

Finally, Microsoft have also announced further Xbox One software updates for users in Europe and Canada that will enable voice and gesture control of TVs, assuming the satellite/cable box is plugged in through the Xbox One. This includes TV listings built into the OneGuide and the ability to set your DVR and watch stuff back using voice commands. This update is only available by invitation at the moment, but expect it to roll-out at some point soon.

James O’Malley
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