Sky Strikes Another IPTV Deal – Canvas Box Maker Humax

BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) has won carriage for its Sky Player on yet another hybrid TV box, as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) begins investigating the Project Canvas venture to which Sky objects so much.

This deal is significant because it’s with Humax – the UK’s largest Freeview set-top box maker – which the BBC-led Canvas also claims as an “innovation partner“. That means Sky can tell the OFT broadcasters and TV platforms can take their VOD to box makers individually, without the need for a JV.

Despite offering Sky Player on the web, Sky is hampered on true VOD in the lounge because programmes cannot be pulled from satellite and it’s not yet enabling Sky Player over broadband, through the Ethernet port in its HD boxes. But, in growing signs it’s opening up, it has been doing third-party deals, now counting…

Windows Media Centre
— Humax

It’s not just about VOD – Sky Player also transmits live channels from Sky bouquets, meaning Sky no longer wants to be limited to delivering channels via satellite, and is serious about developing pay TV services to Freeview-enabled boxes, if not yet to the Freeview network itself.

Sky’s touting it as offering existing Sky customers their channels in a second room, but also as a driver of new customers on a more flexible, month-by-month Sky Player subscription tier.

The OFT is due to rule by May 15 whether the BBC/ITV/C4/Five/BT/Arqiva/TalkTalk JV Canvas is anti-competitive.