Sky Turns Its Vision of the Next-Generation TV Experience to Reality
By Yves Padrines, Vice President, Global Service Provider EMEAR, Cisco
It’s official: Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company with 21 million customers across five territories, is set to launch Sky Q, a next generation TV home entertainment system that will reinvent the way customers watch TV. Sky Q combines live, recorded and on-demand TV, accessible on multiple screens anywhere around the home or on-the-go, in a seamless experience Sky calls Fluid ViewingTM.
This is not the first time that Sky has innovated with a combination of broadcast, broadband and advanced video technologies to provide premium TV experiences to its customers. Nor is Cisco a newcomer to this arena. We are a long-standing technology partner, working closely with Sky to define and implement video software solutions that help turn Sky’s vision to reality.
So what makes Sky Q different?
Consider the scope of the new service: No aspect of the TV experience remains untouched, with the introduction of two, new powerful set-top boxes, a brand new touch remote control, a completely new user interface, the ability to access all of your TV across screens and devices. Sky Q gives Sky the answer to its subscribers’ biggest demands. For example, one of the highlights is that viewers will be able to “sideload” content — meaning they can ‘sync’ content from their Sky Q box to their tablet, so they can watch it later, with no connectivity required.
Security, while under the hood, is another aspect that plays a critical role in enabling the experience that Sky Q offers. Building a security platform that enables seamless viewing across screens requires work that is both wide and deep. Wide, because it must span all video-capable devices, and all content, whether delivered over a managed network or over-the-top. Deep, because it must provide rich rights management capabilities supporting all service features while keeping the user experience impeccable.
In order to help make Fluid ViewingTM happen, VideoGuard Everywhere handles a lot of complexity from the content protection perspective. For one thing, inside the home, the enablement of smooth navigation between screens connected to the home gateway requires a transition from broadcast/conditional access (CA)-based protection to IP/digital rights management (DRM)-based protection.
From the consumer owned devices side, the challenge is to ensure that subscribers have a consistent experience across multiple devices. This means that the full service feature set should be supported on multiple platforms, and the source of the content – broadcast, home network or over the top – should be transparent to the viewer. VGE delivers this with an operationally efficient solution; a single client addresses all the security functionality per platform.
We’re thrilled to be part of this amazing service. Thanks again to our partner Sky for picking us to help keep customers’ viewing experiences fluid, fulfilling – and safe.