BSkyB is currently working on a new set-top box that will feature 4K support and offer cloud storage space, according to new reports.
The broadcasting giant is apparently under pressure to retain customers from competitors like Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s new Fire TV box, and the Apple TV. The device will be an entirely new set-top box and will allow customers to record and view shows on-demand from a variety of platforms.
Sky’s new service, codenamed Project Ethan, will no longer store recorded programs on a box, but instead onto an online cloud. This will mean that customers will be able to access shows that they have recorded on their smart TVs, tablets, and smartphones. Viewers will potentially be able to watch half of a program on one device, and pick up where they left off on another.
Ultra HD will also be an important feature of the Project Ethan Sky box, as 4K TV sets become more and more popular and affordable. Sky has already successfully run 4K broadcasts, so being one of the first companies to provide Ultra HD programming is probably one of the company’s main priorities.
Subscribers to Sky would need to get a new set-top box to be able to access the online cloud storage system. Internet speeds would most likely need a huge boost to cope with the extra bandwidth demand of cloud storage. Earlier this month, Sky teamed up with TalkTalk to lay down fibre optic cables in a variety of UK cities, probably in preparation for its new set-top cloud storage service.
The new Sky set-top box is reportedly still in development but could be released as early as 2016. Sky probably wants to get in on the smart TV streaming market as soon as possible, but with around two years to wait, it’s likely plans could change several times before then.