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Sky Q: Broadcaster reveals new service that blends live and on-demand TV

By Valerie Edwards

Sky has revealed its new set-top box, Sky Q, that blends live and on-demand TV.

In order to keep up with rivals Netflix and Virgin Media, Sky has dubbed Sky Q its "most significant" new product since it rolled out its HD packages a decade ago.

It will be comprised of a set-top box and a "super premium package" and will be separate from Sky's Now TV on-demand service.

The new package will allow customers to watch and record up to four channels simultaneously, while watching different programmes in multiple rooms of the house.

Sky Q will be available from early 2016, but no pricing details are available; however, it will be more expensive than the current top Sky+HD services, which cost around £80 per month.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive, said: "Sky Q is a brilliant new way for customers to experience TV on their terms.

"We wanted to re-imagine TV so that it's flexible and seamless across different screens and to put a huge choice of entertainment at their fingertips."

The main set-top box will stream video to smaller boxes connected to other screens, or to a tablet app.

The tablet app will also allow subscribers to save on-demand and recorded programmes for watching on the move. Viewers will be able to pause and resume watching on any of their screens.

Sky plans to embrace the Internet by including apps from YouTube and the music video service Vevo. Subscribers will also be able to browse their Facebook photos.

It will offer recommendation features across live and on-demand shows, which is similar to what is already offered by Netflix and Virgin Media.

Sky announced a new WiFi hub, which can send WiFi signal through the existing electrical wiring in homes to increase signal, as well as turn any in-house Sky Q boxes into hotspots to improve signal strength.

The on-screen menu is also being revamped as part of the launch.

As streaming boxes and services including Amazon’s Fire TV continue to grow in popularity, Sky executives are targeting "media-centric" households who consume large amounts of video on demand as well as traditional broadcast TV.

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