skyConsumers who want to avoid having a satellite dish stuck to their house will be able to receive Sky programming, from drama and movies to Premiership football, through a Freeview set-top box under a deal to be announced today.
BSkyB’s partnership with London-based IP Vision forms part of a gathering land grab in the world of online television as broadcasters, content producers and movie studios react to changing viewing habits. People are now watching what they want, when they want and increasingly downloading shows from the web in order to play them on their television rather than on a computer screen.
Michael Grade, ITV executive chairman, yesterday hinted that his company is considering a tie-up with an American online heavyweight such as Google’s YouTube or Hulu, the online TV venture backed by News Corporation, NBC Universal and Disney, as it looks to build its business in this new hybrid television world.

ITV had initially teamed up with the BBC and Channel 4 to create a one-stop shop for catch-up British TV, codenamed Kangaroo, but it was blocked by the Competition Commission in February. Grade yesterday told a House of Lords committee that the decision means that rivals broadcasters from the other side of the Atlantic will invade the UK market.
“I guarantee to this committee that the net result of that Competition Commission decision, which in their own terms is the correct decision, will be that the Americans will take the lion’s share of the internet value in our content in this country, very soon,” he told the Lords communications committee. But he admitted that ITV will have to be involved because of the sheer audience reach of American online TV outlets. “The usual suspects have all the content so we will probably have to do business with them, but none of that money that goes to America will get invested in the UK,” he said.

ITV and Channel 4 have since regrouped with the BBC and technology partner BT to create Canvas, an online TV service which will be open to any broadcaster or internet service provider. It is being examined by the BBC Trust. Sky believes the corporation should not be putting licence fee money into content platforms.
Sky’s deal to make content available on IP Vision’s Fetch TV service will add strength to its argument that public money should not be pumped into the online TV industry by letting Canvas go ahead. Customers will need to buy a Fetch TV set-top box, which start at around £200, and plug it into a broadband internet connection as well as their TV set and aerial. As well as all the usual Freeview channels, Fetch TV users can then sign up for Sky channels, including Sky Sports 1 to 3.
IP Vision, founded two years ago, also has deals with content companies including Disney and its service already allows viewers to watch the BBC iPlayer directly through their TV.

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By Expat