The Anytime+ service is set to launch later this year and will be free provided you have an HD box and Sky broadband

Sky today gave us a preview of the new Anytime+ video-on-demand service set to roll out later this year.

To access the on-demand content you'll need to have a Sky+ HD box - for the Ethernet connection - and a Sky broadband connection (access via other ISPs is promised further down the line).

The expanded Anytime+ service will give users access to a "deep library of content" that can be downloaded over your broadband connection to your box for viewing at your leisure.

You can connect via Ethernet cable or wirelessly using Sky's own mini wireless box. An installation charge will apply for this wireless option.

The service will initially only offer standard-definition content with audio in stereo. While details are still being finalised, Sky says the video quality will match broadcast content.

High-definition content will still be available via the existing Anytime service that pushes content to your box via the satellite connection, with the two services being merged on one section of the EPG.

This new section now includes thumbnail images of the content available and access to trailers as well as a variety of search methods for sorting programmes.

Content will be downloaded on demand and will be available to play once a certain amount has been buffered.

Start watching within a minute

Depending on your connection, a 1.3 GB, 90-minute movie should be available to start watching in around one minute but could take 30 minutes or more to download fully, though you can be watching the film while this happens.

The service can also work happily while the box is in standby allowing you to programme content to download overnight.

Once downloaded content will stay on your box for as long as you like, allowing you to watch at your leisure.

Sky promises a range of content, with around 500 movies available at launch alongside plenty of other Sky content.

Talks are ongoing with content providers such as the BBC to bring non-Sky content to the service, with Sky confident of doing just that.

Interestingly, Sky also has plans to deliver full box-sets of popular TV shows to allow users to watch a whole series via the Anytime+ service.

At launch you will require a Sky broadband connection to access the service, with the company recently having simplified its service to two bundles – a limited service for free and an unlimited service for £7.50/month.

We'll bring you more details, hopefully including a launch date, as soon as we have them.

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