BSkyB launching online TV service

Range of channels available on Sky Player platform

LONDON -- BSkyB is putting some of its most popular channels on the Internet with the launch of a subscription-based online television service, but has yet to secure agreement with Hollywood studios to offer their product online, COO Mike Darcey said Monday.

The new service, which will be part of Sky's online Sky Player platform, for the first time allows customers to watch a package of Sky channels online without having a television or subscribing to Sky's satellite TV services.

Expected to launch early next year, it will offer a range of channels including premium sports nets Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 online.

Speaking at the Media Guardian Changing Media summit, the Sky boss said the News Corp.-controlled satcaster is "still in negotiations" with Hollywood majors over whether it will also be able to offer movie channels and such U.S. series as "Lost" and "Battlestar Galactica" on the platform.

Darcey said that a channel lineup had yet to be finalized and that until it was, pricing details could not be revealed. Bandwidth also could be an issue, though Darcey said that the number of high-bandwidth connections in the U.K. was growing fast.

"We need to finalize decisions on price and finalize the channel proposition," Darcey said. "While the laptop won't replace the TV experience for most people, we're creating more choices to allow customers to choose the option that suits their lifetime."
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