Sky adds Netflix-style features to Movies as it competes with internet services
Sky is stepping up its battle with Netflix by introducing a set of new features to its Movies service that will recommend films and improve on-demand viewing.
The broadcaster has announced a major software update to its Sky+ boxes, which it says will make it easier to find new titles.
Many of the changes focus on improving film recommendations, a feature that Netflix has promoted by investing heavily in algorithms.
Sky's update, which rolls out today, introduces a "More Like This" feature that will suggest films based on what the viewer is watching, and a "Watchlist" that lets people compile movies to watch at another time. Movies will also carry ratings from internet database Rotten Tomatoes.
The update also improves Sky's on-demand offering. When viewers stumble on a film on a Sky Movies channel, they will be able to watch the film from the start by pressing their remote's green button. The broadcaster, which recently merged with Italian and German counterparts, said the feature had been popular in Italy.
Sky has been gradually introducing more on-demand and internet-based features to Sky+ as streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video gain viewers. As well as introducing internet TV service Now TV, it is also expected to roll out a more advanced set-top box in the future.
On-demand movie viewing is up 42pc year-on-year, according to Sky.
"This is just the latest in a series of enhancements we're rolling out every few months to make sure Sky+ continues to make TV-watching a brilliant experience in homes up and down the country. The pace at which we are developing Sky+ has never been quicker - so customers can look forward to more updates later this year and into 2016," said Ann-Marie MacKay, director of product and customer growth at Sky Ireland.
Apple is expected to make a new play for control of the living room next month with the release of a new Apple TV.