Sky could accelerate the launch of a 4K Ultra HD box in order to turn up the heat on BT.
A future Sky set-top box which would give customers access to 4K channels could be launched later this Spring, according to the Telegraph.
Other features of the as-of-yet unnamed piece of hardware include a cloud PVR, meaning recorded programmes can be accessed on mobile devices.
Launching new hardware before the 2015/16 football season begins could herald the launch of Sky Sports 4K channels. Sky could spend the months leading up to the new service aggressively promoting its new hardware in ahead of new channels launching.
This could put pressure on rivals BT, which has recently stolen a march on Sky by snapping up the rights to all Champions League and Europa League matches for the next three seasons.
Following years of grappling with Sky over football broadcasting rights, BT has also recently been allowed to sell Sky Sports 1 and 2 to customers with YouView-based BT TV boxes.
While BT is also experimenting with 4K broadcasts, it’s thought that Sky, which has shot live football matches, nature documentaries and Ryder Cup golf in 4K, is closer to launching a 4K service than its rivals.
Costs for the new hardware and channels haven’t been detailed by it’s thought that new premium subscriptions will also launch with the next-gen hardware.
Sky has enjoyed a reputation for being the go-to supplier for next-gen TV technology for some time.
A Sky spokesperson said: “Innovation is at the very heart of Sky’s business. We have a proven track record of leadership in the industry as we continually strive to find new ways to enhance the customer experience”.
Sky’s HD service, which launched back in 2006, currently boasts over 10 million subscribers despite being beaten to market by Telewest’s HD offering.
Sky is also set to launch its own mobile offering in 2016 to better compete with TalkTalk, which is currently bundling free SIM cards with its Plus TV service and BT, which is poised to buy EE, the UK’s biggest mobile network.
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