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>Does anything like that already exist or are they the first to do it?
The first in a consumer device as far as I know. Redundant failover and load balancing is standard in commercial networking equipment, but it has been considered too expensive for consumer gear. Customers simply haven't been willing to pay a premium for reliability, but I think that's starting to change as the price of technology falls, expectations increase and the 2.4GHz ISM band becomes more crowded.
I think there's also a subtle perceptual thing going on; people seem to be far more tolerant of buffering on a personal device than on a TV. We're primed to expect that TV loads instantly and just works, but we're used to computers and tablets being a bit slow and unreliable.
Sky used to have a huge advantage because of the responsiveness of their receiver box - the old Virgin/Telewest/NTL boxes were often hideously slow and difficult to use. Virgin eventually caught up, so it makes sense for Sky to push for the same advantage in the shift to on-demand services. Virgin have a home turf advantage for VOD because they control both TV and broadband, while Sky are stuck piggybacking off BT's telecoms infrastructure.