Sky has launched a download service that will allow its subscribers to get hold of television programs and films on their computers and mobiles for no extra charge.

Sky digital customers who subscribe to two or more premium channels or who use Sky Bet and have certain mobile phones can sign up for the mobile download service.

They won't be charged extra to download the sports, news, weather and entertainment programming but will be charged by their mobile operators for the downloads. They must also be on 3G or GPRS networks.

Sky has signed deals with Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Orange and Virgin Mobile - basically the entire UK mobile market - and will cover Nokia, Sony Ericsson, RIM and Motorola handsets, so the vast majority of people will be catered for.

Sky digital customers can also begin downloading movies and highlights from Sky Sports to their computers. As of today, 200 films are available, with thousands more to be added.

Sky digital customers must subscribe to certain Sky channels in order to be able to access the downloads, and it requires Windows XP and broadband - something that Sky estimates will cover half of its customers. The videos are protected by Microsoft's DRM software.

The announcement follows a growing trend of video content becoming available for download. In October, Apple led the way by selling television programs and other video for viewing on the video iPod.

Last week, Google launched a video download service that lets users buy television programs to download to computers. And on Tuesday, AOL acquired Truveo, a provider of video search on the Web.