Pan-European pay-TV giant Sky has unveiled what it calls its next-generation home entertainment system, opening up a whole new way of watching TV.
The new Sky Q family of products is designed to connect wirelessly to create a new ecosystem that, claims the company, makes TV viewing seamless.
It allows viewers to watch shows from a box, whether live, recorded or on demand, either on a TV or another set or a connected device such as a tablet, and also to watch different programmes on up to five screens simultaneously while also recording four other channels. For the first time in a Sky package it allow s viewers to save recordings onto a tablet to watch anywhere in what the company calls a ‘fluid viewing’ experience.
Sky Q is based on a range of dedicated STBs, starting with two new super-slim, powerful boxes for the main TV set, featuring up to 12 tuners and up to 2TB of storage. A new mini plug and play box gives wireless access to Sky Q in other rooms in the home without running cables from the dish. in addition a new app for tablets lets viewers enjoy all of the Sky Q experience at home, and take recordings with them and watch live and on demand content on the go.
After launch in early 2016, Sky Q will offer a range of sports, movies, and entertainment content, complemented by video apps and online video. In addition, Sky Q will be Ultra HD ready in advance of the launch of what Sky promises to be UK’s most comprehensive 4KTV service later in the year.
“Sky Q is a brilliant new way for customers to experience TV on their terms,” claimed Sky’s Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch. “We wanted to re-imagine TV so that it’s flexible and seamless across different screens and to put a huge choice of entertainment at their fingertips. We think customers are going to love Sky Q and the great news is that it will get even better with much more to come in the future.”
Digesting the news, the analyst community applauded the offering technically but there were some who questioned the universal appeal of the new product. Said Ted Hall, Research Director, IHS Technology: “The appeal of a new premium product to customers already paying high monthly bills for a Sky TV or triple-play bundle—some around the £100 ($150) mark—is questionable. Some may determine that they have reached a threshold for their home entertainment spend and feel somewhat sour if their loyalty is not rewarded with a low-cost upgrade to Sky Q. On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that there is healthy demand within Sky’s customer base for subscription add-ons that significantly improve the TV experience. The success of Sky Go Extra, a premium multiscreen service costing an additional £5 a month that attracted 1.5 million subscribers in less than two years, is a case in point.”