Sky Go August 2011
We look at Sky's new online service
Sky Go is an internet and mobile TV service designed for those who want to access their Sky packages on the move. Here we explain what it is, what you get and what we think of the service.
What is Sky Go?
Sky Go is the broadcaster's new online TV service, replacing Sky Player. Anyone who currently subscribes to any of Sky's TV packages can access it, and this allows them to watch TV content from their subscription package either at home or on the move via iOS devices.
The service can be registered on two devices at a time. We tried it on a laptop, iPad and iPhone, both over a wireless connection and 3G.
To see what other TV you can watch online, read our online TV guide.
What channels can you watch?
The first thing to note is that the content available via the service will depend on two things; firstly your subscription package, and secondly, the device you are using to access Sky Go. If, for example, you do not have the Sky Sports package, the sports content will simply not appear in the EPG (electronic program guide). By the same token, if you watch Sky Go on a laptop or home PC, all the content you subscribe to will be available to you. However, if you access the player via its dedicated app on an iPhone or iPad, only live news, movies and sport content can be streamed.
The offering on mobile devices (currently just iOS devices, Android to come later) is rather slim, but Sky has told us that it will be rolling out more content, such as streaming entertainment shows and offering movies on demand, later in the year.
Sky Go users who have the ability to watch the service on a laptop or PC would be better served to do so, due to the full range of shows currently not present on mobile devices.
We have been told that the service will be opened up to non-subscribers in the near future, who will pay a monthly subscription to access Sky Go.
Laptop or iPad?
The user interface for both the laptop/PC and iPhone/iPad versions is clean and very easy to use, though the mobile version is the most straight forward, if only be virtue of there being a lot less content. As a result, any major changes to the account settings such as de-registering a device, results in a link to the website. It would have been a nice touch if all this could have been done on the fly within the app itself, but it's unlikely to be a huge issue.
As mentioned earlier, the amount of content on the laptop/PC version of Sky Go is rather impressive, with access to channels such as Sky Sports, MTV, and the Sky movie channels, assuming that these are part of your package. Another benefit of the web based service is that users can download content (not an option for mobile users yet), and watch it later offline. The content we downloaded to our PC gave us 29 days within which to watch it.
Watching content on the iPhone over a 3G connection was, perhaps unsurprisingly, rather disappointing. The image was very blocky and difficult to make out, although we were able to hear what was going on. Sky's adverting campaign for Sky Go is making a real push for using the service 'out and about', and whilst this is technically possible with 3G, unless you have a generous data package you'll be better served seeking out a wi-fi hotspot.
Rather watch TV on a TV? See our in-depth TV reviews.
Sky Go is a free additional service for those with existing Sky TV subscriptions, and does a great job of offering content to viewers who want to watch it on the move, or just on a PC. The layout of the site and the app are very clear and easy to use, especially the online EPG, which rivals iPlayer for its effective simplicity.
There are a couple of areas, though, where the service could be improved. Right now, the content on the app is rather slim, and it seems that the service was rushed out in time for the upcoming sports season. It would have been nice to see more channels available, but we have been assured that this is coming, as well as an app for Android users.
Read our guide to satellite, cable and digital TV packages to compare Sky against Virgin Media and other pay TV services.
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