Tuesday 27 September 2022

Sky Stream spells the end for satellite TV

In 2000, I signed up for Sky satellite television and was one of the first customers to try Sky+ - I'd previously owned a TiVo digital recorder. Then, in 2008 I cancelled Sky and moved over to Freesat. This coincided with the financial crash and echoes the current cost of living crisis.

I was contacted, via this blog, to preview GO!VIEW on PlayStation Portable (PSP)! A joint venture between Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and BSkyB. Allowing PSP owners to access television, movies and sports on-demand and on the move. I panned GO!VIEW as being half-baked and for failing to be platform agnostic in my review as a Mac User in 2009.

When NOW (formerly NOW TV) was launched in 2012, I didn't hesitate to subscribe as broadband had come of age coupled with the advent of nascent streaming services led by Netflix.

For several years, I was a beta tester for NOW (including the company's badged Roku products and the Apple TV app). I could see the future potential for the NOW streaming service even though Sky remained focused on its primary satellite subscription business to its detriment.

With the streaming wars reaching their zenith in 2022, Sky (a division of Comcast) has announced Sky Stream, which is an internet-connected box that offers Sky Glass to customers who don't want or need a new television.

Stephen van Rooyen, Executive Vice President & CEO, UK & Europe, “Sky’s always reinvented the TV experience and offered the best content – but it’s not always been accessible to everyone. There couldn’t be a better time to launch our latest innovation using the Sky Glass Platform – whether you want to stream House of the Dragon, Gangs of London or Stranger Things, Sky Stream has it all. It’s the most affordable and easiest way to get Sky TV and Netflix together, offering consumers the value they are seeking right now.”

The Sky Stream device is available for existing and new Sky Glass customers now. It will also be available as a standalone device from 18th October. The 18-month contract costs £26 per month with a £20 initial setup fee. The 31-day rolling plan starts at £29 per month with a £39.95 setup fee.

Sky Stream offers all the usual add-ons, such as BT Sport, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema (includes Paramount+), 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos. Sky's subscription model still skews to tiered paywalls when many competitors offer 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos at no extra cost.

Like other streaming boxes or dongles from NOW, Sky Stream doesn't require installation, so you can easily set it up yourself.

As a chord-cutter a decade ago, I'm tempted to subscribe to Sky Stream as it bundles Netflix and apps for Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, YouTube, All4, Paramount+ and many more. This is timely, as app support for my Samsung JS9000 is coming to an end after 7 years. Currently, I have a PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Xbox Series S connected to it.

What do you think of Sky Stream? Are you tempted to subscribe? Does it spell the end of satellite television? Let me know in the comments below.

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