Is that a TV in your pocket…?

As seen in the Sunday Star..Times*

Stuck at a Wedding when the cricket is reaching its climax? Want to see the All Blacks but nowhere near a TV?

Sky reckon they’ve got the answer with Today’s launch of SkyGo, which will live-stream 10 sky channels on your smart phone or tablet. Free for Sky subscribers, it includes five sport channels, with Sky predicting high take-up by sports fans separated from their Tv’s and chasing live coverage of the big games.

Britain’s BSkyB and Australia’s Foxtel have reported greater customer satisfaction since launching similar services, said Sky senior product manager Alex Winter. “Suddenly, it goes from being in people’s living rooms, to being in people’s pockets.”

“This play has long been expected – it’s long overdue,” said technology commentator Peter Griffin. “Sky, when they execute something, do it really well, but they are not a leader, they like to bed in technology slowly.”

Griffin said the move was another step towards living without a television, which has become an increasingly attractive proposition thanks to the increase of on-demand content. Winter is impressed by Coliseum’s online-only coverage of English Premier League soccer but said it hadn’t “quite cracked” big-screen quality.

Sport will be a “big driver” of the new service, Winter said, and Foxtel statistics suggest it will account for about 30 percent of demand. Around 80 percent of FoxtelGo viewers watched live, rather than on-demand, content. Winter expects a lot of “snacking” – short spells of viewing  - as well as people extending their viewing time by watching in bed on their tablet, or using it as a “second screen” when someone else is watching the main TV. The demand is clearly there: Sky says 70 percent of its subscribers own a smartphone or tablet computer.

A demonstration on an ipad hooked into a restaurant’s wifi last week showed the viewing quality was good and there was no “buffering” time lag.

With Foxtel’s service having fallen over about a half-dozen times in the past year – including during the Ashes cricket series – Sky admitted its big test will be a major sporting event but with no All Blacks tests on the horizon there is time to get it right. It will be expensive to watch if your’re using 3G or 4G instead of wireless, but you can choose to reduce the picture quality and keep a metered track of your useage.

The expectation is that SkyGo will help the network’s churn rate (the percentage of subscribers who drop out each month), which is a big measurement for pay broadcasters.

“It’s truly about not missing out,” Winter said. “Last summer when New Zealand needed those last few wickets to win (the cricket test) against England, it was happening during office hours – that would have been a perfect SkyGo moment”

Check it out here….