Sky, the British subscription television channel is now in the iPhone, and oh boy, it works. First ones to get the treat where Xbox 360. From last week, O2 customers can install the service in form of an app that runs in your iDevice and allows you to stream your Sky content via WiFi. That's it: Tele in your pocket! The app has the not so creative name of "Sky Mobile TV News and Sports" and it is available only in the UK store
UPDATE I have included a massive picture gallery and a demo video for everyone to see loading times and how smooth it runs.
How's the app? Spartan. But works. With almost no flaw. The interface is kept to a minimum, a part to log in, the TV channel listing, what is currently played with a description, and of course, the killer feature: Live streaming of Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, Xtra, Sky Sports News, Sky News, At the races, and even ESPN. The app follows the line of other BSkyB apps in the store, that range from score center, news reporting and a remote Sky+
Let me tell you about the video playback. The quality is up to the iPhone screen standard and under WiFi I noticed no lag and the image was super smooth (for an iDevice...). This runs better than Youtube for me, and the loading time is about 4 sec. Disregard iTunes reviews from people that don't know WiFi is required to stream content.
The video controls include play and pause, with the possibility to go 30 seconds earlier in case you missed something. This ability to fast backwards and forward was very handy when watching a football game and wanted to se that tackle again. Then I can go back to real time.
You don't need to be a current BSkyB customer, the application has it's separate subscription package. O2 is currently offering three months for free for early subscribers. Later on it will be at £6 per month. You can sign up for the service texting "Sky" to 2020. When you compare the costs of a Home subscription you can see how the deal is: Getting Sky at home won't be less than £16 per month. If you happen to be interested in their sports channels, you will need to chip in for the sports package. If you even want the Cricket, Rugby, and in my case the Spanish La Liga, you'll need to get the Xtra pack, that is among the high tier ones, up to £36 per month.
For me the only drawback will be the subscription based service and the channels available do not always stream. I do think that for the price being asked and quality delivered it is a steal. I get a bitter feeling about "Free apps will be always free", because this one is not. I haven't watched a full game yet on the iPhone, but I could if the battery could last 2 hours streaming. (That screenshot is from a NBA game on ESPN)
From the first 3 months trial offer, yes I love it. When this period is over, let's see if they make any change or add more channels. For me this is getting closer to sci-fi. I'm tired of being told how Japanese and Koreans watch TV on the phone. Now we can in the UK. If only worked under 3G... I have included a massive picture gallery
and a demo video for everyone to see
loading times and how smooth it runs.