Technology

Comcast’s Sky launches streaming TV within the UK

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Dana Strong, CEO of Sky Group on the launch of Sky Glass, the new streaming TV with Sky inside.

Joe Maher | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

LONDON – Comcast’s European pay-TV service Sky has launched a smart television called Sky Glass.

The product will allow customers to stream Sky TV and other content over the internet without the need for the Sky Q set-top box or satellite dish, Sky said.

It’s the biggest hardware announcement from Sky, rivaling Netflix and Amazon in terms of content, since it was acquired by Philadelphia-based Comcast for $ 39 billion in 2018.

Announced at an event in London on Thursday, the TV will be available in the UK from October 18, before launching in other European markets next year.

“Sky Glass is the streaming TV with Sky inside and offers full hardware, software and content integration,” said Dana Strong, Sky Group Chief Executive, in a statement.

The television, which comes after the introduction of Apple TV and the Amazon Fire dongle, is available in five colors and three sizes: small 43 inches, medium 55 inches and large 65 inches.

The smallest option costs from £ 13 ($ 17.70) per month in the UK, while the medium option is £ 4 per month and the largest is an additional £ 8. They can also be bought directly for £ 649, £ 849 and £ 1,049, respectively.

One caveat is that customers must pay an additional £ 26 or more per month to access Sky content on TV.

compatibility

Other services such as Netflix, Disney +, BBC iPlayer, Peloton and Spotify can also be accessed on the TV, Sky said.

Sky Glass, which can be turned on with “Hello Sky,” has a 4K Ultra HD screen that shows over 1 billion colors, the company said.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in an interview with Sky News aired Thursday that it was an “offensive” move as opposed to a defensive one.

Sky Glass is “all of the technology Comcast and Sky have been working on for over a decade,” said Roberts.

He added: “All cables are gone. All boxes are gone. You can talk to him. It tells you what you want to see. It will show you right away. You can switch from music to sports, television and news. “

Sky Glass camera

For Sky Glass, a new 4K smart camera that supports chat, games and workouts will hit the market in 2022, Sky said.

Paolo Pescatore, a technology, media and telecommunications analyst at PP Foresight, told CNBC that “the end of the TV set-top box is finally here”.

He said the prospect of getting the premium Sky experience without a satellite dish will make the service “far stickier” for households.

It also opens up new higher margin revenue opportunities for Sky, Pescatore said, adding that there is an opportunity for Sky to introduce “dual and triple play bundles” that include high-speed fiber and gigabit connectivity.

“Given Sky’s dominance of television and its position as an aggregator of major streaming services, it is difficult for rivals to compete directly,” Pescatore said.

Some consumers have been put off buying TVs with too much software built in in recent years due to the hardware struggling to keep up with software updates that require more processing power.

According to Sky, Sky Glass was built to be syndicated and deployed by other telecommunications and subscription TV operators.

Foxtel Group, an Australian subscription television company, will be the first syndication partner, she added.

Disclosure: Comcast owns CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal and Sky.

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