Sky says it’ll launch phone-friendly versions of its Sky Q tablet apps at some point ‘later this year’; we just don’t know when exactly.
The next-gen connected TV service from Sky lets subscribers search for, sync and watch content available or stored on their Sky Q set top box via an iPad or Android tablet.
Turning tablets into portable programme guides not only makes searching for content more intuitive, it also means you can pause a repeat of Game of Thrones and carry on watching it on your tablet if Dad wants to watch the Man United vs Leicester City game in the front room. It’s basically EE TV on performance enhancing drugs.
Bringing the same experience over to phones was always going to take more time, owing to the multitude of devices, different screen sizes and resolutions on the market, plus the simple fact that tablets, with their bigger screens and higher resolutions, are generally better for watching TV on.
Nevertheless, Andrew Olson, director of new products for Sky told Recombu in a recent chat that the satellite TV broadcaster isn’t neglecting folks who prefer to stream on circa 4.5-inch screens.
Sky Q hands on: 50fps 4K confirmed and those 12 tuners explained“What we’ve found is that phones tend to be a more out of home planning type experience,” Olson said. “On the phone, it’s more of a typing device, like ‘I want to watch this and this tonight’ but there’s still people like my kids who would happily watch TV on a phone screen.”
As to when Sky Q for phones will be arriving, Olson said that the apps wouldn’t be released until they’re ready, but when they are launched, there will be parity with the tablet apps in terms of updates and features. Frustratingly, Olson would only say that there will be some ‘cool stuff’ when quizzed on the updates:
“I can’t get into specific dates but it’s something that we’re definitely right in the throes of [developing] and Best Sky Q deals: Which is the best bundle for me? and Sky price rises June 2016: How are Sky Q customers affected?we’re working hard to get out as quickly as we can. You’ll be seeing some great improvements on those apps and some exciting new stuff throughout the year.”
Olson added that over time Sky is exploring how the recommendations engine of Sky Q can be fine tuned to make the mobile experience better tailored to the viewer.
“We want the [Sky Q user interface] to work harder for our customers. The overall UI framework will probably stay consistent for people, especially because [the TV] is such a shared device. You might have someone who’s a sports fan and someone else who’s not, are you going to take away the sports section? No, of course not.
“I think we have to respect the family and households shared devices and make that work well for everyone, but it is this question of how do we bring those more personal elements through it? How can we start to make the personal device experience more personal as well.”
Update: We chat to Andrew Olson about 4K HDR, 5.1.4 sound and the growing potential for VR.