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Sky Go for Android hands-on video

**Updated**

Today marks the release of the long anticipated Sky Go App for Android – Android users come Sky customers across the country rejoice. Why? Because, Sky Go now offers live TV-streaming on your Android handset so a lot of what you can watch on your TV, you can now watch on the go. 

This can turn a late night into the office missing the big game into a late night in the office with the big game ticking along on your 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus Samsung Galaxy S2. Anyone with a Sky account is eligible for a Sky Go ID and the benefits extend to desktop and iOS playback too, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Right, now onto the Android portion. First thing’s first, you need to make sure you have a supported device:

  • HTC Desire
  • HTC Desire S
  • HTC Desire HD
  • HTC Incredible S
  • HTC Sensation
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Samsung Galaxy S2

Second, this will upset a fair few Android fans – your device can’t be rooted. We’ve tried accessing content on a rooted phone and while the app installs, the video doesn’t load, it just hangs at 0%, so until someone comes up with a ‘fix’, rooted users are left in the dark.

So provided your mobile and its current state meet Sky’s strict criteria, there’s no reason you can’t fire-up the app and get-to-watching. When you log on, you’re presented with a simple home-screen not too dissimilar to that found on iOS. At the top is a horizontally scrolling marquee with suggested watches and below is a list of categories containing your video content.

There are also some options to control things like parental lock and device management which link out to the web-browser. Each Sky account is limited to two devices with one device change per month and this can all be accessed centrally using Sky’s website.

As far as video playback goes, as you can see in the hands-on video below, it’s smooth and fast, loading video using automatic bit rate. Quality therefore starts off pretty poorly, but then picks up depending on your internet connection. This makes for very quick playback with audio loading after a matter of seconds over 3G.

As for what content can be played back – you can live stream selected content from your Sky package. There is no access to Anytime, Sky’s VOD service and you cannot remotely stream from your set top box. What you can do however is stream over either 3G or Wi-Fi, something the BBC iPlayer app is yet to master.

Our brief real-world test has so far been promising. Curb your expectations of advanced features such as picture scaling or pausing, this is a pure live TV service, and indeed, the live TV content looks good and seems to be stable. We managed to watch on a train with wavering quality but no cutting off for a good 5 minutes which impressed us. The menu system is also pretty simple to get your head around and is covered comprehensively in the hands-on video below:

 
Still in early days therefore, Sky Go is a decent app with a long way to go. We look forward to a more comprehensive mobile TV package experience in the future, including things like a search function, downloadable content for offline-viewing, the ability to view content from our set-top box hard disk and Sky Anytime.
 
In the meantime however, for anyone with a non-rooted compatible device – something is definitely better than nothing and the 3G support is to be commended. Sky Go will therfore be an asset to anyone in a position to use it.
 
 
** Update: It’s been confirmed that the Sky Go app in its current state isn’t ICS compatible, so come March when all you HTC Sensation / Samsung Galaxy S2 users update, it’ll be oh-no for Sky Go. With any luck, Sky are working on this as we speak and will roll out a compatible update around the same time. **

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