back to article New Sky thinking: Media giant makes dish-swerving move on Netflix territory

Brit broadcaster Sky has signaled the end of the satellite dish with plans to make all its channels and content available online. In its half-year results, the pay-TV and broadband business said it will launch Sky without a satellite dish and stream all its channels and on-demand content over IP. "This is a major development …

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  1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    What??

    Apart from maybe having more channels, is this that much different from NowTV, which is already a Sky service in the UK?

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: What??

      Beat me to it.

    2. IHateWearingATie

      Re: What??

      Now TV has a very cut down range of channels and formats

      1. Excellentsword

        Re: What??

        The stuff that real people actually watch.

      2. lybad

        Re: What??

        I though Now TV was limited to 720p - I'm guessing that with SkyQ network verion, they will still provide 4K versions where available. (ie at expensive cost)

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: What??

          afaik Both boxes can do 1080p but Sky dont send at 1080p for the cheaper box.

          The bigger flatter NowTV box (~£20 + sub) does a max of 1080p for 11 channels.

          The small re-badged Roku (£15 + subs) sky sends a max of 720p. (but other apps may hit 1080p)

    3. Churro Joe

      Re: What??

      Hopefully there will be a better frame rate. Apparently Now TV is only 25fps at the minute, and its very noticeable, particularly for football.

      1. FIA

        Re: What??

        Hopefully there will be a better frame rate. Apparently Now TV is only 25fps at the minute, and its very noticeable, particularly for football.

        Isn't all UK TV 25fps?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What??

        As an aside, isn't the comment about this being the death of the satellite dish wrong? I don't think Sky are saying that, they just say that they can reach other potential customers if they have an IP service.

        It may be that Sky customers ill move away from satellite dish usage but that's not what Sky appear to be saying.

  2. K Silver badge

    move on Netflix territory

    My first thought was - "Adverts, Repeats, More Adverts, More Repeats and new B-rate TV shows.. coming soon, to an IP address near you."

    Then my second thought was, no thanks, I'll still with Netflix!

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: move on Netflix territory

      I'll stick to FTA channels for now. I don't see the advantage of paying extra for TV.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: move on Netflix territory

      There's some stuff that they show where the only alternative in the UK is to pirate it (eg, Game Of Thrones).

      And of course, given the choice between paying Murdoch and piracy, the choice is clear.

      Obviously I take the legal option, wait, why are you all laughing?

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: move on Netflix territory

        Over here, in Germany, we get all of the series eventually - Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones have all been shown on FTA. You just have to wait a bit.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: move on Netflix territory

        Some of these shows are on Amazon, but GoT is £100

        I have not seen any so is it worth it?

        1. Huw D

          Re: move on Netflix territory

          "I have not seen any so is it worth it?"

          I'm sure you can find low end porn featuring people wearing fantasy costumes elsewhere... ;)

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I told you years ago ...

    UK is already taking steps in this direction ... The main aim of pumping Government money into 'high speed broadband' is not to benefit customers but to allow broadcasters to avoid their expensive broadcast transmission costs, making the punters pay for it by moving the infrastructure cost of transmission from the push service of the broadcaster to a 'pull service' by the punter hidden under the carpet that is the cost of 'high speed broadband'. Then sell off that wireless space for 5/6/7g and a nice massage of the Government's balance sheet.

    Before this can happen in the UK there needs to be 'super high speed broadband' available everywhere, with sufficient backbone capacity, to prevent subscribers leaving in their droves due to buffering video streams ... that'll be another 30 years then ...

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: I told you years ago ...

      allow broadcasters to avoid their expensive broadcast transmission costs, making the punters pay for it by moving the infrastructure cost of transmission from the push service of the broadcaster to a 'pull service' by the punter hidden under the carpet that is the cost of 'high speed broadband'.

      Hate to break it to you, but punters pay for everything all the time anyway. Do you not think it makes sense to deliver everything over IP, or should we continue maintaining multiple distribution systems?

      Could we better spend the (presumably) tens of millions currently being spent sending men up ladders to fix dishes to walls?

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: I told you years ago ...

        TCP/IP is not designed for broadcast TV, compared to normal broadcasting methods.

        1. Paul Hargreaves

          Re: I told you years ago ...

          TCP/IP is not designed for the web either.

          I'm not sure I understand your point.

        2. Ynox

          Re: I told you years ago ...

          That's why you use UDP multicast?

          I was working on IPTV systems with HD (720p) content back nearly a decade ago!

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: I told you years ago ...

            Multicast is rather moot as people now expect an on demand service over the internet instead of a broadcast service anyway.

        3. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: I told you years ago ...

          TCP/IP is not designed for broadcast TV, compared to normal broadcasting methods.

          a) I said IP, not TCP/IP. The bloke lower down said UDP, also runs over IP. It seems to work just fine for most things we put over it so far without being designed for it.

          b) I very much doubt there will be much broadcast going on. Quite a lot of streaming, no broadcast.

        4. Stu Mac

          Re: I told you years ago ...

          Elephant in the room....

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "spent sending men up ladders to fix dishes to walls"

        Also you can save on expensive geosync satellites, their channels, and everything needed to upload the signal to them. You'll still need to provide enough storage and bandwidth to deliver on-demand contents to users. While without a good broadband deployment many users would be cut off. Maybe Italy is one of the first because FTTH rollout is going on quckly, and most of the country should be cabled by 2020.

        Anyway, the name "Sky" is no longer a good one.... you'll get the signal in the basement, not on the roof <G>

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: "spent sending men up ladders to fix dishes to walls"

          Anyway, the name "Sky" is no longer a good one.... you'll get the signal in the basement, not on the roof <G>

          Great, Sewer TV (Shit TV) is so much more apt on many more levels anyway.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oie, OpenReach. look and learn

          Maybe Italy is one of the first because FTTH rollout is going on quckly, and most of the country should be cabled by 2020.

    2. IHateWearingATie
      FAIL

      Re: I told you years ago ...

      @Andy The Hat

      Erm, no.

      If that was the intention then the approach would have been very very different. I was involved at the start of this in early 2010 and can confirm that your conspiracy theory like thoughts are complete rubbish

  4. adam payne Silver badge

    In its half-year results, the pay-TV and broadband business said it will launch Sky without a satellite dish and stream all its channels and on-demand content over IP.

    What about all those dish installers?

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      There's always FreeSat and getting other satellite channels. We're at the edge of what is watchable quality but you can get a lot of EU signals in the UK (do need a bigger than standard dish though).

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        There are plenty of places in the UK where a dish will work, as there is line of sight to the sky, but broadband performance is so poor that it won't be practical to watch TV over the Internet

  5. John70

    Wonder if they want you to have Sky Broadband to view Sky IP.

    Wonder if other ISPs will traffic shape Sky IP.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Net Neutrality, FTW! Who would have thought there would be a way to get the Murdocks and the papers they own behind such a cause.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        You raise an interesting point. Obviously Sky TV are going to stick their streaming servers next to their Sky ISP endpoints so they have great connectivity.

        If that means that (eg) BT don't have such a good route to the TV, who should pay? Should Sky TV pay for better connectivity to their customers on BT? Or should BT pay so that their customers have better access to Sky TV?

        After all, the customers are already paying both companies, Sky for their TV, and BT for their internet.

  6. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    What ( I think ) would be cool would be for TV manufacturers to do a deal with Sky and add Sky as a dummy source ( with the Sky Q EPG, a minimum processor/ram speed, big disks for recording ). Although there's no reason they couldn't do that already if they licensed Sky's card standard.

    Doing away with STB's would be nice. Although I do like my Sky Q remote control *.

    Sky moves the cost of manufacture to the end customer and gives the user an incentive to not switch to Virgin/BT, customer doesn't have to find somewhere to hide the ugly STB and wires, TV manufacturer gains a selling point.

    * Why are most TV remotes still so awful in 2017?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      TV remotes are mostly awful because most people buy the cheapest tellies - because it's mostly a commodity market and so most players don't make very much profit. So they don't invest anything in getting their software right, or making their hardware ergonimic.

      Sky are very profitable and decided to make their boxes mostly nice to use.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sadly I doubt licensing Videoguard is going to happen any time soon, although maybe depending on who buys NDS from Cisco!

    3. FIA

      What ( I think ) would be cool would be for TV manufacturers to do a deal with Sky and add Sky as a dummy source ( with the Sky Q EPG, a minimum processor/ram speed, big disks for recording ). Although there's no reason they couldn't do that already if they licensed Sky's card standard.

      You can blame sky for this. What should've happened is you should just be able to buy a CAM from sky and use whatever receiver took your fancy. (The CAM is a module that the card goes in, it handles the decryption) If you have a satellite enabled TV that's what the big hole in it is for. This would have allowed a separate market for Satellite/DVR boxes from the content they're used to consume.

      However, sky had good lawyers and managed to get round this requirement. (I heard a (probably apocryphal) tale that the regulations require they sell a CAM module, so they did, just the one; once).

      If it weren't for corporate greed then we'd maybe have managed to decouple the provider of the shows from the provider of the equipment, however that never really happened, in fact Sky ended up integrating even more, they now control the entire hardware production chain.

      This is why their subscriber base can decline year on year but their profits not. It's only now that the likes of Netflix are providing some decent competition this is starting to change.

      Personally, I would've subscribed to Sky years ago if they'd allow this as I use a PC for my TV PVR functionality, and would happily have subscribed if I could've used Myth or TvHeadend rather than Sky+ for my recording needs.

  7. andy gibson

    I miss ASTRA

    And the days of when Sky were just a niche UK broadcaster with a few channels on the 1A satellite, alongside channels owned by W H Smith and the RTL channels which got a bit saucy with "Tutti Fruitti" on a Sunday night, and FILMNET with dodgy plug in decoders.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I miss ASTRA

      "Dodgy plug-in decoders"

      Dodgy decoders? Never heard of the concept. Nope. Never. Nuh-huh. Not me. Clueless. What were we talking about again? #1990s

      A/C

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I miss ASTRA

        I remember dodgy plug in decoders.

        The OnCAM.

        Enabled your digital TV to decode OnDigital stuff

    2. rmason Silver badge

      Re: I miss ASTRA

      It's no different now. Just tech that changes, not people.

      My IPTV comes from a bloke on the internet, costs 40 english pounds per annum and works flawlessly.

      We* used to only be a few people, but then our wives/friends/colleagues who saw it or heard it mentioned realised that we get (insert content they want and pay for) *as well as* the football.

      My tivo box hasn't been plugged in for months. All comes down the via the net.

      *we being mainly football fans who stopped paying sky 100 quid a month.

  8. Jay 2

    One slight problem for the consumer is that with a dish, things are relatively easy to troubleshoot for the engineer who will come round (dish, LNB, cable, STB). However if it's all over broadband then there's bound to be the usual (ISPesque) fobbing off that the problem is almost definatley not with Sky, but elsewhere. So in the worst case you'll have to juggle both Sky and your ISP to sort things out. On an equally bad case then Sky may be your ISP. And then throw in the entire BT/OpenReach thing that the ISP should be doing.

    I'm sure it'll be mainly fine when it's all running, but wouldn't like to be around when something goes wrong.

    1. Not also known as SC
      Happy

      "And then throw in the entire BT/OpenReach"

      Although I hate to say anything good about BT, whenever I've needed an OpenReach engineer to come out they've been first class.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Although I hate to say anything good about BT, whenever I've needed an OpenReach engineer to come out they've been first class.

        BT the company can be awful but the BT engineers I've had have always been excellent. One time my landline went kaput late on Friday afternoon and BT's response was "it's a domestic line and we only work on those Monday to Friday, so Monday at the earliest, maybe Tuesday depending". 10:30 Saturday morning the door bell goes and it's a BT engineer saying "I was in the area, so I thought I'd come and fix it now". 15 minutes later and I had a working landline again.

        1. Jess--

          "I was in the area, so I thought I'd come and fix it now".

          also known as

          I screwed up your line at the other end while working on another line and without a tracer plugged in here I can't fix it.

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            also known as

            I screwed up your line at the other end while working on another line and without a tracer plugged in here I can't fix it.

            Not in this case. It was old cable on a south facing wall that had given up the ghost after decades of UV.

      2. John Crisp

        The foot soldiers are usually great once you finally convince the bean counters that one is required.

        Good engineers. Shite managers (though probably handy with their excel stats)

  9. unwarranted triumphalism

    Another desperate attempt at being relevant by a dinosaur.

  10. Ben1892

    Would be nice not getting drop out in thunderstorms and not having fugly dishes on the sides of houses tbh but this is a very well executed, cunning move ( net neutrality ends -> Murdochs sell most of 21st C Fox ->Murdochs focus on being an ISP and content provider -> all ur IPs are belong to us ! )

  11. sawatts

    So much for rural telly...

    Hopefully this will not be a wholesale replacement of satellite broadcasting?

    When I recently lived in a rural area (only 3 mi from a major town) we didn't have much terrestrial reception, and on a good day our "broadband" could nearly reach 2Mb. Sky or freesat was the only option.

    Now that we are within stone's throw of a major centre in Greater London our broadband frequently exceeds 2Mb - perhaps as high as 3Mb if the wind isn't blowing!

    As much as I loath the Murdock empire I do like Game of Thrones...

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