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Sky Sports TV - Android v1.6 - Page 1

Sky Sports TV - Android v1.6


Sky Sports is the brand name for a collection of sports-oriented television channels operated by BSkyB, the largest pay-TV broadcaster in Britain and Ireland with over 10 million subscribers. Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, and 4 are available as a premium package on top of the basic Sky package. There is some really excellent sports coverage on Sky Sports. Sky's premium sports channels, Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2, offer football (soccer) fans the chance to watch action from the Barclays Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as all the other major European football leagues. There is also extensive coverage of domestic and international cricket, European and US Tour golf, boxing, WWE wrestling, darts, TP Top 250 Tennis, WTA Tournaments, rugby, NASCAR racing and more. A plethora of sports to choose from!

Sky is a premium TV service. The cheapest TV bundle that includes Sky Sports costs the princely sum of 42.50 per month. Included in this package is the 6 Sky Sports channels, Sky Sports 1 and 2, Sky Sports News, and Sky Sports F1, the latter of which is a dedicated channel devoted to Formula 1 motor racing. To watch the sports channels in HD (1080i High Definition format), a subscriber also has to add the Sky Entertainment Extra+ package and the HD pack. This bumps up the monthly cost to an eye-watering 57.75 per month. The subscriber is also tied to a long contract to boot.

There are other ways to get Sky Sports on TV. For example, if you live in a cable area, subscribing to Virgin Media is an option. On this platform, the Sky Sports channels in HD costs 54.75 (excluding the cost of a phone line).

If these ongoing monthly costs tied on a long contract are too excessive, satellite giant BSkyB also offers pay-as-you-go access to its sports channels via its internet service Now TV. Unfortunately, the cost is insanely expensive; a 24 hour pass costs the exorbitant sum of 9.99!

There is a much more economic way of viewing the Sky Sports channels courtesy of the Sky Sports TV Android application. This is available for a monthly cost of 4.99 with no minimum contract. The channels include Sky Sports 1,2,3 and 4, Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports News and Sky News. Subscribers also receive At the Races until 30 June and ESPN until 31 July.

Android App

There is some in-app help documentation which, unfortunately, has out of date information. For example, it states that to run the Sky Sports TV app, the Android device needs OS versions 2.2, 2.3, or 4.0 installed with either Wi-Fi or 3G coverage. In fact, the app also supports the 4.1 and 4.2 operating systems. We verified this with a Samsung Galaxy S4 (GI-I9505) running Android 4.2.2. However, please take note that Sky Sports TV app does not support some Android devices, in particular tablets, although supported hardware is much more extensive than Sky's Now TV service. Limiting viewing to small screens is a deliberate ploy by Sky; see later in this review for more on this point.

The app is installed via Google Play in the normal way. On startup, the user is presented with the screen below. All of the channels with the exception of At the Races are visible without scrolling.

Sky Sports Menu
(view large image)

The interface is particularly spartan. There are no settings to configure other than a volume control, and no video quality options to choose from, as the app offers adaptive bitrate streams that automatically detects whether the live stream is being watched over Wi-Fi or 3G. Users will need Wi-Fi bandwidth of at least 600kbps, with 180-600kbps for 3G. This compares poorly compared with other streaming services. For example, the BBC Player TV programmes on Android can be streamed at a higher bitrate of 800kbps.

The time to play a channel is responsive, and the quality of the picture settles down pretty quickly, so channel surfing is not too painful.

Proceed to Page 2 - Video quality

Last Updated Saturday, June 15 2013 @ 09:50 AM EDT

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