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Sky launches its own telly

The UK bit of Sky has launched Sky Glass, a TV with all the things you need to access Sky services built into it.

The point of it seems to be to simplify things by integrating hardware, software and content but it’s not clear whether the current lack of integration is a major customer pain-point. Furthermore, if you buy one then you’re kind of committed to Sky for as long as you use it, a prospect that may not appeal to everyone. It also switches from satellite to wifi as the means of receiving Sky, something Now TV customers have been doing for years.

“Sky Glass is the streaming TV with Sky inside, providing the total integration of hardware, software and content,” said Dana Strong, Group Chief Executive of Sky. “Built on over 30 years of understanding what our customers want, this is a TV that only Sky could make. We believe this is the smartest TV available, and that customers will love it.”

On top of the Sky-ness, this range of tellies (small 43”, medium 55” and large 65”) is positioned as the latest in shiny TV cleverness, which is a hell of a claim when you consider how lethally competitive the TV hardware market is. So it’s got Quantum Dot technology, 360° Dolby Atmos sound and a corporate indulgence from the people at CarbonNeutral. It seems to only be sold as part of a Sky bundle.

“It makes the overall service far sticker for households,” said Tech, Media & Telco Analyst Paolo Pescatore. “For me the news is all about the prospect of getting the premium Sky Q TV experience without a satellite dish. This opens up new revenue opportunities with higher margins for Sky, with the prospect of innovative dual and triple play bundles with faster fibre and even gigabit connectivity.”

However, Pescatore also noted it’s “ridiculous subsidising costly hardware when the two most popular services do not rely on a TV set-top-box,” and that this launch won’t be welcomed by many of Sky’s TV partners. Especially those that make its set-top boxes, you would imagine.

This feels like a high risk move. Just as with Amazon a month ago Sky seems to be counting on the strength of its brand to take it into new product areas, with the ulterior motive of generating a more captive market. The bright idea probably comes from parent company Comcast, which is probably helping with both the tech and the content, but it’s still not obvious why anyone would choose to marry themselves to Sky in this way. The key probably lies in the generosity of the subsidies.


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