Sky Glass: the company is “surprised and happy” on demand before Christmas | Scientific and technological news

Sky is “surprised and happy” with Sky Glass sales before Christmas, the company’s product manager told Sky News, but stressed that it was easier to understand the product as an entertainment platform. that like a telly.

When the hardware launched in October, it was hailed as Sky’s solution to congestion, both physically of the electronics and also digitally of the content of the streaming service dispersed over several applications.

But as a platform rather than a device, the company continues to roll out software upgrades to improve image quality and introduce new features. And it’s the technology that powers the Sky Glass that Sky’s parent company Comcast sees as offering the most value, as CEO Brian Roberts said Ian King Live.

Sky Glass allows users to move between different platforms on demand and live

Sky Glass requires a broadband connection (from any provider, not necessarily Sky) and does away with the need for a satellite dish and hardware normally distributed in living rooms for a home entertainment system, including set-top boxes and sound bars.

This integration – it only needs a single power outlet – is also essential for the company’s technology to display onscreen, aggregating and suggesting content from multiple streaming services so customers don’t have to. do not have to look for it.

“What we really think about Sky Glass – and why it’s really different, overall different, there isn’t another product like it right now – is because we see it as a massive catalog.” , explained Fraser Stirling, group product manager. to the sky.

“There is a catalog there that has live information [programming], on demand, things that you can save, things that are in the app, things that are in other apps, and it’s all there in a huge catalog, “he said.

Sky Glass remote control
Sky Glass has a voice search function in the TV and in the remote control itself

Movies by Bruce Willis

“If I look for Bruce Willis movies, which I do all the time, especially this time of year, you’ll see all the Bruce Willis movies, but it’s from everywhere, from Amazon, Cinema, from Netflix, from Disney, all of them, in one place. And that’s because it’s in the catalog. “

Mr Stirling added: “It’s not just about TV and movies. Sky Glass is an entertainment platform. There is fitness and music, and we also have games, and that is. will develop more and more over time. “

Users need their own subscriptions to streaming services that are not covered by their Sky plan, but the Glass catalog includes iPlayer, Amazon, Netflix, Disney +, ITVHub, All4, Spotify, YouTube, Apple TV +, and Peloton.

To save customers the trouble of having to manually search all of these sites, the Home screen offers a voice search feature – either activated on the TV itself to respond to voice commands, or accessed via the remote control.

Sky Glass displays scrolling page of Bruce Willis movies in response to voice command
Sky Glass displays scrolling page of Bruce Willis movies in response to voice command

Mr Stirling recalled his father telling him he used Google search to find out which service a particular show was on.

“This is what customers have to do,” he said. “They have to solve their own problem by entering each app individually, or they’re going to have to use something else to find where the content was. It’s crazy.

“The playlist feature was designed to stop that. So it’s easy for customers. “

The playlist effectively allows customers to bookmark their favorite shows and movies, keeping them available for review in what Mr. Stirling said to be in most circumstances.

A range of fitness videos are available alongside TV and movies
A range of fitness videos are available alongside TV and movies

How have critics and customers reacted?

Critics have generally given Sky Glass between three and four out of five stars.

Techradar and The Independent praised the visuals and sounds, although both regretted that Sky Glass did not include all of Sky Q’s features, including the ability to record programs – precious just in case. they would be removed from streaming sites.

The Guardian said “the screen rivals lower mid-range TVs costing around £ 500”, while reviewer from Wired magazine – which particularly criticized the Sky Glass as a TV – complained about uneven backlighting .

Sky has since made several software updates to resolve the visual issues.

Other complaints include the device’s lack of support for wireless headphones, with a handful of posts on the Sky help forum offering potential workarounds for those who are hard of hearing.

Sky News has learned that adding support for Bluetooth headphones is something the company is exploring.

Opinion of Alexander Martin: So how are the string cutters?

Guess it’s time to tell the truth … our family hasn’t owned a television for several years. We see them when we visit friends and grandparents, but at home we use our laptop and phone screens to watch movies and TV, almost always from on-demand services. , and almost always separately, with the exception of government COVID-19 briefings. when we huddle nervously together.

This is not due to interpersonal issues, but because it is a challenge to sit down and watch a laptop or smartphone in a group for the duration of a TV show. And yet, I suspect laptops and smartphones are the default screens for many people when content is played from an app like Disney + or Netflix.

We’ve had Sky Glass in our living room for over a month now and it has forced these experiences to be a lot more of a social occasion for the whole family, something I think we missed. And we got to watch a lot of things together, from Succession to The Lion King.

Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve told Variety magazine he believes in big-screen cinema to be “one of the very latest in-person collective artistic experiences that we share as human beings.”

“Since the dawn of time, humans have had a great need for shared storytelling experiences,” Villeneuve said.

Short of the romance of a cozy theater – and in an age when being close to strangers isn’t particularly safe – Sky Glass definitely offered that kind of experience, and with a much wider lineup of lineup than any other. something our pandemic neurosis had previously brought us together for.

I have no doubt that those with higher standards and deeper pockets will find it not to match the best in the market for picture or sound quality – that’s certainly the word of the critics – but per Compared to our fairly good laptops, the 4K Quantum Dot display and Dolby Atmos sound system were excellent.

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