Sky Q customers will no longer need a satellite dish come 2018, under plans unveiled by the company to offer its television service over broadband. This will mark a distinct change for Sky, which pioneered satellite broadcasting in 1989, by becoming the second commercial DBS service.
The writing has been on the wall for quite a while now, with Sky having launched its Now TV service as an alternative to its typical TV package. Now TV has given customers access to some of Sky’s most popular channels, such as Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic, without the need for a satellite dish.
It’s not yet clear whether Sky is ready to completely ditch its satellite TV service, however. The company has stated that it currently plans to offer an OTT service in 2018, but rural customers with poor internet speeds will likely prefer the satellite dish.
Sky has confirmed that the new service will use a special Sky Q box adapted for broadband TV reception, rather than the app they currently use for Now TV. So essentially, Sky is preparing to launch a beefed up Now TV service using the Sky Q platform.
The move by Sky will likely put pressure on its competitors, especially Virgin Media. Unlike Sky, Virgin Media customers require a cable connection to their home; meaning not everyone in the UK can sign up. This has been a consistent problem for Sky too, with some council restrictions and listed buildings unable to have satellite dishes.
Sky has committed to an OTT launch of its satellite-free Sky Q TV service, although there are still several questions to answer. These include what requirements the company will have for its customers receiving their TV package this way. For example, will they need a Sky broadband package or will they be free to use whatever broadband service they like? Will there be any bandwidth restrictions and will customers gaining the OTT service receive the exact same experience as those using a satellite dish?
Those questions still need answering, and it appears as though we won’t be getting any answers until nearer to the service’s launch. One question many users will likely have on their lips will be how much will the new service cost? If Sky completely does away with its satellite TV service then it’s set to save on the astronomical costs associated with gaining access to a satellite – will it pass those savings onto customers?