Comcast-owned European pay TV giant Sky has unveiled a broadband-powered TV set, dubbed “Sky Glass,” that doesn’t require a satellite dish to access its full suite of services, along with new features. The product will launch in the U.K. later this month, followed by other markets next year.
Sky, led by CEO Dana Strong, had pre-announced that it would on Thursday unveil “something magical.”
During her remarks during the event, Strong said “we spend more time searching for content than enjoying it” these days given consumers have various apps and devices. “We really need things to be simple,” she said, arguing that Sky Glass would “transform the role of TV in the home” as it is available with “no dish, no box, no fuzz,” but Sky and people’s favorite apps inside. That means customers just need to plug the TV in and connect it to WiFi.
A playlist feature allows people to collect their favorite content from across Sky, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon and the like. It includes voice control and motion technology, meaning the TV will turn on when you pass in front of it.
With the cost for Sky Glass device, depending on its size, starting at £649 ($881.88), or £13 ($17.65) per month, Strong said the product was “very affordable.” Adding the Sky Ultimate TV Package, which includes Sky’s channels and networks covered by its carriage deals, on top will cost £26 a month ($35.32). That means the cheapest device and content package costs £39 a month ($52.97).
Sky Glass, made in collaboration with Samsung’s QLED unit, will become available in the U.K. on Oct 18, with other markets set to follow in 2022.
The move will allow Sky to go after homes that don’t want or can’t have a dish on their building. When the company revealed its premium Sky Q box in 2017, it said offering to stream its full suite of programming via a broadband connection could add around 2 million homes to its U.K. market opportunity.
In August, the firm launched the new Sky Q IP Box in Germany, allowing broadband users to access a number of terrestrial channels, on-demand boxsets and streaming apps.
In the U.K., Sky’s Now TV streaming service has already been offering various types of passes for different content, such as entertainment and sports programming. But it doesn’t provide the full suite of Sky services.
Strong said that the Sky Glass launch “could only really be made possible since we became part of the Comcast family.” Indeed, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts was in town for the event and shared his thoughts on Sky Glass during the event.
“The big idea was to reimagine television Sky’s role in the living room,” the Comcast boss said. After a demo, he knew that “we had something special, he added. Calling the TV the biggest screen in the home and “the center of family entertainment,” Roberts said consumer behavior has changed much in recent years and predicted it would evolve further, with Sky Glass possibly a “transformative” innovation. He concluded that TV set usage could include more music, video gaming, video conferencing, education and more in the future. “Just 10 years ago, we would never have imagined what we would all be doing with our television and on the internet today,” Roberts said. “10 years from now, I think it is going to be unrecognizable.”
Alex Ritman in London contributed to this report.