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Sky’s UK TV via IP Broadband Service Set to Launch This Month

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 (12:06 pm) - Score 20,304
sky broadband uk tv 2020

Last month, we reported that Sky (Sky Broadband), which is owned by Comcast, were gearing up to launch their long-awaited TV via broadband (instead of a satellite dish) service (here). Several sources have now informed us that this will go live this month and be called Sky over IP (SoIP).

At present, those who want all of Sky’s TV channels need to get a Satellite dish installed – either directly or via a Fibre Integrated Reception System (FIRS) system on certain full fibre (FTTP) new build home sites. Alternatively, Sky also run the somewhat cut-down and Roku based NOW TV spin-off platform.

However, Sky have long been developing a full TV via broadband platform (here), but so far they’ve only launched such a solution in Italy (Sky via Fibre), Austria (Sky X) and, most recently, Germany (Sky Q IP Box). The latter requires a minimum broadband ISP download speed of 6Mbps (i.e. enough for basic HD streaming via a single viewing channel).

Back in August 2021 reports began to emerge of an “imminent” launch of something similar in the United Kingdom, which we were able to confirm via our own sources. But exact details, product names and launch timings were not yet widely known. Likewise, the lack of staff training and larger scale trials (they only seemed to have a very small closed trial) led us to speculate that it might still be a few months away.

Despite this, several credible sources have now informed us that the new product is to be called Sky over IP (SoIP) – at least internally – and will launch this September 2021. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise us if this slipped into next month at the last minute, but a leaked document seen by ISPreview.co.uk seems fairly confident of the launch happening this year. At the very least, Sept/Oct seems to be the soft launch.

However, Sky appears to be keeping the final product details and prices under tight control. We did ask Sky about all this, but they declined to comment. We’re looking forward to seeing what they launch, which will need to at least deliver the same sort of technical features as their rivals at Virgin Media, BT and elsewhere can already field.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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54 Responses
  1. Chris says:

    Something like this has seemed inevitable for Sky for a while – they’ll be able to deliver a more flexible service for less money if they don’t have to send someone out to install a satellite dish on every single house

  2. Dave says:

    There is an event planned for October 7th according to the below video, looks likely this will be related to be the new IP service:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wMe_NJu20k

  3. Paul says:

    I had a pamphlet through my door yesterday advertising sky tv for just £25 per month. Surely it will be cheaper through the broadband package as there are no engineers required to install a dish. Then again if the recordings will be in the cloud there is an added cost there so who knows how much this will be.

    Either way, I would have to sign up to my tv license which is an added cost to factor in.

    So I will probably just stick with Netflix, Prime and Disney.

    1. Bob says:

      You will soon need a TV license to watch streaming services too.

    2. Bilbo says:

      @bob you already do for certain services. Won’t be able to enforce it for non-live services.

    3. Gary says:

      They will probably force you to use their crappy Routers and Fibre broadband 🙂

  4. Jonny says:

    People assuming that removing the one-off costs of putting a cheap satellite dish up on your house would result in any sort of change to the monthly subscription price are going to be disappointed, I think.

    1. Paul says:

      I agree with this.

      Interested in seeing if this delivers full HD and UHD.

    2. Matthew says:

      It will definitely offer Full HD [50FPs for Sports] but if it launches initially with 4K is up for debate. But could be a future upgrade getting the initial infrastructure to offer it purely over Fibre would be good.

  5. Adam says:

    Hopefully its followed by a Samsung sky Q tv app like they have in Germany. No need to for Q mini boxes in rooms with smart tvs. They could probably save a lot of money on hardware costs if they worked more on the software/smart aspect of sky q

  6. Terry says:

    Do we think it will be available to broadband customers who aren’t with Sky? Wondering if I’ll be able to get it as I’m with KCOM and can’t access Sky broadband here.

    1. Chippy Tits says:

      Perhaps initially it will be only for Sky broadband customers but eventually I’d imagine it would be available to all.

  7. Peter says:

    I hope it’s available via a smart TV app, don’t want to have all these extra boxes around.

    1. Pezza says:

      I would be totally gob smacked and stunned if they ever did that. They only offer the service through their own boxes as I understand in other territories.

    2. Pezza says:

      Never mind I just saw above they offer a app for some TV’s, I would love to have an app for Sky Q and get rid of the box and dish!

    3. Adam says:

      I think they still need the main box unfortunately for the sky q app to function.

    4. Rupert Murdock says:

      It’s not a box it’s a branded sky TV set

  8. Greg says:

    biggest thing, switching to VoD like this, will be with live tv channels, the time to switch between channels, someone who channel hopes on linier TV might find things a little slow…
    e.g. hopping between multiple Football matches….

    1. Damien says:

      Just as Microsoft now do legally what people have done with Virtual Servers for years ( windows via Remote Desktop) I think this is Sky’s way of trying to combat IPTV maybe?

  9. Mike says:

    Sucks for those on sub-40Mbps FTTC connections, 6Mbps per TV and that’s not even including downloads and I suspect Sky will keep prices more or less the same.

  10. Damien says:

    This is good I wonder if they will allow existing customers moving who don’t want a dish on the house to get it instead? We can get Ultrafast at about 230mbps apparently so should be enough – it’s all streamed anyway the Q box is just there because it has to be

  11. Pezza says:

    This is going to be just as expensive as their satellite based TV service. And with minimum term contracts and then will have price increases yearly during your contract. If Sky can make more profit from using less resources they will. I’ll be incredibly surprised if it even offers any form of 4K service.

    1. Matthew says:

      Why would it not have 4K i can’t see that being a limitation once the technology is able to deliver it over Fibre scaling it up to deliver 4K would be very easy. Might not launch with 4K support but it would not be a huge hurdle to claim at all.

    2. Pezza says:

      Well when they charge you extra for 1080P videos on Now TV which makes it more expensive then Netflix or Disney Plus, then yes I’ll be incredibly surprised if they offer 4K on the service, maybe they’ll charge you more then the equivalent satellite 4K options for it?

  12. RaptorX says:

    The ISPs are just gonna love this. While some currently offer so-called “truly unlimited” access, I’ll be that they start putting in “fair use” policies again as their network loads are gonna shoot up.

    1. Bob says:

      Sky IS the ISP.

    2. RaptorX says:

      Yes I know that I said ISPs, plural.

    3. Mike says:

      Any ISP that tries that will experience an exodus.

  13. Matthew says:

    This might be delayed to next month as didn’t they put out last week was something brilliant being announced on the 7th of October recently? This sounds like it could be that.

  14. adslmax says:

    But, if your broadband went downtime, you can’t watch any sports live? As the dish are more reliable and doesn’t affect if your broadband are down but can still watch sports live.

    But, I don’t have sky anyway.

    1. Burble says:

      Satellite tv can have it’s own problems. Very heavy rain/storms can knock out the signal on mini dishes, high winds can shift the dish if it’s not been installed very well, also installers some times ‘throw’ the cable over the roof leaving it to wear down on tiles. A friend of mine has had all three of these happen to his service over the years his had Sky.

  15. boggits says:

    Interesting that news comes out as Sky Subscribers get an update to their T&C splitting any links between offers on the Talk/Broadband elements from those that come from a Sky TV subscription

  16. MC says:

    would be great if the subtitles were digital like netflix or amazon.

  17. Anthony Goodman says:

    Sky has always been relatively cheap, its the Sport that set the price as astronomical.

    And even on NowTV they want £32 a month for the sport alone.

    If Sky just had football channel that would be fine, but we need to pay for F1 and Cricket that is a niche interest.

    1. Bob says:

      Maybe you haven’t heard of Channel 402 Sky Sports Premier League? Or 403 Sky Sports Football? Or 404 Sky Sports Cricket? Or 405 Sky Sports Golf? You get the point. You can subscribe to one or more of these channels individually.

    2. Lisa says:

      I thought it was only the bbc live and streaming services that we needed a tv licence for.

    3. Bilbo says:

      The sport package is a bargain. If you just want F1 it’s £18 a month for one channel. Otherwise it’s £30 for 7.

  18. Kelvin D says:

    Wouldn’t it be better to get broadband through a Sky satellite dish (in areas where fibre broadband won’t be available for a long time). Or maybe that bird has flown….

    1. Winston Smith says:

      That bird has no wings. The data flow from TV satellites is one way only.

    2. Winston Smith says:

      Actually not strictly true, there is obviously an uplink for programme data. Wrong sort of satellite for broadband though.

  19. Bob_de_builder says:

    It needs to be a 1 box solution, just as Sky Q is at the moment. I can record BBC & ITV on the Sky Q box as the signal is received via satellite. With this IP service, they must either deliver BBC & ITV (and others) via IP or utilise Freeview to enable the user to use only 1 box to record programmes, otherwise its going to get complicated with separate streaming boxes and PVR’s under the TV.

    1. Rik says:

      The recordings are supposedly done via the cloud, so in theory, multiple channel recordings will be possible.

    2. A says:

      They will likely send all channs over IP, no reason why Freeview channels wouldn’t be able to.

  20. Rik says:

    I’d rather not have all my eggs in one basket. Currently if my internet goes down, I can watch Sky. If my Sky ever goes off, I can watch Netflix.

    Having it all down the same cable is risky.

    1. Bob says:

      Only if you consider being without TV to be “risky”.

    2. Chris says:

      High availability tv?

    3. Clem Dye says:

      People in North Yorkshire have been without a TV service since 10/08/21 when the Bilsdale mast caught fire. Lack of TV may not be ‘risky’ per se, but if you’re one of the many, predominantly elderly viewers who have no alternative, then their standpoint will be a little different, I suspect.

      We take access to TV, be it DTT, DSAT, IPTV, whatever for granted. If that service is your only window on the world, right now it must be a pretty lonely place to be, especially with the pandemic still in full flow if you don’t have it. We should, perhaps, count our blessings.

  21. Richard says:

    I watch YouTube more than anything.
    Ditched Sky years ago and took delight in binning the dish.

  22. Chris says:

    On holiday In Cyprus the other year they had an iptv box in the villa that was cloud backed.

    It had all uk sky and domestic channels. You could also rewind 7 days on any channel.

    Broadband was line of sight wireless, can’t remember how quick it was but worked fine.

    1. Jim says:

      Likely had a skybox sitting somewhere connected to an IPTV system. Or an IPTV system that takes a sky card. Would have all still been via a satellite somewhere though

  23. Sam Perry says:

    I really want a sky Q tv app. I hate the boxes.

  24. MR ANDREW E MILLARD says:

    I am a Zen Internet customer and have tried Sky before, hell, I have tried them all and Zen FTTC is still better, much better.
    Don’t believe the hype!

    1. Bob says:

      Did you know that a Rolls Royce is better than a Vauxhall, Mr Andrew E Millard? I am with Zen too, but boy do you have to pay for it.

  25. Nick says:

    I hope this new product will be offering the same level of channels the existing Sky by dish offers and really do hope that they don’t force you to get Sky Broadband as that is not an option for me right now and I also don’t like Sky Broadband having used it in the past.

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