With Sky Glass marking Sky’s biggest shift towards streaming TV, another announcement was made today, that is possibly part of that big shift: Sky Go, the complementary streaming app from Sky, is coming to the big screen – via Apple TV devices.
Today, Sky announced a global agreement between Comcast (the corporation that owns Sky) and Apple, that will affect customers of Sky, NOW and Apple.
In addition to the Sky Go reveal, it was announced that customers who want to subscribe to NOW (formerly NOW TV), Sky’s stand-alone streaming service, on Apple TV and other Apple devices – are finally able to do that again.
And on the flip side – Apple TV+ is coming to Sky Q and Sky Glass.
Sky Go Coming To Apple TV
The biggest bit of news, which was somewhat downplayed in the announcement, is potentially a big game-changer.
In addition to NOW, Sky has yet another streaming app – Sky Go – which is only available to Sky customers (and not NOW customers, as the two serve similar functions but through different models).
Sky Go lets Sky customers stream content (that is part of their Sky package) on the go, via broadband, mostly on smartphones and tablets – though it was also available on some gaming consoles and laptops.
Therefore, there were very few ways to watch Sky Go on a big-screen TV (other than via gaming consoles, or “casting” directly from a phone or laptop).
After all, Sky wants you to use your Sky Q boxes for that – or, in the case of Sky Glass, get a “Sky Puck” box which is basically a streaming device (but it’s ONLY available for Sky Glass customers).
This will soon be changing, however – as Sky customers in the UK will be able to access Sky Go on Apple TV devices, in the first half of 2022.
This means that customers who have just one Sky Q or Sky Glass device (and the appropriate subscription) will be able to stream their Sky channels and programmes (at least those that are available on Sky Go), on any other TV, if they have an Apple TV streaming device connected.
Apple TV (check price) is a high-end set-top streaming device (and quite expensive, compared to similar devices) from Apple, which supports most of the major streaming services and broadcaster catch-up apps in the UK.
It’ll be very interesting to see whether this marks a bigger change and whether we’ll be seeing Sky Go pop up on more streaming devices, such as Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
Subscribe To NOW On Apple Devices
NOW is Sky’s stand-alone streaming TV service, which has separate memberships for TV programmes (“Entertainment”), movies and sports – all with contract-free monthly subscriptions.
With Apple taking a cut out of in-app purchases on its devices, some streaming services (and other online subscriptions) make you go directly to the service’s website in order to subscribe – instead of via in-app purchases on iOS devices.
This was the situation with NOW on iPhones and iPads, and earlier this year, following the launch of a new version of NOW on Apple TV devices (which also caused it to stop working on older Apple TVs), users were no longer able to buy NOW content memberships directly on Apple TVs as well.
Instead, users had to go directly to the NOW TV website, create an account and sign up with a new payment method, with charges going directly through NOW.
Today, Sky announced that Apple users – on all devices, including Apple TV – will finally be able to subscribe to NOW’s memberships via in-app purchases, with their bill being paid via iTunes.
With this, customers will be able to subscribe directly on their TV, without having to seek another device and website first.
Apple TV+ Coming To Sky Q and Sky Glass
Finally, the flip side of the Sky/Apple announcement, concerns Apple TV+, which is coming to Sky’s flagship devices – Sky Q and the brand new Sky Glass TV set.
As we previously reported, Apple TV is currently missing from both Sky Q and Sky Glass, but it will be coming to both, “later this year” (so it’s not there just yet!).
Since Apple TV+ only airs “originals”, it doesn’t have a huge library of content. But some of its highlights include Foundation, The Morning Show, Ted Lasso and more.
Normally, Apple TV+ costs £4.99/month, though every new customer of Apple TV+ can get a free 7 days trial, and customers who buy iOS devices can get three free months.
In line with Sky’s other streaming partnerships (such as Disney+, Netflix and others), Apple TV+ will be “seamlessly integrated into the Sky experience to make content easy to discover”.
We’re not clear yet on whether Sky will be getting the full Apple TV app – Sky confirmed to us that Sky Q and Glass are not getting the full Apple TV app at launch, but just the Apple TV+ category – meaning, Apple’s subscription-based library of original content.
This means you won’t be able to buy digital films and TV shows on-demand directly from Apple (and, presumably, won’t be able to watch content you bought on iTunes elsewhere).
Furthermore, Apple TV+ subscriptions will be billed directly by Apple, and not via the customer’s Sky bill (which is an option with some other content partners, such as Disney+ and Netflix).