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Sky banishes the dish and set-top box with own smart TV

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By Reuters
Britain's Sky launches streaming TV
Britain's Sky launches streaming TV   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Paul Sandle

LONDON -Sky, the pay-TV company that bought multi-channel viewing to millions of Britons via satellite, is launching a smart TV called Sky Glass that does away with set-top boxes, cables and a dish on the side of the house.

The TVs, which are connected by Wifi using any broadband network, will be available on contract from as little as 13 pounds ($17.70) a month, Sky said on Thursday.

“This is the only TV in the world with Sky inside, and all of your favourite apps too. It works on WiFi, so no dish, no box and no fuss,” Chief Executive Dana Strong said.

Sky Glass will bring content from the likes of Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify, as well as all Sky’s entertainment and sport into one device, the company said. Sky’s entry-level TV package can be added for 26 pounds a month.

It would also make all Sky’s output more easily available for customers unwilling or unable to have a satellite dish on their home.

Sky did not divulge sales targets. “The UK market is a very big TV market, it sells over 6 million TVs every year, you don’t need a big portion of that to be very, very happy,” Strong said.

However, she described pricing as “punchy”.

Available in 43-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch screens, the device will launch in Britain on Oct. 18, followed by more markets in 2022.

Priced to buy outright at 649 pounds, 849 pounds and 1,049 pounds respectively, Sky said they cost on average 30% less than comparable models.

Sky designed and will build the TVs itself. The devices, which have no logo on the front, come in five colours and have 4K Ultra HD screens and Dolby sound.

Strong told reporters the user experience set Sky Glass apart from smart TVs made by the likes of Samsung and Sony.

“There’s always a tremendous amount of focus in the TV market about the actual hardware,” she said. “But importantly, it’s actually the software that’s integrating the content, running the TV and controlling the voice platform.”

She said Sky Glass would not have been possible without the technology – for example in voice – of Comcast, the U.S. cable company that bought Sky for $40 billion in 2018.

($1 = 0.7354 pounds)