Sky have provided access to their Sky Go App for a while, which allows Sky Digital customers to watch services on their iPhones and iPads and now there is an option for non sky subscribers, the Sky Sports TV app.
The Sky Sports TV app is aimed at non Sky Customers and lets them make in App purchases to subscribe to the service one month at a time for a very reasonable £9.99. The service provides access to 8 Sky channels, Sky Sports 1,2,3 & 4, Sky Sports News, Sky News, At The Races and ESPN which for the money provides great value of money for sports fans.
The first time you log on you are asked to create a Sky account which is easy to do, and when loaded the App displays now and next information for each channel. Clicking on a channel will provide a complete program guide for that station with an option to watch the live broadcast. If you haven’t got a subscription then you are presented with an option to purchase a months subscription in App through iTunes, this creates a recurring purchase so if you want to end your subscription then you need to manually cancel it.
The video stream works over both 3G and WiFi and the quality of video is good, not as good as BBC iPlayer, but still good. The following pictures show a comparison of 3G and WiFi video streams.
Image from 3G stream
As you can see the image is clearer over WiFi but when the image is moving it still looks smooth and fluid over 3G.
Image from WiFi Stream
The Sky Sports TV App is a fantastic App which provides a cost effective way for non Sky customers to watch Sky Sports on their iPhone. Those wanting to watch Sky Sports on the Move or just want an alternative and legal way to receive the service should check out the App.
The BBC is known for producing high quality TV and Radio content and they have also taken a world wide lead in developing Video over IP technology with it’s iPlayer facility.
It’s been possible to watch videos through the BBC iPlayer website for quite some time using the iPhone’s Safari Web Browser, but now the BBC have released a free dedicated iPlayer app for the iPhone which makes the process much simpler.
The iPlayer App allows you to view both live and archived BBC TV and Radio program’s through your device over either a Wifi or 3G network connection, with program’s being presented in an easy to understand timeline channel by channel.
There a 7 days of archived content available to be viewed, listed by day and time and currently being broadcast shows are marked as live and are viewed through the same easy to use and understand interface. The video and audio quality is very high and on the small retina screen of the iPhone 4 or 4s video looks almost broadcast quality, even on a 3G connection.
The BBC App is now available through the Apple App Store, and provides a great way to catch your favourite BBC shows.
A quick word of warning if you are using the iPlayer App over 3G make sure you are aware of your network providers Data Allowances.
Wimbledon is the most famous and prestigious tennis competition in the world, with the annual event attracting a tv audience of millions of viewers from around the world.
This year the event starts on the 20th of June and it’s possible to watch the event live on the iPhone in the UK using the brilliant TV catchup.
I’ve written about TVCatchup.com before, including this post on how to access TVCatchup.com, it’s a fantastic free and legal site (as long as you have a valid TV Licence) which streams a number of Live FreeView TV directly to your iPhone.
In the UK, Wimbledon is being shown are being shown on the BBC so to watch the games simply login on and open the chanel link to watch the matches.
The BBC website has a large amount of good quality video content available free of charge, but unfortunately most of it is published in Flash Format, so unless it also appears on iPlayer there’s no way of watching it on the iPhone’s Safari Web Browser.
Fortunately as previously mentioned in this post the low cost Skyfire Browser provides a solution.
Providing an interface for Flash video the BBC website becomes a brilliant repository of Video news, interviews & features, all of which wouldn’t normally be available on the iPhone. It is worth pointing out that sporting highlights tend to be blocked on mobile devices, so if you are looking for a solution to watch the football match highlights you will need a different solution, and Skyfire do place an advert before some streams but this shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment to much.
As these examples show, the BBC website becomes a very useful site and now more content then ever before is available to iPhone users.
The BBC WebScape Website, contains video that can't normally be seen on the iPhone
SkyFire plays the WebScape video without problem
The BBC's FA Cup Focus program played through their website
Many of the most popular websites on the web use Adobe Flash to deliver video to your computer screen, but unless the site specifically provided an alternative for the iPhone, users haven’t been able to view flash video.
Now there is a new web browser available in the App store called Skyfire providing a method of delivering Flash Video directly to your iPhone. Skyfire proxy the Sites through their servers and convert the Flash into a video format that the iPhone can understand, and it works brilliantly.
When you visit a webpage that has a Flash video contained on it, after a few seconds an icon appears at the bottom of the screen as shown in the screenshot below, this is your indication that the video is ready to be played. Pressing the icon will then start the video.
The video is smooth and this is a very clever solution, to one of the iPhone’s biggest criticism. The following screen shot was captured showing video from the SkySports Website on the iPhone.
In addition to the ability to play Flash video, Skyfire is a great web browser. Pages load quickly and are well rendered. Many iPhone users are now adopting Skyfire as their default web browser.
To install Skyfire, goto the App Store on your handset and search for Skyfire Web browser.
There are many ways to watch Video on Demand on the iPhone, but it’s also possible to watch a large selection of FreeView channels live, over both 3g and WiFi networks on your handset thanks to the fantastic TVCatchup Website.
TVCatchup has been available for Desktop Computer Internet Browsers for a while but the owners of the site also run a service for iPhone users. Paid for by pre-program advertising the service is completely free to use for the end user, although you will need to register for the site (no cost), live in the UK and hold a TV Licence
The quality of the video is excellent and on the small screen of the iPhone you will be hard pushed to tell the difference to normal Digital television when connected to a WiFi Network, the video quality does deteriorate when you are using a 3G network, but it is still very watchable.
The image below shows a screen shot taken from an actual TV broadcast on TV Catchup whilst on a Wifi Network, even if you click to enlarge it you will see that quality remains high.
Access to the site is easy, after you have registered for the site, simply point your iPhone browser at http://iphone.tvcatchup.com, log in and choose the channel you want to watch.