(Cybertech) – Sky’s standalone streaming service, Now (formerly Now TV), will be updated more regularly in future and the adoption of 4K HDR is foremost in its thoughts.
Speaking during a press briefing, Sky’s chief product officer, Fraser Stirling, explained that there’s a possibility for the Boost add-on to expand to 4K HDR. It could even get Dolby Atmos audio at some point.
“We’re always trying to raise the bar for the quality of the content,” he said. “When you are in a streaming world, there’s always challenges there, but not as many as there used to be. I think the beauty of the Boost add-on is that [4K HDR] is something we can really invest in.
“We’re always moving towards offering the best level of content, so that’s something we’re definitely looking at.”
Now’s Boost add-on costs £3 per month and enables Full HD streaming plus 5.1 audio. Without it, Now streams at 720p and in stereo.
Also possible for future inclusion is Dolby Atmos: “I think that has to happen at some point,” Stirling added. “I think that object-to-object encoded audio is the thing that really goes with [the 4K HDR] experience.
“We’re looking at how we want to plug that all in our streaming infrastructure and get it out there. It maybe a while before we get there.”
Two other areas discussed were new Now hardware and profiles for the streaming service.
Sky currently has no plans to upgrade its Smart Stick. In fact, it may not produce any more dedicated devices going forward, happy instead to continue its progress on making the service available on all other devices, Smart TVs and games consoles.
“We don’t have any plans to make a new streaming stick right now. I think the focus is really leaning into the experience of all of the platforms we have, and then looking at the best platforms to expand into.”
Finally, considering the new Now user experience is heavily centred on personalisation, Cybertech asked if profiles could be coming to the streaming service.
“The ability to have profiles in the experience when you get to that 12 foot zone for something like streaming, we understand the importance of that. But, we want to make sure that we get all the underlying personalisation elements sorted first,” replied Stirling.
“We want to make sure we’re addressing the need for profiles before we just jump to profiles. Otherwise, all you’ve really done at that point is create one more click everytime you open the experience.
“We understand the need for both the personalisation, which we have and we’re improving and then how do we attach that to profiles when the time is right.”
Writing by Rik Henderson.