Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SKY New Zealand vaults into the 21st Century

New Zealand is a pretty country but it's also pretty slow in coming forward in many areas.

It has it fair share of innovation but some parts of everyday life are still if not 20 years behind but at least 10...until now.

Sky in the UK has made use of user driven options through handset interaction for some time, push the red button, Sky NZ still does not support this type of service.

But this is where competition shows its value, it forces natural monopolies to innovate, and let's be honest Sky TV is a natural monopoly here by being the only digital TV service (which you have to use if you want to get a decent reception so Freeview doesn't count [yet]).

Now Telecom has tied up with TiVo as the sole distributor in New Zealand Sky has had to play catch up, their response iSky.

First impressions, given that the full service isn't launched yet, are good. Finally after years of me seeing other countries extending TV into the computer world with the likes of Yahoo -> TiVo integration for booking and the BBC iPlayer Sky NZ have made a leap of faith.

Through the iSky service you can connect your account to an online account (your SKY ID). You can browse the TV guide and as a MySkyHDi user you can remotely book programmes to be recorded.

It appears that you can now also book pay-per-view films without having either a phone line connected to your decoder or having to phone the contact centre, great news!

From the early blurb it looks like Sky will moving to a full time shifting and place shifting service within the coming weeks. You will be able to have remote access to content that is aligned to your subscription and watch that on a device that is nowhere near your TV, also good news!

In a final piece of competition driven need if you are also a subscriber to one of their partners, e.g. Vodafone NZ, any content you watch this way does not come out of your monthly bandwidth allocation, even better news!

For the first time in a long time I actually feel excited about events that are unfolding here in the North Antartic islands that are New Zealand.