Now Sky customers can watch football matches in split screen

5 Oct 2016

Wayne Rooney and Philippe Coutinho. Images: Mitch Gunn/Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

In a move that seems like it should have happened a decade ago, Sky has revealed a new way of watching sports on TV, with split screen viewing now on the cards.

Owners of Sky Q boxes have a few new interesting features to play around with, as Sky tries to innovate its sports viewing experience once again.

While 3D was a bit of a dud, and HD has proved successful in parts, the latest tweak from the telecommunications company may yet prove a real gem.

Sky Sports

Options galore

Pinning the split screen capabilities on Formula 1 and, of course, soccer, Sky is now letting users either watch two live games at once, watch the same event from two different camera points or even watch the game live, while catching up on other sport from earlier in the day.

To avail of these features, customers simply press the red button and open the Sky Sports app on Sky Q and choose to customise their streams, select highlights and watch video clips alongside the main event.

“We know our customers absolutely love watching live sports and the new Sky Q features will give them the flexibility to choose how they watch,” said Ann-Marie MacKay, director of products and customer growth at Sky Ireland.

“Whether it’s a Premier League match or Formula 1 race, customers can simply choose split screen viewing and watch the most talked about goal again and again, or two live races side by side.”

Other features introduced as part of the update include the recently launched Box Sets to Buy & Keep through Sky Store, plus the addition of live channels to the top picks section of Sky. The latter plays a preview of the channel in the corner of the screen, to make sure customers don’t miss the big live TV moments.

Starting now

But as it’s Sky, it’s the sports features that stand out. The company said the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers (6-11 October), the Suzuka Grand Prix (7-9 October) and the Shanghai tennis open (11-14 October) will support the new features.

The video clips available in split screen are editorially chosen and will focus on “key moments in the live event”.

“When watching in split screen, audio from the live match or race will mute while the highlight video clip is playing,” said Sky. “When customers pause the clip, audio will return to the live action. To watch the clip full screen, press select on the video again.” recently spoke with Gary Davey, MD of content at Sky, who explained the company’s interest in virtual reality (VR) options for the future.

Virtual reality

The first version of the Sky VR app – downloadable from Google Play or the App Store – works with VR headsets like the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift or Google’s low-cost Cardboard VR viewer.

Sky has created its own facilities for producing in-house content, known as Sky VR Studios.

“It is an exciting time for us because it ticks the boxes this company cares about: content, innovation and service,” he said.

“Sometimes it is the content that leads us or it could be the technology but without exception, content, innovation and service end up in the dialogue.”

However it’s split screen viewing, rather than VR, that will best appeal to sports fans.

This feature is available on Sky Q 2TB and 1TB boxes.

Wayne Rooney and Philippe Coutinho. Images: Mitch Gunn/Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic