Wed, 25 Apr 2012 Sky News for iPad review
Quality news, quality app, but at a price.
- Manufacturer: BSkyB
- Pros: Excellent, informative news coverage, additional live news feeds, attractive app with intuitive interface, Airplay support, supplementary background content including Infographics and comment.
- Cons: Non Sky customers pay a premium, live Sky News stream not available outside the UK or Ireland.
- Min specs: Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
- Price: Free (£4.99 per month for non-Sky customers)
- Star rating:
British satellite TV broadcaster BSkyB has a decent track record of producing quality iPhone apps covering news and sport. Sky News for iPad, a recent addition, is no exception, making the most of Apple's roomier tablet screen and improved display. The iPad app differs from its smaller sibling by offering a time line of recent news coverage, so users can cherry pick reports of interest and near-live breaking news. Generally Sky sticks to the last 24 hours of news coverage, while clearly highlighting what they believe to be the top stories of the day. Despite the busy content, the apps navigation feels intuitive and newbies can view a short video tutorial explaining how everything works.
Additionally, Sky News for iPad, in the UK and Ireland at least, offers a live feed of the channel along with live news streams normally only found via the interactive Sky Digital red button. Videos can be viewed at a good size while Sky gives viewers the option to rewind both recorded and live broadcasts. Background information is available on many stories, while galleries, graphs, tables, articles and interactive graphics help to paint the broader picture and put news in context.
Sky News for iPad was originally offered free to all, and remains free for Sky customers by logging in using the Sky iD linked to users TV accounts. For the rest of us, a monthly subscription, via in app purchase, costs a fairly hefty £4.99. Feedback on the iTunes Store from customers used to getting news free suggests viewers are unhappy with the decision to charge. While Sky News for iPhone remains free, thanks to a "paywall" of sorts, not even the live Sky News feed is offered free on the iPad version, which is a pity.