By Graham Gunning.
I have been a sky plus user for over ten years and with the revelation of sky discontinuing the sky plus app after the 31st of May 2023 I am left with a decision to make. As I use the sky plus app to control all functions of my sky box and sky q not being available in my area, I was left with either sky glass or sky stream. I decided to go with sky stream, but would it be accessible? And would I be able to operate it independently with no sight at all?
The answer yes and no.
What is Sky stream.
Sky stream is the latest innovation from sky allowing you to access sky tv without a satellite dish via WIFI. The stream is a simple and portable designed wireless streaming box with four ports on the back which include a power port, HDMI port, ethernet port and an arial port. Setting up sky stream is an easy enough process, but you will need sighted assistance if you have a visual impairment as the accessibility features are not available until the stream is successfully set up. With it being a WIFI streaming device you are unable to record your favourite tv programmes nor will you have access to the plus one channels you get with sky q. Also, as the stream relies on WIFI, if your internet is down then you will not be able to use it until it is fixed.
Accessibility wise, the sky stream has all the same accessibility features that sky q has, which can be located in settings and accessibility. The accessibility features include audio description, beep for audio description, subtitles, highlight programmes with subtitles and audio description, high contrast and sky’s screen reader voice guidance. You also have voice input on the remote, which allows you to control sky stream by your voice. Although these accessibility features are available there are still issues when using them, especially with audio description and voice guidance.
The key issues I encountered on sky stream was with audio description and voice guidance. The biggest issue with audio description is that audio description is only available on live tv and nothing else including catch up. Having no audio description on catch up has been a recurring issue with sky. but with sky stream not having the ability to record, you are left relying on catch up for programmes you have missed and with no audio description leaves catch up unusable for audio described users. Another issue I had with audio description is that sky stream allows you to go back to the start of a programme, Great idea, yes. Unfortunately, when you go back to the start of the programme the audio description does not. With voice guidance the main issue is that voice guidance does not read all the menus, for example voice guidance will read out the settings for accessibility but not the settings for brightness and sound. The other issue is there is no way to silence voice guidance.
I really hoped that sky stream would be a viable option for myself but unfortunately sky stream is not there yet in my opinion. I really like the idea of sky stream and applaud sky for having all the same accessibility options available. Being able to control sky stream with your voice is a nice touch. But the issues that I encountered especially with audio description made sky stream unusable. I can deal with voice guidance not reading all of the menus, but being a customer without sight I rely on audio description and with the lack of it makes sky stream a no for me at this time.
If you would like to find out more about devices for people with a visual impairment contact us at.
Triple Tap Tech
The Renfield Centre
260 Bath Street Glasgow G2 4JP
0141 353 1567
0780 5353 149
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