Sky looks to smartphones and tablets to be next remote control

Sky has told Pocket-lint that it is looking into the possibility of using smartphones, iPads and tablets as remote controls for its Sky box in the future.

“I do think that smartphones, iPads, and tablets are actually going to bring new opportunities, not just in what you can do from a content presentation point of view, but in controlling your TV”, Brian Lenz, Sky’s director of TV Product Development told us, hinting that the company is looking at giving us new ways to control our set top box from our phone when sat on the sofa.

Sky already offers an iPhone app that allows you to view the electronic programme guide (EPG) a week ahead and set your box to record programmes even if you are on the other side of the world, however you can't physically use the app to control your television, at the moment. 

Lenz believes that the key to a good TV service is about simplicity and consistency, but more importantly in the way that you find your content and the way that you get there.

“A lot of the way we organise content is about getting the fewest button clicks between you and watching TV”, explains Lenz. “We are always doing a lot of testing on different types of remote controls, however the facts are that people still see the most natural way of controlling their TV is by moving their thumbs in a very small range”.

With the march of games consoles like the PlayStation Move, Kinect, and Wii Remote and set top boxes from the likes of Apple, and Boxee that use your phone and gestures, the humble remote control is going through a vast change at the moment.

“They are all very interesting, but in the end it’s not clear whether that’s the way people want to interact with their TV”.

Lenz even suggested that they’ve dabbled with variations themselves above and beyond the traditional remote control that you probably use at the moment, but that the time has yet to be right to present those ideas to the public.

As for the ability to watch your Sky television on a device like your phone or tablet? Lenz hints that its something Sky want to do: “There’s things that need to be answered to make that happen, but its absolutely one of those things that we want to figure out.” 

We will keep you posted.

How would you like to control or interact with your TV? Let us know in the comments below.



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