The Sky Sports F1 HD team has hinted at some of the features it hopes to include in its official Formula One iPad application, Sky Race Control. And the highlight so far is that it will allow viewers to watch the multiple live video streams on their tablet devices normally restricted to Sky's own red button service.
Sky Race Control is the banner the company will be using across all of its interactive services, red button and internet included, with the website also to give F1 fans the chance to look at alternative camera angles, on-board cameras and extra information, both video and otherwise.
Speaking to Pocket-lint at the impressive new Sky Studios complex in Isleworth, Martin Turner, executive producer of F1 HD, explained that a massively improved interactive channel line-up is something that Sky can provide that the BBC couldn't.
"Technically speaking, our multi-screen offering will be the biggest change," he said. "We will be offering [viewers] a choice of on-board cameras that they’ve never had before. We’ll be offering a live Pit Channel. Sky will be covering the pits as its own channel, to see what’s going on there because there’s always something going on in the pits even without the cars being there."
But, rather than restrict these options to the broadcaster's own red button services, access will also be available via the web and a dedicated iPad app.
"The aim of Sky Race Control is to replicate that offering across all of our platforms," said Owen Williams, head of projects for Sky Sport’s Digital Media. "You will see, for example, on the website you’ll have your nine streams that Martin was referring to. So, in effect, you can be the race director, you can direct the race yourself.
"It gives an offering that, quite frankly, the BBC couldn't rival."
And Williams should know, he joined Sky from the Beeb last year.
“They haven’t got the rights to do it. And they’d struggle technically to do it too,” added Turner.
The executive producer, who has been at Sky for 27 years ("There were only 14 people back then") also may have leaked a further interesting titbit about the iPad app. "One of the things that is being developed for the application that’s not a secret is the four-way split," he said, before turning to his communications team. "Er, if it’s a secret tell me…"
What that suggests to us is that, as well as having the ability to access each of the interactive channels, four of them may be able to be viewed on the pad at the same time. Either that, or the screen will be tiled so that you can have different boxes of text or graphic information alongside a live stream.
Needless to say, there were no more details at this juncture.
"It’s not that we’re trying to mislead you," said Williams. "A lot of these things are being developed, but then they’ve got to go to Apple for submission, and a lot of stuff like that."
Sky F1 HD launches on 9 March. The standard definition version of the channel will also be available on Virgin Media from that date.