To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Sky Live review: A clever product that’s a little bit niche

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £290
inc VAT

Sky Live turns Sky Glass into a motion-tracking, video-calling powerhouse, but it has its flaws


  • Motion tracking works well
  • Functions even in cramped spaces
  • Brilliant fitness app


  • Watch together too restrictive
  • Occupies an HDMI input
  • Expensive

Sky Live, as you’ll probably already know if you’re a regular cinema goer in the UK, is an add-on camera for the TV giant’s popular Sky Glass TV, and it’s an interesting product, if a little on the odd side.

To look at, you’d think it was just a fancy webcam for your TV, but it has hidden depths. Not only can you make video calls to family and friends, but it’s also a motion-tracking powerhouse, packed with AI-based tech that allows you to play gesture-based games, create fun AR photos and videos, watch live TV shows with friends and even track your daily workout.

I’ve been using Sky Live in conjunction with a Sky Glass TV for a month or so since it was first launched and, in general, I’ve been very impressed with how well it works. However, it’s not without its issues as it’s expensive and some features only work if your friends own a Sky Glass and Sky Live as well. With those warnings out of the way, let’s dig into what makes it more interesting than a bog-standard webcam.

Check price at Sky

Sky Live review: What you need to know

Sky Live is quite expensive. If you want to buy one outright, it costs £290, which is more expensive even than most premium webcams. Alternatively, you can add one to your current Sky Glass payment plan for £6 extra per month.

The camera itself is a blocky, rectangular unit with the lens situated on the right-hand side, a white status LED in the centre, four microphones and a privacy button on the top, and a USB-C port at the rear. It captures 4K footage with a 100-degree horizontal field of view and a 93-degree vertical field of view and mounts to the top of the TV with a satisfying magnetic thunk.

While it isn’t adjustable, it does capture a very wide angle and is supplied with a small plastic wedge, which can be used to angle the camera in a downwards direction if required. The theory is it should suit a wide variety of rooms, even very small ones. Sky says the optimal distance you need to be away from the screen for the various motion-tracking features to work well is between 1m and 2m, and I can confirm that it does indeed work in tiny spaces.

In my living room, with the TV set on a low AV unit, the back support of my sofa sits around 2.4m from the screen, so I’m really cramped for space. Despite this, the Sky Live camera coped absolutely perfectly, tracking movements accurately, and the wedge propped the camera up at the ideal angle.

What’s not so good is the way Sky Live is connected. Instead of simply hooking up via USB, as you might expect, it connects over both USB and HDMI via a small breakout box, which comes with two adhesive pads so you can stick it to the rear of the TV. This would be bad enough if Sky Glass had the usual four HDMI inputs but it only comes with three, leaving a measly two HDMI inputs for your games consoles and other input devices.

Still, once you’ve hooked up the camera, there’s nothing more to do as it instantly unlocks all Sky Live’s features automatically. Those features are split into four key areas: video calling, watch together, gaming and workouts, which I’ll delve into in the following sections.

READ NEXT: The best broadband in the UK right now 

Sky Live review: Video calling 

For video calling, Sky has partnered with Zoom and the UI looks pretty familiar, allowing you to set up and join calls just as if you were using Zoom on your laptop or phone. In-call, the camera is able to automatically focus on whoever is in frame automatically, expanding to accommodate multiple people, or tracking one person at a time.

There’s no facility as yet to blur out backgrounds or use filters within calls, which is disappointing, but the person-tracking element worked particularly well during our demo, zooming in and out seamlessly as people walked in and out of shot.

It’s a shame you can’t use filters in the Sky Live Zoom app, because you can get AR filters elsewhere on the Sky Live platform via the Video Booth AR filter. This app lets you – or more likely your kids – don virtual outfits, sunglasses, hats and so on in augmented reality and then download the results, or share via social media, by scanning an onscreen QR code.

Still, since it’s Zoom, you’ll be able to connect with pretty much anyone on any platform – whether that be on a phone, laptop or tablet, Windows, macOS, Android or iOS – which isn’t the case for every Sky Live feature.

Check price at Sky

Sky Live review: Watch together

Unfortunately, that’s where Sky Live’s Watch together feature falls short. Again, this appears to be simple to set up and operate. All you do is click the “Watch together” button, set up a “room”, share a nine-digit code with your friends – and that’s pretty much it. Up to 12 people can join the watch-together call at the same time, and thumbnail videos of up to four attendees are displayed down the right-hand side of the screen in a vertical strip – it’s perfect for watching football, cricket or a film with friends and family.

You can maximise what you’re watching at any time and you’ll still be able to talk to people on the call, even if you can’t see them, and it’s also possible to back out and browse other content on your Sky Glass TV without having it interrupt the viewing of everyone else on the call.

The big problem with this feature is that, unlike video calling, it isn’t open to just anyone. You need to own a Sky Live camera and, therefore, also a Sky Glass TV if you want to join in. There’s no third-party app support at all and that will, I suspect, get in the way of its usefulness for most people.

Sky Live review: Gaming

Next up is gaming, and this is another area that I think will meet with limited success. On the one hand, I had a few evenings of mildly physical fun with Sky Live’s selection of games – and I can certainly see the appeal for younger viewers.

Since you can’t pair controllers, most titles rely on motion tracking, with games such as Fruit Ninja and the rhythm-based music game Starri proving a blast to play. I was a little less enamoured with the Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles game, which sees participants jumping up and down in a bid to splash in as many virtual pools of mucky water within a time limit as possible – but I’m not exactly the target audience.

Other titles, such as the virtual Monopoly board game, are controlled using the remote control, and this is another I can see getting some family play time. It’s all good clean fun. The only thing is I’m not convinced how much long-term appeal is here.

Without premium gaming material and big-name games, it’s only really going to appeal to the younger audience – and even then, probably not for all that long. Don’t dump your Nintendo Switch just yet.

Check price at Sky

Sky Live review: Workouts

All of which brings me to what is Sky Live’s most effective aspect: its fitness tracking. It comes in the shape of the “mvmnt” app on the TV and it takes advantage of Sky Live’s motion-tracking smarts to keep tabs on your movements. This allows it to provide feedback on your form and advise where you can improve, and it will track your long-term progress, too.

Essentially, you select a video workout and follow along with the onscreen coach and, as you do so, you get live feedback on up to three components of the exercise you’re being asked to do with a score out of ten in each updating every few seconds. If you’re tasked with a side plank, for instance, the app will rate how how high you’re pushing your hips, whether or not your arm is under your shoulder sufficiently and if your chest is facing the side enough.

This tracking seems to work pretty well, with simple movements easy to achieve a high score in and trickier ones a much tougher challenge. I was able to score an eight, nine or ten in most exercises, but had difficulty with one movement that calls for you to lean back while on your knees, keeping a straight back. I was only able to score six for this; understandable, given how inflexible I am. What was most impressive here, however, was how well the camera was able to track my movements, even though my small living room necessitated me exercising around 1.5m from the TV.

The workouts are varied enough to cover most needs, with plenty of beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts. There are bodyweight, dumbbell and HIIT workouts, pilates and yoga sessions, there’s a section where you can practise your form before taking on a full workout, and you can also browse “collections” of workouts. If you don’t have much room for jumping around in, for instance, there’s a “small spaces” collection, and if you want the maximum impact in the shortest space of time, you can browse “short, sharp sweats”.

The final touch is a companion app you can install on your phone. This allows you to browse your achievements and progress at your leisure, and it even links to the camera over your local Wi-Fi network so you can see your live feedback more clearly when you’re exercising sideways on, so you don’t have to crane your neck uncomfortably to see what’s happening on the TV.

All in all, it’s very impressive and, considering how much rival fitness apps can charge monthly, it’s probably enough to justify paying £6 extra per month on its own on top of your Sky Glass and Sky TV subscription.

READ NEXT: The best webcams to buy today

Sky Live: Verdict

It’s early days for such an innovative and interesting product but, although I’ve been impressed by the technical achievement Sky Live represents, I’m not convinced Sky’s customers will be completely bowled over. 

The first issue is that the price is simply too high, whether you buy it outright at £290 or pay £6 extra per month. The second is that you won’t be able to take full advantage of the Watch together feature unless the people you want to watch with also have a Sky Glass TV and the Sky Live camera. And that’s even before I get to the practical problems of having the camera occupy one of Sky Glass’s precious three HDMI inputs.   

To be absolutely fair to Sky Live, there is one group of consumers who will love it: those who already own a Sky Glass TV and are looking for a way to motivate themselves to get fitter and stronger. The fitness element to Sky Live works brilliantly and its guided workouts are worth paying the £6 per month for.