Many industry technophobes believe handheld devices will eventually replace the remote traditional control, and British satellite operator Sky has launched a service where the iPad can fill that role. An app allows changing channels as well as pausing and rewinding with taps on the screen.
The service also allows control over recorded programming stored on a set-top box and a refashioned program guide with search functionality.
Sky has 10.4 million subscribers in the U.K. and Ireland. The company would fit a profile as sort of a DirecTV of Britain, staking some of its brand ID on sports. This summer, it secured rights to 116 English Premier League soccer games a year through the 2015-16 season. It lists its price starting at about $34 a month.
Vizio and Sony have both been marketing tablets that can serve as universal remote controls, while smartphones have similar capabilities. Over time, voice and gesture control are also expected to play a major role in the remote control space, possibly replacing tapping keys on tablets for some.
As far back as 2010, Sky launched a mobile TV app for the iPad, following a similar service available via an iPhone, allowing live TV on the go, including Premier League soccer.