Football: Missed a goal? Play it again
Alex Hayes test drives Sky's new interactive football vehicle
Sunday 22 August 1999
The novel service is Britain's first interactive sports channel, giving viewers the chance to be their own producers. From the comfort of their armchair, fans will be able to direct their own game by switching camera angles, calling up match statistics or viewing action replays and highlights at any time during coverage.
Can it work? An exclusive taste of what will be served up today, during Southampton's 4-2 home win over Newcastle last Sunday, provided some of the answers.
The operating system is straightforward enough. Subscribers will view the service through the specially created Sky Sports Extra channel, while all the features will be accessed by the standard Sky Digital remote control. Pressing a red button launches the interactive mode, after which an on- screen menu offers four options. Whenever one of the options is entered, the live picture is reduced to the top left corner of the screen, thus allowing fans to survey the action while playing around with the interactive buttons.
The "stats" are a wonderful up-to-the-minute guide as to who is in the starting line-up, who is on the bench or who is injured. It allows the audience to scour squads for information on players. It certainly settles arguments. Want to know when Dwight Yorke signed for Manchester United and for how much? It is all there.
Another interesting feature is the "replay", which scrolls back 30 seconds from the moment the button is pressed, so the devotee can review an incident immediately, rather than have to wait for the programme director to replay the footage.
Last Monday night's game between Aston Villa and West Ham illustrated the value of "highlights". Two goals were scored in the first 10 minutes, so anybody who was slightly delayed in getting home from work would have missed the early action. Highlights allow couch potatoes, in a matter of seconds, to be up to speed with the progress of a match.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the operation is the "angle" facility. From today, an extra camera view from behind one of the goals will be available. Not only does this provide a better vantage point for corners and penalties, it also offers a clearer idea of how defences operate (or in Newcastle's case, how they fail).
Sky Sports Active gives viewers the opportunity to watch football matches as they see fit. Armchair fans will have something like the freedom of the stadium supporter. With extra features to come, such as access to four camera angles from January, the technological possibilities are endless.
Those who argue this is just a gimmick are right. But be warned, it is seriously addictive.
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
Latest in Sport
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players as he looks to the long term
Radamel Falcao transfer latest: Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City linked with blockbuster move
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Tottenham vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? Raheem Sterling? Alberto Moreno? Or new-boy Mario Balotelli?
Everton vs Chelsea player ratings: Who was best in the nine-goal thriller at Goodison?
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...
£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...