Football: Missed a goal? Play it again

Alex Hayes test drives Sky's new interactive football vehicle

THIS AFTERNOON'S live televised Premiership match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Highbury will be a double first. It will be the most significant match of the new season so far and will also see the launch of Sky Sports Active.

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.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing