After the successful launch of Kayo Sports to browsers and Chromecast, the service is now available on iOS and Google Play.
It's fair to say Kayo Sports had a successful launch into the live sports streaming space. While only arriving in beta form on 7 November, the response from sports enthusiasts across Australia has been overwhelmingly positive. At least, that's the response we've seen and had across social media platforms and forums in response to our live hands-on review.
For those catching up on the news, Kayo Sports is an independent, yet sister service to the one offered by Foxtel. While not operating under the Foxtel or Fox Sports brands, it does have access to all the content licensed to Foxtel for broadcast through the Fox Sports, beIN Sports and ESPN channels.
|Stream Kayo Sports for 14 days FREE and no lock-in contract|
On 7 November, Kayo launched in beta form in order to gauge customer reactions and test the stability of its servers. Early adopters could get a robust, if not fully fledged, live sports streaming experience via their browsers or through Chromecast.
While we were aware that native apps were coming to Apple and Android mobiles and tablets at that time, this service was not available alongside Kayo's initial beta launch. Neither were the rumoured Smart TV and video game console apps, both of which remain unconfirmed.
However, as of today, the Kayo streaming app is available through iTunes and Apple's App Store, the Google Play marketplace and via Apple TV. Given that Kayo was designed primarily as a service enabling you to take your live sports viewing experience on the road, this app was expected to be a superior way to enjoy the experience. But, when the Kayo Sports app launched on 19 November in beta form, it wasn't all smooth sailing.
Is the Kayo Sports app any good?
As a live sports streaming app, Kayo bills itself as the "Netflix for sport" and allows fans to watch a range of sports, over 50 at this stage, from the one app. You can watch it in HD, on two separate screens simultaneously and for $25 a month.
This differs from the Foxtel services, which require the purchase of other entertainment channels alongside the sports channels, costing up to $60 per month. In addition, there are a number of sports viewing features native to Kayo that are rather excellent. This includes picture-in-picture support, split-screen (allowing for up to four channels to stream to the one screen), hide scores, choose your own camera and jump to highlight moment.
You can see a number of these features in action in the video at the top of this article.
At first glance, Kayo behaves much like the browser-based brethren we've already reviewed. The interface is nearly identical and it adapts smartly, exactly as you would expect when you flip a phone from landscape to portrait. For example, you can split a phone into two screens (not four like the larger TV and monitor versions). In landscape they are side-by-side, but in portrait, they are stacked.
Initially, my experiences with the early beta version of the app on iPhone were not nearly as seamless as the browser version. Despite being on an Internet connection coming in at 90mbps, it was taking some time for content to begin and even for the UI to load. Pictures were taking up to 30 seconds to display.
I was also getting frequent freezes, especially when using any of the key features like picture-in-picture or split-screen. In fact, it froze every time I tried these features. Occasionally rebounding after a pause, if I was patient enough to wait.
However, those early jitters appear to be gone. Over the subsequent week, and more extensive use - including on 3G and 4G networks - the experience was far improved. It loaded into the programming interface and live channels near instantly, and I stopped getting screen freezes.
I still have an issue with the UI, which I also had with the existing browser version of Kayo Sports. It's not clear how to hide menu options after they are brought up and used. For example, when you bring up split-screen, it shows the channels you can choose, but then once you have chosen what you want to watch, it is unclear how to get those channels to hide again.
This is a broader issue I have with Kayo Sports - I think opening and closing parts of the UI needs to be more organic and friendly - but it's intensified on the small screen.
While the iPhone version has taken a week to find its legs, the iPad version worked as seamlessly as the browser experience from the start. I had four screens working in a flash, all in HD and without a problem. This was on the same Internet connection on which I first tested the iPhone version, too.
Perhaps the iPhone version, which is tailored to a smaller screen, required a little more optimisation. Which is ok as this is a beta release. But whatever issue there was appears to be dead. Where initially I warned against getting Kayo specifically for its iPhone app, I'd now be happy to recommend it. Just in time for the Big Bash, too!
At the time of writing, we're still working on installing and testing Kayo Sports on Android and Kayo Sports on Apple TV. Once complete, our experience will be detailed here. What we can tell you is that on Google Play, you must search for "Kayo Sports," not just "Kayo," to find the app. If you still can't find it, then chances are your handset has not yet been certified by Kayo Sports.
Kayo Sports free trial
For those who want to jump in and experience the Kayo Sports live streaming app, there is a two-week trial option that can currently be utilised.
Kayo not cutting it? Compare sports streaming services below.
While it might be shiny and new, Kayo isn't the only option for streaming sport in Australia. Compare sports streaming services in the table below.
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