Kayo Sports Review – Live sports streaming

Chris Stead 29 November 2018 NEWS

Is the Kayo live sports streaming service any good? And how does the experience compare with existing services?

Update: Kayo Sports successfully moved out of beta on November 26 across Apple TV, App Store, Browser, ChromeCast and Google Play. It is now in full release.

Update: Kayo Sports has now officially launched on Telstra TV.

Australians love sport. Australians love live sport. So, any new service in this space is likely to receive a lot of attention. Kayo is a brand new live sports streaming service that is set to be a major disruptor to the viewing habits of sports fans around the country. We've been hands-on with Kayo and reviewed the features available in the beta.

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From a bird's eye view, the offering is compelling. The most amount of sports for the least amount of cost. At the time of writing, Kayo remains in beta form, but is perfectly functional on nearly all devices. (See our app review for more.) A native app for Apple and Android mobiles and tablets, as well as Apple TV, released on November 19, following the initial launch of a browser and ChromeCast version on November 7.

Telstra TV support then arrived on November 27, and there are more anticipated platforms coming in the future. While unconfirmed, we believe this could include Smart TVs and video game consoles.

As such, this review will need to be updated as Kayo moves out of beta and into a full launch. But as you can subscribe now, it warrants a review now. Note: The video above includes a live stream of Kayo in action via a browser.

Kayo Sports Review 1

Over 50 Sports on Kayo

While Kayo may not bear the Fox Sports name, as a sister product, it retains all the same streaming rights. Therefore, if you can watch it on Foxtel, you can likely watch it on Kayo. That goes for all seven Fox Sports channels, Fox Sports news, three beIN Sports channels and two ESPN channels.

Missing from Kayo but available on Fox Sports are three premier league club channels (Liverpool TV, Chelsea TV and Manchester United TV), three Sky Racing channels and Eurosport.

In total there are still over 50 sports, including the big-ticket items such as the live broadcasts of NRL, AFL, Cricket, V8 Supercars, Super Rugby, World Surf League and the F1.
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It's not just live sports, with on-demand sport available of previous games (including legacy games). The original programming from FoxSports (such as NRL 360, Fight Night and The Back Page) are also available on Kayo too. While there is no confirmation yet on whether Kayo will produce any of its own unique content in the future, we did notice some Kayo specific highlights packages during our time on the service.

Kayo Sports Review 2

List of Kayo Sports Features

One of the best attributes of Kayo Sports is the way the user interface and features directly tie into the needs of sports fans. Here are a list of features currently available:

  1. Picture-in-picture - The screen continues to run as the top window on your device, only small and out of the way. You can move it wherever you want, too.
  2. Split-screen - On small devices you can stream two programs or live sports at once, and on big devices four streams. There are a number of templates to choose from when splitting your content up.
  3. Heads Up - You can make sure that you are notified about a live sports event relevant to your interests, or even if something dramatic happens during a live event.
  4. Hide Scores - This enables you to prevent a sporting event that has already been completed from being spoiled, so you can watch the replay on demand.
  5. Highlight Moments - This places markers on the timeline of a sporting event where something notable has happened. You can jump straight to these moments to create your own highlights package. Highlights can be turned off so they don't spoil a live sport you've started streaming mid-way through.
  6. Match Centre - A hub of content generated around one sporting event. This could include pre-game interviews with players, post-game analysis, highlights of previous matches, and more.

MUST READ: The 12 features coming to Kayo Sports in 2019.

Kayo's price is right

Perhaps the most significant positive for Kayo is its price point. At $25 per month for two simultaneous streams (as in two screens, not picture-in-picture), or $35 for three simultaneous streams, it's great value. In a world where people are used to getting Netflix for as low as $9.99 per month and most major sports have their own dedicated live streaming apps, Kayo needed to adapt from the old-school Foxtel packages.

And it has.

Given that to access the exact same content through Foxtel IQ/Foxtel GO or Foxtel Now will set you back $60 a month, the value feels real here. Granted you don't get access to 4K content (as you do with Foxtel IQ4), you can't record anything, and you don't get access to any of the non-sport content (as you do with Foxtel's Entertainment pack) but is that essential?

For the average Australian sports fans, Kayo's price is just about right. Perhaps too high for those interested in a single sport, but for multi-sport aficionados, it's better than getting multiple standalone dedicated apps from each sporting organisation (like NBA League Pass or NFL Game Pass).

Kayo Sports Review 3

Here you can see picture-in-picture in action.

The pros and cons of Kayo

The Kayo user interface is perfectly functional. It's comparable to what we've come to expect from the likes of Netflix, although it goes one step further. It highlights important live sports that are on right now in bigger boxes and allows you to join the action live or watch from the start. The promised "jump to key moments" feature is functioning although I noticed a delay of a fair few minutes before a highlight (such as a wicket in cricket) registers on the feed.

I liked seeing the related shows under the live event too. It includes press conference footage, previous game highlights and other added bonuses for fans to dive into.

I also spotted a "Kayo Mini" video. This is a feature Optus Sport introduced ahead of this year's Premier League season, whereby you could watch on-demand not just a full game or a brief highlights package, but something in the middle that just trims out all the fat and cuts to the good stuff.

It's handy when you've missed a game you're not overly dedicated to, but want to have seen enough of it to get a read on the performances of individuals or the team.

Also Read: How much data does Kayo use?

There's definitely some teething problems. At first, it looked extremely sharp and jumping between any section of the live match (an ODI between Australia and South Africa) worked a dream. But then the quality dropped to SD and it the stream froze. I refreshed the page and we were back up and running without having to log in again.

This happened again 10 minutes later. I was streaming on a 100/40 mbps NBN connection and experienced no other connection issues at the time so the drop was definitely on Kayo's side. It also didn't recover on its own. But these small hiccups are to be expected in a beta and comparatively, this is one smooth-sailing beta. Later we streamed for an hour without issue.

Also missing and very much needed is live stats or stats in general. Hopefully that's a feature coming in the future. We really wanted to be fed more info as we watched the game and had to head outside the website to find it.

Elsewhere the picture-in-picture feature is amazing. With the click of a button, you can suddenly have your desktop active and functional, while the sport streams over the top unaffected by your work. It's sure to be the bane of bosses everywhere and is a feature that will certainly be used a lot by this writer.

Also amazing is the split screen. We had no problems splitting the screen up four ways and streaming four live feeds at once. The UI here could be better. It's great how you can drag and drop screens into different areas and the way the active screen plays sound. However, getting feeds in and out of the four windows to start with isn't intuitive. And once you have one feed going, the menu allowing you to select other feeds is limiting in its choice.

The future of Kayo

The future for Kayo looks bright. More features are promised, including to ability to choose your own camera angle. We're more recently received the mobile and tablet versions, as well as Apple TV, and you can read about our experiences with those in our Kayo Sports App Review. But when will more smart TVs and game consoles get on board?

We're also intrigued to see what happens with Telstra's mobile and home broadband plans. With Kayo consuming so much data, plans that offer unmetered use of the Kayo service will be in high demand. Will we see bundles emerge that cater to this need? How much will these Kayo + Telstra broadband plans cost?

It's fair to say our expectations weren't very high flicking on Kayo for the first time. While the concept of a "Netflix for Sports" is great, the struggles of Foxtel Now and, more recently, Optus Sports, ensure Australians approach the word "streaming" with a trepidation born of bad experiences.

Yet Kayo is undoubtedly impressive. A number of Finder staff gathered around the laptop to gawk at the features and the HD live sport. Given the beta is only one day old at the time of writing, we can only expect improvements. Some refinements on the back end to deal with the odd crash, a fleshing out of the features and native apps on a range of devices will be welcomed,but there is nothing stopping you from jumping in right now and testing the service yourself (there's a 14-day free trial available now).

If you thought you could never have too many sports, Kayo is set to test that theory.

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20 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PaulDecember 26, 2018

    I have it at the moment but struggle to watch for long before it starts to buffer or stop completely. Will this improve once it moves out of Beta?

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisDecember 29, 2018Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Kayo Sports has already moved out of Beta, but the service will be continually patched and updated. We have not noticed any buffering issues since early November, but it’s impossible for us to test every device it’s available on. I suspect, however, that it may have more to do with your internet connection. Especially if you suffer congestion during the “Netflix hours” of 6 to 10pm.

      Cheers

      Chris

  2. Default Gravatar
    LanceDecember 17, 2018

    I have installed in my caravan a Satellite Dish and Vast decoder, can I run Kayo sport to the TV in my caravan when we travel all around Australia?

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisDecember 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Lance,

      This is doable, but tricky. You would need to be able to ChromeCast to your TV while streaming sport using the internet via the app on your laptop, phone or tablet.

      Alternatively, if your TV is connected to the internet and you have a browser app on the TV, you might be able to view it straight through that.

      I hope one of these solutions works for you.

      Cheers

      Chris

  3. Default Gravatar
    MAXNovember 30, 2018

    Will Kayo on demand be in HD ?

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 30, 2018Staff

      Hi Max,

      Yes, Kayo already offers On Demand, HD content.

      It does not allow you to record content, however.

      Cheers

      Chris

  4. Default Gravatar
    PaulNovember 27, 2018

    Has there been any confirmation of a Kayo Smart TV app (that would allow it to be viewed directly on the TV without using Chromecast or similar)? My TV is not Telstra or Android.

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Paul,

      No official announcement, although I have heard rumours (that I have good reason to believe) about Samsung and LG at the very least being in talks for a native app.

      Cheers

      Chris

  5. Default Gravatar
    wolobofeNovember 27, 2018

    Are all the US PGA Tour weekly tournaments, and all AFL matches, available?
    Is it possible to download & save any streams?

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Wolobofe,

      You will find a full list of all the sports on Kayo, and what is live and when, here – https://www.finder.com.au/sports-on-kayo

      You cannot download or save any streams, however.

      Cheers

      Chris

  6. Default Gravatar
    SamNovember 26, 2018

    So can I stream from my iPhone or Samsung galaxy straight to my tv so I’m watching on the large screen? I know the NRL app and Foxtel go app don’t allow that.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynNovember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you’re referring to screen mirroring, to connect iPhone or iPad to TV, it should be via AirPlay. Apple’s proprietary AirPlay system lets you mirror your display wirelessly onto a TV.

      To connect a PC/Android phone/Android tablet to a TV, you can do it via Chromecast. Google’s Chromecast plugs into the back of your TV and mirrors web pages from the Chrome web browser, using your home wireless network to connect to a laptop or mobile device running the browser.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    roachNovember 26, 2018

    Any ETA on when Telstra TV app will be released. Have 2 in the house and don’t really want to have to change.

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Roach,

      I believe Telstra TV is launching tomorrow – so November 27!

      Cheers

      Chris

  8. Default Gravatar
    November 26, 2018

    No Eurosport. Fail.

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Yeah, strange how it wasn’t included in the mix. That could change though into the future.

  9. Default Gravatar
    SilvertailsNovember 12, 2018

    Looks good, thanks for the review.

    Two things holding me back. One is the price tag of $25 which I feel is a bit rich, given that it is only a beta version. So when the full version is released what will it increase to ?
    Also, given that it is from Foxsports it will only have select games from NHL and MLB. So I’m better off still to purchase NRL, MLB and NHL straight from the app so I can have all games…. rather than paying for Kayp and receiving some games.
    If they can fix this then it looks an absolute belter of a service… obviously going to be tough to get all games though.

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Silvertails,

      I hear you on the American sports. I can confirm though that the price of Kayo isn’t going to up. I heard it from the horse’s mouth.

      Cheers

      Chris

  10. Default Gravatar
    ArchangelNovember 10, 2018

    Thanks for all that

    I share a flat and have a different IP address to my friend,
    Will the @ simultaneous screens work on two separate IP Address’?
    Thanks in advance

    • finder Customer Care
      ChrisNovember 10, 2018Staff

      No problems.

      The IP address shouldn’t impact your ability to login in to your account and stream Kayo.

      You have bought the right to stream Kayo simultaneously from two devices, so where those devices are and what network they are on doesn’t matter.

      Cheers

      Chris

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