With the transition period coming to a close at 11pm December 31, 2020, the UK has now entered a new relationship with its European neighbours. Some four years after the UK voted to leave the European Union, the change has now kicked-in. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has heralded the new relationship as “an amazing moment” for Britain.
While the departure from the European Union does allow some benefits – the UK has ditched the 5 percent rate of VAT placed on sanitary products (commonly referred to as the “tampon tax”), something that wasn’t possible under the current EU VAT rules – the reality is that there will also be some negatives to the move. UK residents will no longer be able to stay in a European country for longer than 90 days without a permit or a visa – something that could make studying, retiring, touring, or working in the European Union much tougher. And Sky TV subscribers have also learned of another consequence of the post-Brexit trade deal.
In an updated FAQ page published by the satellite broadcaster, Sky has warned all customers that from January 1, 2021, they will no longer be able to stream content from Sky outside of the UK using Sky Go, Sky Kids, Sky Sports, Sky Sports Mobile TV, or Sky Sports Box Office apps. That means those on holiday will no longer be able to catch-up on the latest episode of Love Island, stream a football fixture, or keep the kids entertained with a Paw Patrol boxset at the airport before the flight home.
Sky Go, which is designed to allow customers to tune-in to live channels included in their Sky TV package, download recordings from their Sky Q set-top box, and schedule recordings, is used by millions of people in the UK. The Android app alone has racked-up an impressive 5,000,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. Apple does not release the statistics for its App Store, but it’s safe to assume that it has as many downloads as the Android version.
Those who are living abroad and used Sky Go to stream their Sky TV package to a PlayStation, Xbox, iPad, iPhone or laptop will no longer be able to access their telly bundle from abroad. Until now, this was a legitimate way to catch-up with the most-talked-about British and US shows from abroad. Of course, it will still be possible to buy individual episodes of the likes of The Undoing or Little Big Lies on digital stores like Apple TV or Amazon Prime Video, but not all shows are available in this pay-per-episode format, like daytime quiz shows, like Pointless, or reality telly, like I’m A Celebrity, for example.
And even episodes that are available to purchase can appear on stores much later than their UK broadcast date. For example, while the latest series of The Great British Bake Off is available to watch at £2.49 an episode on Amazon Prime Video, the Christmas special that aired last week in the UK still hasn’t made an appearance on the digital storefront.
For those in the middle of bingeing a boxset, Sky will continue to allow customers to download episodes to their smartphone or tablet using Sky Go to watch when abroad.
But you’ll need to make sure you have enough free storage to squeeze the rest of the season on your gadget – as once you have left the country, you won’t be able to download any more episodes until you’re back home.
In the FAQ, Sky explains: “Certain rules mean people within the EU can stream content across all EU countries. From 1 January 2021, the UK will no longer be part of the EU, so we won’t be able to provide this service in the same way. This change affects lots of online video, music and entertainment services, not just Sky.”
Sky adds that the change in rules will not impact the amount of content available in customers’ libraries when watching at home using a Sky Q box. European shows and movies will still be available to watch – something that’ll be music to the ears of Scandi Noir fans everywhere.