It’s been a long time coming, but the wait is finally over – Aussie sports fans can now get on board with a streaming service that’s entirely dedicated to premium sports from Australia and around the globe. The new heavyweight player in the streaming world has a suitably triumphant name – Kayo.
There’s been painfully few options for Australian fans when it comes to streaming their favourite sports online – and like with most things sport, it’s been a case of having a Foxtel subscription or missing out. And while you certainly can’t go wrong with a full-fledged Foxtel satellite install with all the high-tech goodness of the iQ4 box, that’s not something everyone wants to do, or can even afford. Some simply can’t get Foxtel installed where they live, while others aren’t happy paying for the full service when all they want is the sports coverage.
Foxtel’s first foray into streaming, the recently-restructured Foxtel Now, can include a suite of Foxtel sports channels as an option – which is great, yet again, if you want a bunch of channels alongside the sport ones. And even then, the bare minimum price of sports with Foxtel Now is currently $54/month, still reasonably hefty compared to what streaming-savvy people are used to with the likes of Netflix and Stan TV. What we’ve needed for a long time is, as one Foxtel executive put it recently, the “Netflix of sport”. And that’s where a thorough review of Kayo Sports reveals it has stepped in to save the day.
Watch Our Kayo Sports Video Review
What Makes Kayo Different?
Kayo is, of course, owned and operated by Foxtel – something that’s downplayed in the branding, but is pretty obvious from the moment you see the sports that are on offer. And that’s a good thing for more than just the access to so many sports. Foxtel has been busy perfecting their streaming platform in the lead-up to Kayo’s launch – anyone who’s tried the new Foxtel Go live stream app will already know that it’s been fast and flawless.
But this isn’t a case of “pay a monthly fee and here, have 15 channels, best of luck to you!” Instead, Kayo Sports streaming offers exactly what fans have been waiting for – Sport, and the service has opted to eliminate the idea of “channels” as the main means of navigating the service’s content. And yes, that makes perfect sense – after all, you don’t browse Netflix by “channels”, do you? Kayo’s approach is far more organic and user-friendly (though if you really want to, you can stream any of the source channels live – you’ll just have to find them tucked away at the very bottom of the page!).
What Else does Kayo Offer?
When you first sign up to Kayo, you’re presented with a list of sports, both general (tennis, soccer etc) and specific (AFL, Big Bash League and so on). You’re asked to select the ones that interest you the most and, for the specific sports, pick a team or teams that you follow. What you choose here then feeds into what you see every time you load up the main page of the site. For example if you’re obsessed with tennis and golf, then you’ll find everything you need right there on the front page – live games, times for upcoming matches, and full replays of games that have been played. It’s incredibly easy to use and really encourages browsing and discovery.
Kayo’s not stopping at just streaming sports to you, though. A thorough Kayo review reveals they’ve built some very useful functions into the platform, including a split view feature that allows you to watch up to four streams at the same time on the one screen – this is going to be phenomenal for those days when you’d otherwise be flipping back and forth to check progress in the sports you’re following.
There’s also a “key moments” feature with certain sports that lets you jump straight to the good bits when watching a stream of a past event. If you’re watching a replay of one-day cricket, for example, you’ll see little timeline icons showing you where each wicket fell – just click on them to go straight to the moment where it happened.
And to make sure that you won’t have the game ruined if you’re coming in late and watching it hours after it’s happened, Kayo has a unique “No Spoilers” mode (turned on by default) that actively blocks any reporting of final scores on the site while you’re using it (note that to use the Key Moments feature you’ll need to turn off the No Spoilers feature, for reasons that should be obvious!).
They’ve clearly put a lot of thought into features that directly enhance the sport viewing experience, and they’ve very much gotten it right, from what we’ve seen so far.
What Does Kayo Deliver?
Stream over 50 sports, live & on demand. Photo: Kayo Sports
So which sports can you find on Kayo? Well, put it this way – if there’s any sport you follow that’s usually seen on Foxtel, it’s going to be on Kayo – and that’s a huge list, with the cream of Australian and global sport all in the one place. Very important at launch will be the summer cricket season, which Kayo will be covering in full detail – then leading into the AFL and NRL seasons early in 2019, which Kayo says will be streamed ad-free siren-to-siren, with everything available on demand for those times you want to go back and relive the action.
The streaming service promises to have all the content you’d typically find in the Foxtel sports package. This includes over 50 sports, encompassing Rugby Union (Wallabies), AFL, NRL, A-League, NBL, Cricket, Supercars, MotoGP, Formula One and more. Any sport broadcast on Fox Sports, ESPN of Australia and BeIN will be available to stream live on Kayo or watched on replay later in full 1080p high definition – more on that in a moment.
And the price? It’s pretty unbeatable. Kayo will set you back only $25/month for the basic plan (which allows streaming on two screens at one time) or $35/month for the premium plan (which lets you have three screens going at once). We did a comparison of Kayo Sports plans, and even on the basic package, there’s room for two people in the same household to watch different sports without getting in each other’s way!
Regardless of which plan you go for, the first 14 days are completely free – you can sign up right now and road-test the full service, and not pay a cent if you cancel before the end of your Kayo 14-day Free trial. With such an appealing price point, though, we’re betting the vast majority of subscribers will stay around for the long haul.
What About TV Shows
While live and on-demand sports streaming is the reason for Kayo’s existence, keen-eyed new subscribers will have noticed one of the categories you can pick when initially asked about your interests is TV Documentaries. And yes, Kayo has a range of sports docos to keep you entertained and informed – with the ones that directly relate to the sports you’ve highlighted appearing front and centre on the main screen. It’s fantastic to get the chance to dig deeper into the stories behind the people and the sports, and hopefully Kayo will continue to expand this section – it adds depth and variety to what is already a brilliant service.
Kayo User Experience
Kayo launched earlier than planned in response to public demand and widespread interest, meaning the service was officially still in “beta” when launched, and all the apps that Kayo had planned were not ready just yet. A few short weeks after launch, however, and the apps are now available for download in addition to the other ways you can watch.
On your desktop or laptop PC, you can browse and view Kayo in all the popular web browsers – Chrome and Firefox on both Windows and Mac, Safari on Mac and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. When looking for an available sport such as Cricket to watch online it’s easy to navigate the site, pick what you want and full-screen it, and especially easy to set up the split view feature as well. You can also use the web browser on your iOS or Android phone or tablet to stream Kayo, though that’s just a temporary measure.
If you have a Chromecast Ultra, right now you’re going to get the best Kayo experience available – because you can cast streams and replays in full 1080p HD to your big-screen TV, and the picture quality is phenomenally good. It seems strange that Kayo would specify the Ultra version of the Chromecast, but we suspect it’s to do with that model’s support for a newer video format the older devices can’t handle.
The Chromecast experience isn’t perfect; we found that once you stop playback by clicking the “disconnect” icon, you’re no longer able to cast anything at all until you reload the site from the front page. Welcome to the joys of beta! We’re sure they’ll get that fixed quickly.
Official Kayo Sports Trailer/Video
What About the Apps?
Recently launched are proper native streaming apps which are set to make Kayo an even better experience. For now, these apps are available for iOS and Android phones and tablets. But that’s not all! The Android app will soon support Android TV as well, so those of you with devices based on the Android TV platform (such as the NVidia Shield as well as most recent Sony televisions) will be able to sit back and enjoy Kayo from the couch.
The iOS app, meanwhile, comes with a native app for the 4th and 5th generation Apple TV boxes (those are the two currently sold by Apple – the old 3rd-generation Apple TV won’t be supported since it can’t run apps).
And Telstra TV owners aren’t being left out – there’s an app available for that popular box as well, with the ability to sign up for Kayo directly on the device and have it charged to your Telstra bill. Convenient!
We’ll be sure to update this review once all the apps arrive, with all the details on where to get them and what they can do.
Kayo is currently available on these devices, with more to come:
|Device||Does it work?|
|PC/Mac||Yes, web browser only|
|iOS/Android Phones/Tablets||Yes, web browser or via the app|
|Google Chromecast||Yes, Chromecast Ultra recommended|
|Telstra TV||Yes, via the app|
Summary: It’s a Knockout!
While we’ve seen attempts at sport streaming services before, they’ve always been very limited – like the narrow focus and availability of Optus Sport, or the deliberately low picture quality of the official AFL Live Pass and NRL digital streaming platforms. Kayo rewrites the rulebook when it comes to sports streaming and make no mistake, this is the game-changer.
With an incredibly low monthly price point, Kayo sits right in the “very affordable” range, substantially cheaper than Foxtel while providing access to literally all the live sports that Foxtel offers, (ESPN, beIN, Fox Sports) and in full high definition. Picture quality is superb, streaming is rock-solid and the added features work really well with the content while never distracting from it. The upcoming apps will provide the missing link in terms of convenience, but it’s already a great experience, and with the 14 day Kayo Sports free trial you can test the service and cancel at anytime.
It’s simple: Kayo is a must-have for any sports fan.