Free Google Stadia Premium Edition with some BT broadband packages
If you have a gamer in the house then the latest offer from BT may be worth weighing up assuming you can get the BT Superfast 2, Ultrafast 1 or Ultrafast 2 services.
Until 30th January new customers signing up to the VDSL2 or FTTP 80/20 package, or the faster FTTP and G.fast based packages will get a free Google Chromecast Ultra, Stadia Controller and 3 months free Stadia Pro subscription. The free bundle will be sent out once you redeem a code and must be claimed within 30 days of getting the code. After the 3 month subscription if you do not cancel the subscription the cost will be £8.99/m. Offer runs out 30th January 2020.
- BT Superfast 2 average download speeds 67 Mbps £39.99/m for 24 months, £9.99 setup fee. Standard price £47.99.
- BT Ultrafast 1 average download speeds 145 Mbps £39.99/m for 24 months, £9.99 setup fee. Standard price £47.99
- BT Ultrafast 2 average download speeds 300 Mbps £49.99/m for 24 months, £9.99 setup fee. Standard price £52.99
The link at the top of the article if you are looking for the ADSL or entry level superfast services is not the best link, a better set of prices for Fibre Essential and Superfast Fibre are avialable via this link.
For those not aware the Stadia service is a new cloud gaming service run by Google, i.e. rather than using a games console or gaming PC at home, a Chromecast is used to stream video of the game that is rendered in a data centre. This means that when playing the minimum data use to get a basic 720p resolution picture is 10 Mbps and for something approaching what a gamer should be happy with i.e. 4K resolution and 60 frames per second around 35 Mbps of constant download is needed. The button presses controlling your character are uploaded just like playing any online game today, but with the image rendering done in the cloud the requirement for zero jitter and low latency is even more important than today.
This free service forms part of a partnership with Google and further offers are expected once this offer ends on 30th January 2020.
The Chromecast Ultra on its which can be used for 4K video streaming usually retails for £69 on its own.
The Stadia Pro subscription gives you access to a range of games, but these are invariably not the latest titles and there in lies the problem for the service in that gamers will probaby still need to own a console/PC for those must play games that are not in the subscription.
For broadband providers, the shift from coping with lots of people streaming HD content that can be cached or served from hardware on the edge of their network to having to cope with a service that can easily eat through 35 Mbps of data is a big jump and needs to be carried from the closest Google data centre is going to be a steep learning curve if the service is popular. While 4K video streaming is available from Netflix and Amazon Prime it is a long way from being standard for all the content and speeds of 20 Mbps to 25 Mbps usually sufficient and when viewing a film while a bit of pixelation is annoying its gone quickly, for a gamer any pixelation may be the difference between a match won or lost.
We have been in this place before with the old OnLive service, which worked but latency was an issue, as was the level of compression. Once the Stadia service has launched we will be able to whether the claimed latency improvements and video rendering can cope with highly complex scenes e.g. landscapes with falling snow and present something that looks like a modern graphics card rather than a PS2.