Installs for Sky Q wireless router/set top box will be available to everyone from April 12th 2016, even if they don't have Sky broadband. Our quick guide to the pros and cons will help you decide if it's for you.
Updated: Sky has released its new Sky Q set top box and are promoting it heavily. New features like so called ‘fluid viewing‘ – which is the ability to watch Sky across several devices; Ultra HD – pictures about 4 times the resolution of HD; and improved WiFi for all your connected devices.
Until now, the Sky Q fun has been limited to UK customers already signed up to a Sky broadband package, with installs for non Sky broadband customers now confirmed to be starting on April 12th. This means that even if you’ve got an existing internet bundle with BT or TalkTalk, for instance, you can still order Sky Q and get an installation.
You’ll still have to get the Sky Q Hub to turn your other Sky Q boxes into WiFi repeaters, but it’s a negligible extra when you consider the re-vamp Sky Q brings to your viewing experience. There’s a brand new touch-sensitive remote to replace the clunky buttons of your current dibber, built-in Bluetooth for music streaming, and even WiFi-boosting abilities to cancel out dead spots around your home.
None of this comes cheap – you can sign up for Sky Q now, with packages starting at £42 per month at the moment but bumping up to £44 per month from June. So do you need it? Here’s our brief summary of the situation:
1. Sky Q’s released now in the UK
Brits have been taunted by an impending release date since Sky Q was officially announced in late 2015, but the day is finally here. For £42 per month (plus a £99 set-up charge), you can now ramp up TV time to dizzying new heights, including the ability to record three shows at once and watch another at the same time. It’s all via the Sky Q hub, which is free. If you’ve joined the 4K revolution, you can opt for the 4K-ready Sky Q Silver hub at the tad pricier £54 per month, which also extends your recording capabilities to 4 shows at once. The luxury…
2. “Fluid viewing” makes your TV show portable
Sky Q is all about ‘fluid viewing’, which put simply is what they are terming the ability to pause your show in one room, walk into another, and carry on watching where you left off on a different TV. You’ll need to invest in Sky Q Mini hubs and plug them into your other TVs in order for this to work. These will also enable the whole family watch different shows on TVs in separate rooms simultaneously, which should prevent a few arguments. For an entirely different kind of portable viewing, there’s a Sky Q app that can beam live TV and recorded shows to your phone or tablet.
3. Sky Q doubles as a music player
The Sky Q hub has Bluetooth, meaning you can now play tunes directly through your TV from your phone or tablet. It’s compatible with popular music apps like Apple Airplay, but lucky Sky Q Silver owners get the added bonus of Spotify directly from the box, which you’ll be able to access quickly via Sky Q’s sleek new interface, rather than having to fiddle around with your phone or speakers.
4. There’s a new touch remote
Sky has replaced its arrow buttons with a brand new touch-sensitive pad, which should make for much more intuitive navigating although some have complained about a cheap feeling construction. From now on, you’ll be able to scroll up and down your menus with a swift swipe, and access a whole host of features with small gesture commands. Sky is also promising to add a voice search function to the remote later this year, which will let you control your TV by simply talking to it. Beats jabbing at buttons to spell out every single letter of your TV show.
5. Sky Q can boost your WiFi signal
Households with foggy WiFi reception are in luck, because Sky Q can send broadband signal over electrical wiring to give you a home network boost. What’s more, Sky Q Mini hubs can even act as broadband hotspots, so your hopes of a multi-room setup won’t be dashed by any existing WiFi black holes in your house – providing the feature works.