These are the Sky Q’s 10 most exciting features
When Sky Q was unveiled at the end of 2015, we couldn’t help but get a little excited. The combination of reworked software and hardware oozed potential. But with the tech and software being in its very early stages, we sadly didn’t get a chance to get any hands on with Sky Q.
Which is why we were super excited when Sky lifted the curtain around Sky Q and gave us some hands-on time with the service. Having had a play, while it’s too early to offer a definitive verdict on Sky Q, you can colour us impressed. During our brief play we found more cool and interesting new features than you can shake a stick at. Here are the 10 best.
Buy or upgrade now: Sky Q at Sky.com
Check out our hands on video of Sky Q
1) There’s a shiny new 4K Sky Q Silver box
To go along with Sky’s new premium Q service, the broadcaster has got a fancy set-top box called Sky Q Silver (there’s a non 4K version simply called Sky Q aviable too, but this only has 1TB and can only record 3 things at once). On first glance, it looks a whole lot sexier than than the Sky + HD box it’s replacing, but this is about more than just looks. The biggest update is the addition of 4K support, and Sky says they’ll be launching a range of 4K/UHD channels sometime in 2016.
2) … and it has 2TB of internal storage for all your recording
The Sky Q service is still fully-focussed on delivering television to your box – this isn’t some completely internet streaming sort of thing – and to make sure you have enough space for all those shows, Sky has kitted the Silver box out with 2TB of internal storage. That should be enough for around 350 hours of HD footage, but 4K recording will take up a lot more space.
3) You can record 4 shows, while watching another
Perfect for fussy families, the Sky Q Silver box has a bevy of TV tuners tucked inside. This allows you to record four shows at once, and still watch EastEnders live. The load of on-demand features do kill the need for this somewhat, but it’s still nice.
Buy or upgrade now: Sky Q at Sky.com
4) It’s all about the multi-room
Multiroom has always been a big part of Sky’s package, letting you grab multiple boxes and kit out your entire house. Well, if you had plenty of cash that is.
With Sky Q, the brand is introducing a new way to beam channels and content to other televisions. It’s called Sky Q Mini, a smaller plug-and-play box that’ll, we assume, be sold separately. Once attached to a TV, this box will pull in your recordings and stream them from your main box.
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It’s a nifty idea, and will be great for the bedroom.
5) Super-charged WiFi
The Mini hubs also have a secondary use, that could prove a key selling point for any homeowner suffering from poor WiFi signal.
The Sky Q Hub can send broadband signal over electrical wiring to create a complete home network and can turn Mini hubs into broadband hotspots – meaning unless you live in a mansion broadband signal shouldn’t an issue, if the feature works.
6) The Sky Q app could be a killer feature
We think the Sky Q app could turn out to be one of the main reasons for people to upgrade. It’s looks pretty impressive. For the first time, you’ll be able to stream your recordings from your box to a compatible tablet, picking up the moment you left off on the TV. The app will also let you watch live TV, and catch up on on-demand shows and movie rentals.
Related: Best 4K TVs to buy
7) Apps are coming to your TV
This shouldn’t come as a surprise – especially after almost every other smart television platform currently has them – that downloadable apps are coming to Sky Q. During the announcement, Sky showed off YouTube running on the box, plus Spotify, Vevo and Facebook.
It doesn’t look like streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and so on will be coming along for the ride, though.
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8) The box has Bluetooth and is compatible with Apple’s AirPlay
We’ve mentioned the Sky Q Silver box has a Spotify app, but that’s not the only way it can be used for music. There’s Bluetooth built-in to the box for streaming tunes from your phone or tablet, plus its compatible with Apple’s AirPlay, great for iOS users.
9) Sky finally has a new remote!
It seems like Sky’s iconic HD remote has been around for decades, so it’s nice to see that a completely redesigned version will ship with the Silver box. In a similar move to Apple, the Q remote has a touch pad for navigation and a new sidebar button instantly brings up a selection of your downloaded apps.
The big, red record button is of course sticking around but it can do a bit more. One click sets a series-link, records just one episode with two and cancels it completely with three.
We go hands-on with the new Sky Q remote
There’s a mic on-board for voice search – but this won’t be coming at launch – and it connects via Bluetooth, so no more pointing it directly at the box.
Finally, and this is pretty cool, you can press a button on the box to send a beeping signal to the remote. Perfect if you’ve lost it down the back of the sofa.
Related: What is 4K and why should you care?
10) There’s a completely new UI that looks slick
Sky’s spruced up the main user-interface a couple of times over the past few years, but none was quite as dramatic as this. It’s almost as if Sky has turned the current interface on it’s head, so you’ve got sections that spread out from right to left, rather than from top to bottom. Recordings are now easier to find, and the updated home-screen throws up suggested programmes and quick access to the Sky Store.
A ‘My Q’ section brings together shows you got part way through but didn’t quite finish and adds in some recommended stuff to binge on afterwards.
So those are the basic headlines, but Sky Q will be launching sometime in 2016 and will sit alongside Sky HD and Now TV. Until then, it’s hard to say how well all these features will fit together.
Thinking about upgrading? Let us know your thoughts on Sky Q in the comments below.