Sky Q Touch remote: 6 things you need to know
Sky Q is set to be one of the most interesting home entertainment packages to launch this year. The system aims to streamline the way customers consume content and features a completely reworked user interface, enhanced intelligent search feature, updated iOS app as well as an array of brand spanking new hardware.
Within this sea of new features, you may be forgiven for overlooking Sky Q’s new remote, viewing it as a minor, less important addition to the package. But to do so would be a little sad, as while it sounds small, the Sky Q remote is a huge upgrade that’s packed full of nifty new features. These are the six best we’ve found.
Watch our Sky Q Touch hands-on below
The old Sky remote was a functional, but chunky beast. Compared to newer streaming boxes, the control’s use of physical arrow keys, as opposed to a touch pad or gesture commands, was a little old school.
The Sky Q remote fixes all these issues via the addition of a central touchpad. The touchpad’s similar to the Apple TV’s remote. It lets you navigate Sky Q’s reworked user interface using touch inputs. The interface is about as intuitive as you can get and makes moving through the menu screens a hassle free experience.
The Sky Q remote also has a dedicated search button. This again sounds small, but is an important feature that’ll grant access to Sky Q’s intelligent search functionality. Unlike most TV service’s search functions, Sky Q’s is contextually aware and has a self-learning element. The service will pull out related topics, as well as verbatim matches to users’ queries – making it quicker and easier to find new things to watch.
Related: Sky Q vs Sky HD
Voice control incoming
If you look at the bottom right hand side of the Sky Q remote, you’ll see a subtly hidden black button. The button’s currently inactive, but will be used to activate voice commands when the feature launches at an unspecified point later this year.
Sky hasn’t revealed a full list of the exact actions you can make using voice commands. But the tech could be a key selling point if it works – after all, how cool would it be if you could ditch cumbersome letter by letter text input and just tell the TV what you’re looking for when searching for content?
Buy or upgrade now: Sky Q at Sky.com
Record four things at once
The Sky Q remote also makes it easier to take advantage of the main box’s improved recording powers.
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For those that missed it the Sky Q Silver Silver box features 12 tuners that let it record twice as many shows at once than its predecessor. This means you can record up to four items on the main box. The remote makes it easy to enjoy the feature, coming loaded with a dedicated, bright red record button at its centre.
Pause and play
The control’s pause and play controls are more important than ever on Sky Q. Pausing live TV and streamed content isn’t anything new, but Sky Q takes it to the next level. With Sky Q when you pause content, be it live TV or a stream, you can resume watching it from the exact same point on any part of the entertainment system.
For example, start watching the game on Sunday on the main box only to have your living room space usurped by cartoon hungry kids, not a problem. With a click of the Sky remote’s pause button, you can move to any room with a Sky Q Mini box, or pick up an iPad with the Sky app installed and keep watching from the exact same point.
Sky Q’s apps are a cool feature designed to make it quicker and easier for you to access key content, or find things out without disrupting your viewing experience.
Apps on offer include Sky News, Sky Sports News, Facebook/Instagram images, weather, help, YouTube and Vimeo. The majority of the apps can be accessed using a button on the new Sky Q remote and let you do things like check sports scores while the TV is running.
The Sky News and Sports apps are particularly cool. The apps bring up the latest headlines and sports scores in a side panel that appears over the right hand side of the screen. The apps are customisable, so you can tailor the information they’ll bring up to focus on specific topics, or your favorite sports team.
Buy or upgrade now: Sky Q at Sky.com