Sky Q tips, tricks and secret features: Unlock the full potential of your shiny new box
In this day and age, where video streaming and on-demand is the norm, many whippersnappers view traditional broadcast services such as Sky as a little archaic.
Sky Q is changing all that, with offline viewing via an app, multiroom streaming, tons of on-demand content and a wealth of other clever features.
In fact, Sky Q is so different from past Sky versions that even established users may justifiably struggle to keep on top of all the new features. So we’ve put together this helpful guide to help you get the best out of your new Q box…
Buy or upgrade now: Sky Q from Sky.com
WATCH: Hands-on with Sky Q
The Sky Q Touch remote is a pretty nifty bit of tech that lets you navigate Sky Q’s menus using a touchpad on the control’s front.
Swiping left, right, up or down, it acts just like a standard D-pad for navigating through Sky Q’s menus. But it also has a quick-scroll feature for speeding through lists a little faster.
To scroll quicker, simply hold your finger toward the outer edge of the touchpad at the end of the swipe.
Related: Sky Q vs Virgin Media
Content on the move
Customers’ inability to download Sky content locally to a mobile device has been a constant headache. If you live in an area with poor signal or don’t have a 4G tablet, the lack of download options has left many a Sky customer in the lurch when it comes to mobile viewing.
Sky Q fixes this using a shiny new iOS app. As well as letting you stream content from the main box, the app also includes a nifty new feature that will let you take live recordings and save them to your tablet.
All you have to do is install the Sky Q app on your iPad, log in to your account, tap on the On My iPad submenu and pick the shows you want to download.
Related: Sky Q explained
However, be warned: you can only watch content on a maximum of two tablets at any one time with the Sky Q Silver package.
Find lost remotes
We’ve all known the pain of losing a remote. That tightening of the gut, followed by cushions flying across the lounge and bits of old sandwich being retrieved from under sofas until someone points out that you inexplicably took the remote into the kitchen when you popped out for a Pot Noodle.
Thankfully, those days are set to end with Sky Q.
A useful recovery feature helps you track down the wayward remote whenever it goes missing. It’s activated using a button on the main Sky Q box – when clicked, the remote will start beeping, thus revealing its hidden location.
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Pause and play
Real life has a habit of getting in the way of TV binging. Too many times you’ll have to stop watching and give up your sofa space when kids or flatmates get home.
Sky Q makes it quicker and easier for you to resume your TV watching without interruption, thanks to an enhanced pause and play feature. Click on the remote’s pause button while watching either on-demand content or recordings and Sky Q will remember the exact point at which you stopped. You can even do it with live TV if you start recording it before you pause it.
From there you’ll be able to resume the show from any other Sky Q box in the house or from a connected iPad.
Fix hung downloads
Occasionally, you might find on-demand content is taking an age to become available to watch, leaving you twiddling your thumbs. You can usually sort this out easily enough by going into Recordings, then into the Downloading submenu, from which you can cancel the download. Just go back out and start it again and more than likely it will work better the second time around.
Maximise disk space and speed up downloads
By default, Sky Q sets all downloads to HD resolution, which is just want you want these days, right? But if you like to really cram your hard disk with as many shows as possible, or you want them to download quicker, you can limit downloads to SD quality. Head into Settings, then Preferences, and then set “HD demand default download format” to SD.
Related: Sky Q vs Sky HD
Control your soundbar’s volume with your Q remote
Go to Settings, then Setup, then Remote Control. Select which type of controller you’re setting up and choose “Control a Speaker System”. Then just follow the instructions to find your model of soundbar, soundbase or surround sound system.
Find the next show in a series
If you watch any episode in an on-demand series and want to move on to the next, there’s no need to do a search or hunt around the menus. Just go to My Q in the main menu and you’ll find Sky Q has automatically added the next episode in there. Smart.
How to undelete content
So you’ve deleted something but now you’re suffering deleter’s remorse. No problem, head into Recordings and then down to Deleted. Here you’ll find the show you’ve scrubbed and click on Undelete.
Go back to the previous channel
Confusingly, Sky has switched the button for heading back to the last channel you were watching. With Sky HD it was the left arrow button, but now you need to press the right one (or swipe right on the Q Touch Remote). Details for the previous channel you were watching appear at the bottom of the screen, and you just have to click OK to switch back to it.
Search for movies by actor
Clever, this, but a little limited. Select Sky Movies from the main menu and scroll right down to Actors. You’ll find a list of A-listers, with the preview pane on the right displaying available movies in which they star. But if you’re looking for an actor that your gran wouldn’t recognise, you’ll still be heading to IMDb.
Turn your TV into a Bluetooth speaker
That’s right, Sky Q boxes have Bluetooth built in. Head to the Music menu option, swipe/click right and select Your Music. You’ll see options to play music from your mobile devices either by Bluetooth or AirPlay.
It’s not quite as simple as that, though… You actually need to go into the Settings menu, choose Setup, and then Music – from there you have the option to add a Bluetooth device. Once your device is paired, you can stream music to Sky Q just like you would with any other Bluetooth speaker, by heading into a music app on your device and hitting Play.
Connecting Apple devices over AirPlay is even simpler. As long as the device is on the same Wi-Fi network as the Sky Q box, just press the AirPlay icon within your iOS media app and choose your Sky box from the list.
View your Facebook photos on TV
Want to browse your social-media memories on the big screen? Click the Apps button – the one with the three dots – on your Sky remote and select the My Photos app. Scroll down to the From Facebook option and make a note of the code it gives you. Now head to sky.com/myphotos and use the code to link your Facebook account to the Sky box.
Once that’s done, you can open the My Photos app again and you’ll see your Facebook account at the top of the menu. Click on it and bask in the glory of seeing your embarrassing leaving-do snaps blown up way bigger than they ever should be.
I don’t want to series record!
The default recording setting on Sky Q is to record the whole series. That’s what it will do if you press the Record button on a show. Just want to record that single episode? Simply press Record again and Record Series turns to Record Once. Done.
How do I Voice Search?
For now, you can’t. Sky is looking to introduce that function later this year, but until then you’ll just have to hold in the Voice Search button on your remote and pretend it’s a walkie-talkie.
Buy or upgrade now: Sky Q from Sky.com
What are you thoughts on Sky Q? Let us know in the comments.