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Why Sky Q is meaningless to the Netflix generation

OPINION Sky Q is an impressive upgrade for Sky subscribers, but it’s meaningless for the cord-cutting Netflix generation, says Andy Vandervell.

Sky’s just unveiled the future of Sky. It’s called Sky Q and it’s a silky upgrade to the existing Sky experience. It has loads of tuners so you can stream to various devices throughout the home, and it’ll let you transfer recordings to a tablet or phone to watch them on the go. The boxes can even act as Wi-Fi extenders and they support 4K, of course.

But why should anyone, other than existing Sky customers, give a damn?

When I was growing up, Sky was a social passport. Anyone who didn’t have Sky at home wanted a ‘Sky friend’ so we could watch sport, The Simpsons and MTV. MTV!

Sky was better than the friend who had an N64 and Goldeneye (that was me) or a PS2 with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Sky QThe new boxes feature up to 12 tuners for streaming across the home

Does anyone feel that way anymore? Sky has adapted to the on-demand revolution – it recently posted 6% and 10% increases in revenue and operating profits. But I can’t remember the last time I wished I had Sky. I sometimes buy a Now TV Sports Pass to watch football, cricket or F1, but that’s it.

The only reason I ever consider paying for Sky is to watch its marquee shows, mainly those from HBO. I certainly have no desire to sign up to a monthly subscription, which costs a fortune to access the smattering of channels and shows I want to watch.

I’m a cord cutter. A have Netflix, I have Amazon Prime, and between them I spend about £14 a month for a decent collection of films and TV shows – not to mention an increasingly brilliant selection of ‘Originals’ – which keeps me more than entertained.

If HBO Now, HBO’s equivalent to Sky’s Now TV, ever launched in the UK I’d sign up to that too. I’m even less convinced to invest in Sky now it’s losing its ironclad grip on sports rights, such as the European Champions League, to BT.

Related: 9 reasons why you’ll want to upgrade Sky Q

Sky QSky Q Mini boxes will make multiroom streaming much easier

Sky Q looks slick and is probably the perfect upgrade for existing Sky customers, but it does nothing to convince an outsider like me.

It’s bound to be hugely expensive – Sky hasn’t announced pricing, no doubt because the price would be the story otherwise. But Sky’s history of gouging early adopters for things like HD and multiroom doesn’t inspire much faith.

Sky surely knows this – it’s why Now TV exists, after all. But it makes the current state of Now TV even more irritating. It has great content, but it does a dreadful job of promoting it. Brilliant films are buried beneath layers of menus, just waiting to be discovered.

Worse still, Now TV is limited to 720p. 720p! Why should anyone pay top dollar to access films encoded at less than Full HD? It’s ridiculous.

Sky Q has all the things an existing Sky customer wants, but Sky’s vision for the real future of TV is non-existent. I don’t need 12 tuners and a 2TB hard drive; I want simplicity and flexibility without the outmoded mandatory minimum contracts.

I want to hear more about that future. It’s long overdue.

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