Sky Stream vs Sky Glass: Which should you get?
The Stream puck and Glass TV represent a new outlook for British broadcaster Sky. While it still supports transmission of content over satellite, its latest hardware has seen it embrace streaming as the main way to deliver your favourite films and programming.
Much like the Sky Q set-top box, the Stream and Glass take a similar path towards the same goal, but they’re aimed at audiences with different needs.
So if you want Sky content but aren’t sure which direction to go in terms of how to get it, this will help give you a nudge.
Sky Stream costs £26/month, or there’s the option of a 31-day rolling contract that costs £29/month and can be cancelled at any time. There’s a set-up fee incurred too: £20 for the monthly contract and £39.95 for the rolling contract.
Prices for Sky Glass start from £38/month on an 18-month contract with £10 upfront. That can change depending on the size of the TV you end up getting. The small size makes up £14/month of that cost, while the medium and large are £19 and £24/month respectively.
That makes Sky Glass the more expensive of the two, but you are getting what is essentially an all-in-one TV.
Sky Stream runs straight off the internet so all that’s needed is to power it up and connect through the Ethernet or Wi-Fi. If the internet goes down then there is an terrestrial tuner for getting Freeview.
Sky Glass is installed by a delivery team, who will unpack the TV, attach the stand (or not) and position it where you want in your home. They’ll also take all the packaging it came in with them so you won’t have to deal with it.
The Stream puck is a small, discreet device and best suited for those who don’t want a bigger box next to their TV. Connections are HDMI, Ethernet, aerial and power inputs which are located around the rear of the device.
Sky Glass is, of course, a TV that’s available in 43-, 55- an 65-inch sizes making it neither particularly small nor discreet. It does come in an array of colours (black, blue, green, pink, and white) to suit the room it’s placed in, and there are the means to customise the speaker grille with a choice of coverings available from Sky and authorised sellers on Amazon.
The 55-inch model weighs 28kg (23kg without the stand), so it’s a heavy but durable TV that’s not likely to break or be shifted too easily if you have kids running around. Connections include three HDMI 2.1 ports, USB-C (power only), Ethernet and a DTT DVB-T/T2 aerial that offers basic Freeview in case your broadband connection goes down.
Channels and content
As always with Sky, access to channels and content depends on the subscription you take up. Regardless, content and channel options are pretty much identical with over 150 channels available. Both devices will need the Sky Ultimate subscription package as without it, you’ll miss out on content from Sky, lose access to the Playlist, TV Guide and hands-free control (with Sky Glass).
Both Sky Stream and Glass deliver programming over the Internet, and both deliver it in HD resolution and above which means no access to lower resolution standard definition content.
SVOD (streaming video on-demand) apps are available with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+, Lionsgate+ and more. Choose a Sky Cinema sub and content from Peacock and Paramount+ are included as standard.
Streaming takes up the same bandwidth on each device (10Mbps for HD, 25Mbps for 4K) and adding more pucks either to your main ‘Stream’ device or Sky Glass will require more bandwidth to cope with it. Essentially, this is a tie with both devices providing the same scope of channels and content.
Sky Glass supports hands-free voice recognition (Stream requires the remote for voice control), and the Glass TV can turn on when it senses a user in a room.
Neither the Stream or Glass record in the traditional sense of the word. With the Playlist feature, content is ‘saved’ as there’s no means to download content because it is all streamed. Content is therefore stored in the cloud, accessible when you want to watch it, though there isn’t an infinite amount of cloud storage available, with Sky mentioning 1000 hours of recordings as the limit.
There is a downside to that upside, and that refers to content subject to rights agreements. Sports shows like Match of the Day or events such as Monday Night Football will eventually ‘expire’ and therefore disappear from your Playlist once a certain time elapses. Neither device offers the means to record and keep content as you would be able to do with Sky Q.
When it comes to multiroom, both devices handle it in the same way. if you want to watch Sky in multiple rooms around the home, you will need a Stream puck.
Note that a Stream puck is no different from Sky Stream, the latter is simply the name of device when it is bought as a standalone product. With the Whole Home package, up to six Stream pucks (or even multiple Glass TVs) can be used in one household. As mentioned above, each one will use up a certain amount of bandwidth for HD and 4K content, and a monthly subscription is required for the Whole Home package as well as one-off set-up fee for each puck.
Sky Glass and Sky Stream are essentially the same idea, just offered up in different forms. When it comes to content and channels you’re getting the same thing, and if you’re looking to extend the reach of Sky throughout a home, then again, they’re practically interchangeable.
At is simplest, if you already have a TV and sound system that you like then Sky Stream is the better proposition to slip into your set-up. If you’re someone who has no interest in fussing about what type of TV you need, or any sound system to connect it to then Sky Glass is intended to make the whole decision process easier as it comes with both picture and sound taken care off.
If you’re looking to add the Sky service then get the Stream. If you’re looking to get the whole shebang in one device, then give Sky Glass a closer appraisal.