Sky has finally confirmed the release date and price for Sky Q, its fancy new set top box.
The new TV service, which completely revamps the Sky experience, was first unveiled last year as the broadcaster seeks to compete with the increasing array of catch-up and on-demand platforms available from both pay-TV rivals and over-the-top companies, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Several months later and Sky has confirmed that the service will launch this month, with a cost of around £12 extra a month for existing customers.
“As a premium product, Sky Q comes with an entirely new level of customer service. For the first time ever, Sky Q customers will receive servicing and mechanical fault repairs at no extra cost. In addition, customers will have access to a dedicated premium service centre based in the UK. And everyone taking Sky Q – whether an existing Sky customer or new to Sky – will get a full professional installation as part of the set-up cost, to ensure they fully benefit from all the great features of Sky Q and Fluid Viewing.
“We’ve had a fantastic reaction to Sky Q. So I’m delighted to reveal the news that people will be able to get Sky Q for our lowest ever set-up cost for a new premium product,” says Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Marketing, Sales & Digital Officer at Sky. “We wanted to completely re-imagine TV, making it flexible and seamless across the screens in our lives. With Sky Q and Fluid Viewing that’s exactly what we’ve done – giving people the best TV tech on the market today, at a really accessible price. We think people will love it.”
You can read in full how the service will work here, but in short, Sky Q will introduce all the features you could want from a modern pay-TV package, from the ability to pause viewing on one device and resume on another to being able to download recordings for viewing on mobile devices. You can even watch programmes simultaeneously on up to five screens around the house, while recording up to four others. We can’t imagine why anyone would need to, but that’s still mighty impressive.
But how can you get one and how much does it all cost? Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sky Q is released on 9th February
Sky Q is released on Tuseday 9th February 2016, although home installations will not begin until the end of the month. Installation will be part of a one-off set-up fee, which is explained in detail below. Sky Broadband customers will receive their boxes before those with other broadband providers.
2. The hardware’s seriously souped up
Sky has properly upgraded its hardware, from a new Bluetooth remote with a touchpad to navigate menus to the menus themselves. The Sky Q Box includes 1TB storage to store up to 150 hours of video.
The Sky Q Silver Box has 2TB storage and supports Ultra HD ready for Sky’s 4K service launching later this year.
New sidebar apps on the Sky Q interface will allow you to catch up with the latest from Sky News and Sky Sports without interrupting your viewing experience. YouTube and Vevo will also be brought into its online video section, plus a curated service that showcases a wide range of vidos from partners such as GQ, Vogue, WIRED, Red Bull Media House and Funny Or Die.
You can also browse Facebook photos and stream music wirelessly over your TV sound system with Bluetooth or Apple’s AirPlay. In other words, all the features that are already on many rival streaming media devices.
3. Repairs will be free
Sky Q kit is loaned to Sky Q customers at no cost and needs to be returned at the end of the relevant subscription. On the plus side, mechanical faults with the Sky Q kit will be repaired at no extra cost. (Customers can also upgrade their cover to include Accidental Damage with Sky Protect+, the only Insurance endorsed by Sky.)
4. Your box can boost your broadband
If you already have Sky Broadband or purchase Sky Broadband when buying Sky Q, you will also receive a new Sky Q Hub that turns Sky Q boxes into Wi-Fi hotspots, which basically boosts your broadband signal throughout your home.
4. It comes in two different bundles
Sky Q will launch with two bundles.
Sky Q Bundle
This includes over 50 HD channels and 300+ Sky Box Sets as standard, accessed via the new TV guide and home page.
You can record 3 shows and watch a 4th live.
YOu can pause TV in one room and pick up the action on a tablet around your home.
Via the Sky Q app, youc an stream your TV around your home and take your recordings with you.
You can download shows to your tablet to watch offline.
Sky Q Silver Bundle
This will get you Sky’s snazzier Sky Q Silver Box, with its bigger hard drive and Ultra HD support. It also allows you to watch TV on two additional Sky Q Mini boxes, with the option to stream to two tablets all at the same time. And, if that’s not enough. you can record four 4 shows while watching a 5th live.
(One Sky Q Mini box is provided with the Bundle. Sky Q Silver customers wanting to view on a third TV screen can pay an extra £99 and will receive an additional Sky Q Mini.)
5. It starts at £42…
The typical monthly cost for existing Sky+ customers will be around £12 extra compared with their current Sky+ package. For new customers joining Sky, the ongoing monthly cost for Sky Q will start at £42. For a Sky Q Silver Bundle, you will have to pay £54 a month – or, for existing customers, around £24 extra a month.
However, if you also want Sky’s premium packages, that will cost too. Sky Movies will set you back £17 more a month (that’s £49 a month for new customers), while Sky Sports will require you to stump up £25.50 extra a month (£67.50 a month for new customers). Get both packages and it will cost you a slightly discounted £34.50 a month extra.
6. …and the costs keep climbing
On top of all of that, you will have to pay that set-up cost we mentioned. This starts from £99 for a Sky Q Box, if you also get Sky Broadband and/or a Sky Sports/Movies bundle – and it goes up to £299. And, of course, there’s the additional £99 on top of all of that, if you want an additional Sky Q Mini box.
Here’s a breakdown:
So, if you want the best set top box (Sky Q Silver), but without Sky Sports, Movies or Sky Broadband, the potential cost for Sky Q will be £299 plus £54 a month.
7. Contracts last 18 months
You will have to keep paying this amount for a year and a half.
Sky has also just launched a new NOW TV Box, which is likely to be much more affordable.