Here’s how Sky plans to win back your TV from Netflix
Sky knows that the number of people watching TV is diminishing. More and more people are watching TV on demand through Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime Instant Video, which is why Sky has begun to roll out its revolutionary new TV system, Sky Q.
But what is Sky Q and why should you care about it? While you should read Jonathan Bray’s in-depth hands-on review for all the pros and cons, here’s a quick rundown of Sky Q’s five greatest features.
1. Designed from the ground up for multiroom
Previous Sky boxes felt completely separate from the Sky apps installed on your phone, tablet or console. Download or stream a video on an app, and there’s no way to continue to watch that show on your old Sky box. Sky Q solves this problem, allowing you to watch Sky TV whether you’re in the kitchen, bedroom, living room or even on the train to work.
2. A radically overhauled UI
Sky’s user interface has always felt like it was stuck in the past. Sky Q fixes this with sleek and futuristic menus, a far cry from the basic dark and light blue blocky menus of yore. On Sky Q, everything is now organised in vertical panels, with categories arranged on the left and details on the right.
3. A recording system that works
Pausing, rewinding and recording TV is nothing new, and Sky knows it doesn’t need to change. However, with Sky Q, Sky has revamped how you manage and navigate your way through recorded content and it’s exactly what the service needed.
Now all your newly recorded content automatically appears at the top by default, allowing you to sort it alphabetically if you want to find older content easily. Diving into the “My Q” section greets you with grouped series and movies that you’ve been watching recently, allowing you to carry on watching the show you had been streaming during your commute home. Not bad.
4. One box that does (almost) everything
If you can think of something you’d like your TV to do, Sky Q will (by and large) be able to do it.
Want to record as much TV as you’re physically capable of watching? Check. Want to take those recordings on holiday or the commute with you? Check. Want your extra boxes to spread the reach of your Wi-Fi network? Check. How about streaming using your boxes as Bluetooth receivers for playing music from your phone? Check.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Google Cast, but it does support the Dial protocol, meaning you can easily stream YouTube to your TV. It also has Apple AirPlay support for those of you who use iPhones or iPads and want to throw content to your TV.
5. It’s future-proof[gallery:11]
Not only is Sky Q the future of how we’ll consume content in the home, but it’s also prepared for the future of TV.
On launch, Sky Q will only support HD content across all devices it feeds to (Sky Q mini-boxes for other rooms, connected devices and recording). However, it has capacity for future updates to its UI, along with forthcoming support for Ultra HD content and super-fast connections via PowerLine adapters (which will be useful for downloading and recording Ultra HD).