Choosing a TV provider and then choosing the actual TV package or broadband deal can be confusing and time consuming enough without then having to understand all the fancy devices and features that come with TV packages. At Selectra we are making your life easier one TV package at a time and in this case, one device and feature at a time with this detailed review of Sky Q.
To make things even more complicated, Sky Q isn’t exactly a device or a feature. It is the collective name for a series of devices and features. Sky Q allows you to complete your wonderful Sky TV experience. It gives you the ability to access on-demand video content and use your Sky Q boxes to record, pause & rewind this content.
In this family of devices and features we have the standard Sky Q 1TB set-top box, Sky Q 2TB box, Sky Q Mini-box, Sky Q Hub Internet Router, Sky Q Apps and the Sky Q Touch Remote.
All new customers who purchase TV Bundles or TV Packages from Sky will automatically receive the new Sky Q experience and current customers who are on the previous version (Sky+) will have the opportunity to upgrade to Sky Q at a lower price. In the future, Sky plans to have all customers using Sky Q. Current set-up requires a satellite dish but going forward, Sky wants to remove the need for a satellite dish and have the Sky Q experience accessible just through your internet.
There is also a Sky Q app and a separate app for kids. The future plan is to make content accessible on portable devices and without the need for a satellite dish. Another plan includes being able to watch content on even more devices. Sky Q also plans to move beyond 4K quality to HDR (High Dynamic Range) quality.
Sky Q Box
Let us start by analysing the most important parts of Sky Q: the set-top boxes. In terms of the set-top box you need for your Sky TV Package, you have three options: Sky Q 1TB set-top box, Sky Q 2TB set-top box and the Sky Q Mini-box. Netflix is available on all three as well as the ability to put parental locks in place.
However, Netflix is not free - you will either have to use your already paid for Netflix subscription or choose the Sky package which gives you Netflix. You also have the option to access your favourite YouTube and Vevo videos through your Sky Q box. You can choose whichever box you like based on their features and their cost, keeping in mind that the Sky Mini Box is not a stand-alone product.
Sky Q Mini Box and more.
The job of the Sky Q Mini box is to allow multi room viewing, which means being able to watch Sky content in other rooms of the house as well as allowing multiple viewers to use the Sky Q system. It is not a stand alone product and that means you cannot just have a Sky Mini Box as this one connects to your ‘main’ set-top box, either the 1TB or 2TB box.
The Sky Mini box can play high definition (HD) content only so even if you have the 4K compatible 2TB box, you will only be able to use the multi-viewing function in HD. You cannot use picture-in-picture view of live programming like on the two main boxes which means you cannot keep navigating through the device while your video plays in one corner. Apart from these differences, the Sky Q mini box allows you to access live TV, watch your recordings or watch on demand TV. The set-up of this will cost you £99.
Multi room and Multiscreen Viewing Options
The days of getting frustrated trying to connect a TV upstairs are long gone with the Sky Q Mini box. The option to easily connect and watch your favourite content in different rooms, and on different devices, is definitely a big selling point for Sky Q.
You do not need to worry about cables and adapters to connect your Sky Q Mini box, it can be connected wirelessly to your satellite dish.
As mentioned before, the Sky Q Mini Box is not a stand alone product so it will also be connected to one of your main set-top boxes.
Tips for setting up your Sky Q Mini Box
Sky has some great tips for successfully setting up your Sky Q Mini box:
- Make sure your Sky Q Mini box is at least 1 metre off the ground and not too close to the ceiling.
- Make sure your Sky Q Mini box can be easily seen so there are no accidents.
- Make sure that there is a good distance between the box and other electrical devices.
Sky Q 2TB
The Sky Q 2TB box is the more advanced option. What makes it so advanced?
The Sky Q 2TB box has many great features. It allows you to record up to 6 channels and store 350 hours of HD recordings. It allows you to use two tablets and two Sky Q mini boxes to watch content at the same time. It also supports 4K viewing. This one will have a £199 set-up cost.
Sky Q 1TB
The second best option is the Sky Q 1 TB box, which lacks the Ultra HD Support of the 2TB box and has a smaller hard drive. With this standard version you have fewer options but it’s still a great choice if you want to spend a little less.
You can watch content on one tablet and one Sky Q Mini box. You get full HD viewing and can store up to 150 hours of HD recordings. This box will have a £20 set-up cost.
Sky Q App
The Sky Q App is available on all Apple iPads and iPhones on version 8.1 and above and on all Android devices that use version 4.1 and above. To use the Sky Q app to watch your Sky TV content and your recorded shows you need to have a Sky Multiscreen Subscription which costs an additional £12 per month.The app has some great features. When you are at home, you can use this app to watch live TV, on demand TV, and your recordings.
When you record content it goes to your main Sky box. When you are not at home, you can use the app to watch on demand and live TV and watch the shows you have previously downloaded to your device. You can also download on-demand shows via wifi.
Sky Q Kids App
Apart from having a kids sub-menu as part of your TV Package, the kids also have the opportunity to have their own kids app for viewing their favourite shows. Sky has also made it extra fun for the kids, giving them the ability to have their own profile within the app with an avatar.
They will have to add their gender and date of birth to their profile so that Sky can suggest appropriate contnt for them. The downside of the kids app is that you cannot download shows onto the app to watch later - you would have to download them onto the main Sky Q app which you might not want them using.
To go with it’s Sky Q boxes, there is a fancy remote; the Sky Q Touch remote which lets you navigate your Sky TV subscription with touch-screen ease. It has many features which the older Sky+ remote does not have, so if you like the sound of these, it might be time for an upgrade. It also includes Bluetooth features which means you can still control your Sky Q box even if it sits in a cupboard somewhere.
With the built-in microphone you can use voice search to find your favourite content. Another handy feature that you might like is that if you cannot find the remote, you can press a button on your Sky Q box and a built-in alarm will sound on the remote. This luxury will cost you another £39.99.
Sky Router and Sky Q Hub
One of the other many changes and updates Virgin has been making includes upgrading and improving their router. When you purchase a Sky TV Package, the older version of Sky Hub will be automatically included at no extra cost, whereas the newer Sky Q Hub will cost you extra.
Current customers on the older version can also upgrade to the Sky Q Hub for an extra fee.With this new router you will be able to pause, rewind and record your favourite TV content. It also allows you to turn all the Sky Q boxes in your house into wifi hotspots and this gives you a better signal overall. Note that this feature is only available for people who are subscribed to Sky broadband too.
The new version is great if your household will be using many devices at the same time and if you need the fastest internet speeds.
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Do I really need Sky Q?
After reading this guide about Sky Q you might feel a lot more informed but still confused about whether you need Sky Q or you can stick to your older Sky+ version.
While it’s true that Sky Q has a lot of features that not everyone might need, it is a great option for those who are willing to spend the money for the latest features.
If you are after the best possible viewing experience, Sky Q might be just what you need. With lightning fast internet speeds, touch screens, voice search options and more, you can’t really go wrong.
Some main differences that set the new Sky Q experience apart from the older version of Sky+ are:
- The ability to watch different content to what’s on your main set-top box.
- The ability to record 6 channels (with the 2TB Sky box) or 3 (with the 1TB box) at the same time instead of just two.
- The fact that it is also ready for 4K viewing of content.
At the moment, there are limited customer reviews about the Sky Q experience specifically. However, there are multiple reviews from unhappy customers about the company itself and its poor customer service, high prices and regular service malfunctions.
It’s difficult to give an exact price for the Sky Q experience because it depends on which TV package you choose, which Sky Box you choose and also how many boxes you get. If you choose the top-tier packages and the top-tier Sky box then yes, it can be expensive.
Although not the cheapest option, we do believe that the full Sky Q experience has some fantastic features, especially for those who want the latest and greatest and are willing to spend the money. Apart from the Sky Q experience, Sky as a company offers some great TV bundles, TV packages and broadband deals with a great variety of freeview channels, sports channels and more. They also offer unlimited broadband & fast broadband speeds (between 11Mbps and 63 Mbps).
If high definition channels, premium channels and streaming video are all things that are important to you, we think Sky as a provider and Sky Q should be considered at least. If you are not fussed about having the latest and just want a simple TV package, subscribing to this fancy TV service may not be worth the money for you.