You don’t need a satellite dish outside your house. Sky might have the solution
Sky has confirmed plans to hold an event on October 7. The invite to the press conference teases customers of “something magical”. Longtime readers will know that Express.co.uk exclusively revealed that Sky is currently testing an all-new set-top box that brings the Sky Q experience into your home without a satellite dish. This new event could see the Sky Q box revealed and made available to customers.
Express.co.uk is currently testing the Sky Q set-top boxes. According to a source, it is nearly identical to the satellite dish-powered version. According to our sources, the box’s navigation is much faster than that of NOW (formerly known as NOW TV) streaming boxes and HDMI dongles.
But, switching between channels quickly can result in low-resolution images that may be pixelated or blurred as the box buffers the video. Our source claims that they have broadband speeds between 250 and 350Mbps. This is not due to internet speed in their homes.
This momentary pixelation, while it is noticeable, is still a small step down from Sky Q boxes that instantly switch between High Definition channels without quality drops. Because the satellite video doesn’t require buffering, there is no need to do any buffering. Sky Q viewers have the option to view a preview of another channel to see if the ads are finished or if the show has begun. This is done in the lower third of the screen and does not interrupt any live broadcast. Because of how many tuners are inside Sky Q boxes, this is possible. This feature would need more bandwidth, so it’s unclear if the box will support this.
Our source says that Sky Q users should be able to expect an interface similar to Sky Go, which can be downloaded on iOS or Android.
Sky has mailed out invitations to its next media event, where it has teased a ‘magical’ announcement
Sky Go is almost identical to the Sky Q on-screen menu. The recordings page includes the same grid with artwork and titles. Clicking on any series will open a landing page that is similar to Sky Q’s. Each episode will be listed under high-resolution artwork, along with information about what you can expect in the next episode.
The smartphone and tablet apps can be quite different. The TV Guide, for example, is visually identical to the TV Guide, but it does not have a feed of the current channel. Viewers are required to take their eyes off of the TV Guide in order to view it. This means that viewers have to abandon watching their show, movie, or match. It’s not a pleasant experience. We know that Sky’s latest set-top box lets viewers jump between channels and not return to the TV Guide. This limitation is only for Sky Go. However, it’s possible other changes exist such as the introduction of small previews of single channels.
The Sky Go app has a Browse tab that allows viewers to choose between different on-demand channels. This is not available on Sky Q. There is instead an On Demand menu, which brings together Sky boxsets, popular terrestrial channels and Netflix shows.
The Catch Up TV Menu brings together programs from All 4 and BBC iPlayer. Sky brings together all these menus in one homepage. It also offers recommendations based upon your watching history.
The Skybox, which will be powered by broadband, may also feature AI-powered recommendations.
According to our source, viewers will be able to pay extra to stream in Ultra HD quality
It isn’t a novel idea to eliminate the need for a satellite dish. Jeremy Darroch, then-CEO of Sky Q, stated that streaming Sky Q over a broadband connection would allow over 6 million European households to enjoy the service. This includes two million homes in the UK. We have not heard anything about Sky Q’s satellite-free alternative in four years.
Sky introduced a Sky Q IP Box in Germany in August. Viewers can access multiple terrestrial channels and on-demand boxes with a minimum speed of 6Mbps. This allows viewers to stream streaming apps and watch live TV. Netflix suggests a minimum speed of 5Mbps for High Definition video quality.
Our source says that the UK set-top box being tested will be more feature rich than the Sky Q IP Box in Germany. Sky claims broadcasts via an internet connection in Germany will be limited to HD quality, even though Sky Deutschland Director Proposition & Product Max Ehrhardt confirmed that it can support 4K streaming. According to our source, the UK satellite dish-free service will be able to support Ultra HD quality. Our source confirmed that the pixel-packed format would cost another PS5 per month. The PS5 Ultra HD upgrade is confirmed by a screenshot taken from an example pricing structure.
You will need an additional PS11 per month to view Ultra HD in satellite dish-powered Sky Q. However, this upgrade also improves the quality of your Netflix subscription and allows you to simultaneously watch on four devices. It also bundles you with more channels.
…that’s a departure from the satellite dish-less box launched by Sky in Germany earlier this year
Our source says that the Sky IP Box will have 1,000 hours cloud recording, which is a departure from other Sky boxes. Sky+ HD and Sky Q viewers will have the option to access Series Link features. Sky is pushing German viewers to use catch-up channels, instead of offering the option to record. Sky IP users will be able to pause, rewind and record live TV via the “cloud recording”, something which is also lacking in Germany’s equivalent.
Following our initial reporting, broadband-focused blog ISPreview confirmed with its own sources that Sky was working on technical trials for a new Sky Q box. Its sources stated that there are not large customer trials currently and that actual product availability was not likely. Their trial will be ended by our source later in the month. This is not a sign that the launch date for the product is imminent. This could be a beta test with only a few people.
What will Sky reveal at next month’s “magical” press conference if that is the case?
Express.co.uk will be reporting all the news from Sky’s launch, and more information about the Sky-powered Sky box, when we have more. It’s important to note that, while the information we have is reliable, there is no confirmation until Sky makes an official announcement.
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Publiated at Sun, 12 September 2021 09:34.10 +0000