Whether or not you already have satellite TV, you might have heard about Sky Q, the new, premium TV service from Sky. This is a new, much improved version of the existing Sky+, giving customers access to hundreds of high-definition digital TV channels – from entertainment to sport to films – as well as a box with which to record them.
So what extra does Sky Q have to offer and how much will it cost you?
Sky TV around the home
One of big advantages of Sky Q is that you can watch the same programmes and recordings on TVs or tablet computers around your home. The system uses your home’s Wi-Fi to stream (or broadcast) channels and recordings to any TVs you own – so you can pause a programme on one set and then pick it up a few moments later on another (or on your iPad).
To stream channels to a TV in this way, however, it will need to be internet-enabled or connected to your Wi-Fi signal in some way.
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As with Sky+, Sky Q uses a main set-top box to convert signals from a satellite dish. The top-of-the-range option is the Sky Q Silver box, although there is a simpler – and cheaper – Sky Q box also available.
The difference between them lies in how much space they have to record or download programmes, how many different channels can be recorded at the same time, and how many other devices you can stream programmes to.
The Silver box has about four times the capacity of a normal Sky+ box, which means you can store about 350 hours of high-definition TV recordings and downloads on it. The basic Sky Q box has half the capacity of the Silver version.
What’s more, the Silver box lets you record four programmes simultaneously, should you wish to, while watching a fifth (with the basic box, you can record three and watch a fourth).
Using the Sky+ box, on the other hand, you can only record two programmes at the same time – and if you are doing this, you can’t watch a third channel.
The Sky Q Silver box also comes with a Sky Q Mini box, which can be connected to a TV elsewhere in your home so you can watch Sky programmes on it without streaming them – this means you can use a normal telly rather than a Wi-Fi-enabled one.
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How much does Sky Q cost?
To get Sky Q, whether you are already a customer or not, you’ll have to pay upfront installation costs, which could run from £99 to £299 – you’ll pay less for the basic box, and installation is cheaper if you sign up for the likes of Sky Movies and Sky Sports channels. (Also, keep your eyes peeled for new-customer offers such as free tablet computers or shopping vouchers.)
After installation, you’ll pay a monthly fee based on the channels you want in your viewing package. These fees start at £42 a month compared with £36 for Sky+.