Sky’s 4K-ready Sky Q set-top boxes are set to launch on February 8th with prices starting from £99 for installation plus £42 per month for the entry level 8-tuner model.
Alternatively you will be able to get the flagship Sky Q Silver complete with 12 tuners for £99 upfront and £54 per month after.
Without Sky Broadband, Sports or Movies, the box will set you back £249 up front. However you can add Sports or Movies when you buy to get the lower price.
Both Q boxes will provide Sky TV in two rooms through the main Sky Q Silver box as well as via a Sky Q Mini box (this doesn’t have to be connected to a dish, providing it has broadband access).
Despite the name, the flagship Sky Q Silver comes in silver and black variants. Boasting a 2TB hard drive, enough for 350 hours of High Definition TV, it measures 330 x 210 x 43mm and weighs 1.7kg. Also on board is wi-fi connectivity and a new interface hub called My Q.
This brand new interface has kept the same blue colours as the previous one but has loads more graphics, including movie cover art.
Like its rival TiVo from Virgin Media, Sky Q Silver provides suggestions on new shows to watch, based on your viewing history, among other features.
Other features include the ability to stream TV on two tablets, take recordings with you through Sky’s app, as well as record up to four shows simultaneously while watching a fifth live.
The entry level Sky Q features half the storage (1TB) of its big brother, and allows you to record three live shows while simultaneously watching live TV on up to four screens around your home. It’s physically smaller than the Q Silver and tips the scales at 1.47kg
Says Ewan Taylor-Gibson, TV expert at uSwitch.com:
“Sky Q is clearly targeting households prepared to pay premium prices for TV. With an installation cost just shy of £100 it could put off those who have benefited from a highly competitive TV market – and some cut-price packages – in recent months.
“The cheapest £42 per month deal doesn’t include the most interesting feature, called ‘multi-room’, where families can all watch different content, on different devices, in different rooms.
“But being able to download and watch a much wider range of content on the go, even on the most basic Sky Q package, will be a sure fire hit with commuters, and families who fight over the remote.”
Adds Ewan Taylor-Gibson:
“Given the average UK household only spends £24 a month on their TV, Sky is clearly limiting itself to the top end of the market. But for those who are already invested in their Sky TV package, upgrading to Sky Q could only cost a few extra pounds per month – which makes it an appealing offer.”
However, it’s a tactic that’s positioning Sky further away from cheap, pay-monthly streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, reckons uSwitch.com and this could be a risky move.
“That said, it is catering to demand for flexible viewing and Sky Q has delivered in creating a wireless TV ecosystem for its users.”