Sky Glass uses less energy than a separate television, Sky Q box and soundbar
Sky has taken the wraps off an all-new QLED TV during a glitzy keynote presentation in London today. It marked the first major hardware announcement from the satellite broadcaster since it unveiled Sky Q back in 2015, which replaced Sky+HD in its line-up the following year.
Dubbed Sky Glass, the Quantum Dot 4K TV includes all of the circuitry needed to stream the complete Sky Q experience over Wi-Fi. Yes, for the first time, Sky will not require a satellite dish on the outside of our home to watch channels, pause and rewind live television, and catch-up with on-demand boxsets. Sky has strived to ditch the dish for years. The first time the company publicly revealed plans to untether its paid-for television service from the satellite dish was back in 2017, when then-CEO Jeremy Darroch revealed it would open up Sky Q to more than six million new customers across Europe, including two million in the UK. With the arrival of Sky Glass this month, Sky has finally made good on that four-year-old pledge.
Relying only on a W-Fi connection, Sky Glass will offer the same experience as the existing Sky Q box. You’ll be able to use voice commands to quickly find a film or jump into a channel, and you’ll be able to watch a live preview of a channel while browsing through the rest of the TV Guide. Just like Sky Q, this sleek 4K TV includes some of most popular streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+. Shows and movies from these services will be recommended alongside live television and on-demand boxsets from Sky on the homepage.
The smallest Sky Glass set is 43-inches, with the biggest panel available standing at 65-inches.
Just like Sky Q, these recommendations will be based on your viewing history. Sky says it updates its suggestions six times a day. You’ll be able to search across all of these services with a simple voice command too, so you’ll never have to worry about accidentally paying to rent a film that’s included in your Disney+ subscription, for example.
Sky Glass, which the firm says is a television that “only Sky could make”, arrives in a choice of five different colours – Ocean Blue, Ceramic White, Racing Green, Dusky Pink, or Anthracite Black. Sky will include a new redesigned remote in the same colour. The front grill that covers the speakers can also be detached and swapped for those who want to further customise the appearance of the TV. Sky includes a matching panel by default, but you can choose a contrasting colour for a unique look.
The television has been certified “carbon neutral”. Sky says that because everything is built into the television, it will use less energy than a standalone Sky Q set-top box and soundbar connected via HDMI to your telly – with up to 50 percent less power consumed than the traditional set-top.
The QLED TV is available in five colours – Blue, White, Green, Pink, or Black
For those worried that an Ultra HD television with Sky Q built-in could cost a small fortune, Sky CEO Dana Strong was quick to allay those fears during the keynote. The UK broadcaster has confirmed that prices will start from £13 a month. For that, subscribers will get a Sky Glass television and a bundle of channels. Just like with existing Sky subscriptions, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, and bundles with Netflix and Disney+ can all be added at an extra cost.
Sky Glass will begin to ship to UK customers from October 18, 2021 in the UK, with more countries to be added in 2022, Sky has confirmed.
The QLED panel includes a Dolby Atmos-certified soundbar. Sky Glass only requires a single power cable – so you’ll be able to stream the latest blockbusters from Sky Cinema, exclusive boxsets from Amazon Prime and Disney+ and sport fixtures on Sky Sports all with Dolby Atmos sound without a spaghetti-like bundle of cables hanging behind your TV unit. That said, Sky Glass does include an array of HDMI ports to allow you to connect other devices, including games consoles.
A redesigned TV remote is colour-matched to Sky Glass
Since you’ll be managing your HDMI connections via Sky for the first time (rather than hunting around HDMI inputs to find your Sky box), the company has added a bucket load of new voice controls. Sky Glass will be able to recognise what gadgets are connected via HDMI, so you’ll be able to say “Xbox” or “PlayStation” to switch to that device. You won’t need to know what’s connected to HDMI port 1, 2 or 3… the telly will handle all of that for you.
A new voice command – “Hello Sky” – will turn on the television.
Sky Glass supports HDR and 4K Ultra HD picture quality. Sky Q has long supported both of these formats, however, Sky Glass will automatically tune the visuals on-screen based on what you’re watching. That’s something you won’t get from a standalone Sky Q set-top box and your existing television – no matter how good it is.
When you walk into the room, Sky Glass will turn on automatically and showcase your recommendations
Six speakers and a dedicated subwoofer are fitted into the chin at the bottom of Sky Glass to ensure high-quality sound, Sky says. The broadcaster worked with the engineers at Dolby to ensure that it supported industry-standard Dolby Atmos. Sky spent time specifically tuning for some of its most popular content, including live football.
If you want to buy Sky Glass without a subscription, you’ll be able to buy a 43-inch panel for £649, the 55-inch will cost you £849, while the biggest Sky Glass panel available – 65-inches – will set you back £1,049. As mentioned above, Sky subscribers will be able to buy Sky Glass as part of a rolling monthly subscription. The television comes with all of the television channels included with the Sky Entertainment bundle, starting from £13 a month for the 43-inch model.
Those who want the 55-inch model on subscription will need to pay £17 a month, and £21 a month for the 65-inch panel.
Sky Glass: Sky launches new smart television
Sky Glass is available in 43-, 55-, and 65-inch screen sizes
If you’re worried about signing up for a Sky Glass subscription today …and missing out a better television announced by Sky in the future, don’t worry. Sky is aware that some people will always want the latest-and-greatest technology. As such, subscribers will be able to upgrade to the next-generation Sky Glass television when it’s announced. The upgrade will work exactly like Sky Mobile’s pay monthly smartphone contracts, which lets customers swap to the latest iPhone each year.
Of course, you’ll need to add a bundle of TV channels as well in order to stream the latest boxsets, movies, live channels, and sport from Sky. These start from £26 a month for Sky Q and Sky Glass customers and includes exclusive channels like Sky Atlantic, which airs some of the biggest US dramas like Succession, Little Big Lies, Game Of Thrones, The Undoing, and Mare Of Easttown, to name a few. It also includes Sky Sports News, Sky Comedy, MTV, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, and more. The £26 a month bundle also includes a subscription to Netflix, so you can binge exclusive shows from the streaming service, like Sex Education, Stranger Things and Squid Game on Sky Glass.
Despite its size and included speakers, Sky says it has worked hard to ensure Sky Glass can be mounted onto any wall. The UK broadcaster has created an innovative system that leverages magnets to fix the television to your wall. Of course, it can also stand on its own. Sky says that it didn’t include a Sky logo on the front of the television so that it could seamlessly blend into your décor. The company wants the television to look like a well-designed piece of furniture, rather than a piece of technology.
Sky doesn’t expect customers to buy a separate television for every room. For those who want the same wireless multi-room experience currently available with Sky Q, the broadcaster will offer small Apple TV-like set-top boxes that can be connected to other TVs around your home. Dubbed Sky Stream Puck, these HDMI boxes connect to the internet via Wi-Fi and bring the same experience as Sky Glass. Recordings will be synced around your home, so you’ll be able to pause in one room and immediately pick-up where you left-off on another television. However, each Sky box (or Sky Glass telly) will have its own recommendations, based on what you’ve watched in that particular room.
As well as the new form-factor, Sky Glass has a new interface distinct from Sky Q
Speaking at the launch, Dana Strong, Group Chief Executive, Sky said: “Sky Glass is the streaming TV with Sky inside, providing the total integration of hardware, software and content. Built on over 30 years of understanding what our customers want, this is a TV that only Sky could make. We believe this is the smartest TV available, and that customers will love it.”
Ahead of the keynote, there were a number of clues that Sky was about to announce new hardware. The UK broadcaster’s parent company, US media firm Comcast, issued a press release a few weeks ago unveiling a new lightweight set-top box, dubbed XiOne, that it confirmed would be used for Xfinity subscribers in the United States and sold with Sky branding to its customers in the UK and mainland Europe. It’s this XiOne hardware that forms the basis of the Sky Streaming Puck for multi-room viewing.
Sky has also been experimenting with dish-free television in other European markets, including Germany and Italy. However, the streaming service available inside Sky Glass announced in London today goes much further than what we’ve seen from the company in other territories. For example, Sky confirmed on-stage that UK subscribers would be able to watch in crisp Ultra HD HDR quality over a broadband connection …something not currently available to Italian or German subscribers.
Express.co.uk will bring you all of the latest news and opinion from the Sky Q hardware launch in the coming hours and days, so stay tuned.