Sky Q Review – Comprehensive Guide
This guide includes features on the 2TB Silver Box, Multi-Room and More!
Searching for a Sky Q Review? If so, you’ve certainly came to the right place. Over the past couple of years their has been a lot of change in the home-digital entertainment arena. From gimmicky 3D TV, to on-demand, streaming and Ultra High Definition.
Sky to a certain extent, have been playing “catch up” on rivals such as BT and Virgin Media, however this latest addition to their product range has certainly caught people’s attention.
Sky Q has been constructed and designed around “fluid viewing”, so the consumer is able to watch whatever they want, when they want. Fluid viewing allows you to pause the content you’re viewing on one box and continue watching that same content in another room, or on a compatible tablet/smartphone around the home. This also works with live TV although you must remember to hit the record button before pausing.
For example, there’s no need for two satellite dishes if you want to watch content in different rooms of your home, the new Sky Q box acts as a “base”, that wirelessly connects to other boxes in your home. These extra boxes are called “Q Mini” and allow you to watch all of your favourite recordings quite seamlessly.
This is perfect if somebody is watching a football match in the main living room, while a child may want to watch a Disney movie upstairs. Extra content to additional Q mini boxes are streamed through a simple internet connection. From our testing, there is basically no “buffering” and it works impressively well. This may depend on your internet speed, our testing location is around a mile and a half away from the nearest exchange.
However that’s not all, you can also utilise the power of Sky Q with additional devices such as a tablet or mobile phone, where you can take your recordings “on the go”, thanks to the brilliant Sky Q app.
Recent updates have meant that the “base” Q Silver box is now capable of outputting to high resolutions which include both UHD and 4k, this is perfect for Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.
Sky Q 2TB Silver Box
The Sky Q 2TB Box is a nice and sleek piece of kit, it’s slim yet powerful and blows away the older “bulker” Sky+ boxes. The Q 2TB box has a mirrored base which gives it a high-quality look and should easily blend in with homes throughout the country.
The 2TB storage offers a massive 350 hours of HD recording and allows recording of four live channel’s while watching a fifth. From our testing around 12% of the boxes capacity can hold about 30 or 40, 1 hour episodes, so this is perfect for your favourite box-set or film!
If your a big sports fan, you will be pleased to know that the Sky Q 2TB box supports Sky’s flagship UHD content of 126 live premier leagues, with lots of additional box sets, television shows and on-demand films. Please Note, that all movies are required to be “downloaded to the box” before you can begin watching. From our testing a 2 hour film downloaded in around 10 to 15 minutes, however his may be quicker or slower depending on your internet connection.
The ability download a movie is actually a really good plus point, let’s say you missed the first half an hour of a film which is on Sky Cinema, you can simply download it in the background while watching the rest of the movie, or even better, you can download it while watching another television show.
The download process is extremely simply, one click on the remote and it begins to download.
You should be aware however that the 2TB box isn’t “standard”. The 1TB box is the standard product which may suit some consumers much better, depending on their viewing habits and budgets.
The style of the Sky Q 1TB box is much the same as the 2TB, with the sleek glossy black base. The 1TB storage has less record-able hours with 150 of HD recordings and allows users to record three live show’s while watching a fourth. The Sky 1TB box also doesn’t allow the “higher UHD resolution” but does support 1080p which is an improvement on the old Sky+ HD box with a big
Sky Q Mini Boxes
The Sky Q mini box is offered for multiscreen viewing and unlike the two main boxes doesn’t require a direct connection to the satellite dish, it connects wirelessly back to the main base Sky Q 2TB box. The Q mini box will connect to the Sky Q box using a mesh network system.
The Sky Q 1TB and 2TB both act as central hubs, enabling you access to your recordings and My Q to continue watching program’s where you left off in other rooms. Named “Fluid Viewing” this is a big part of the service Sky now offers. The box itself is both slim and fairly small, yet it performs very well.
From our experience we had no connection issues or buffering problems, it did actually work quite “fluidly”. The only drawback is the fact, the Q mini box will only support’s 1080p resolution and not UHD. This may be a blow if you want to watch Ultra 4K movies or sport in a bedroom. We tested the Q mini on a 32″ Smart HD television, and the picture and audio quality was exceptionally good.
Sky Q Touch Remote
One funky feature of the new Sky Q Boxes is the revolutionary Touch remote. While some people may think this is a “gimmick”, it’s actually quite useful in reality.
The Sky Q Touch is a Bluetooth remote that, is touch-enabled. A “circular touchpad” replaces the standard D-pad and it also doubles as an OK button when you click down on it. It’s also very good when you want to “flick” through channels, just like you would photographs on a tablet or mobile phone.
From our testing, we had very little trouble “getting use” with the touchpad handling, as previously stated if you use a mobile phone or tablet, it will be second nature to you. Swiping up and down through the menus, or left and right to go in and out of sub-menus, is very easy and quite responsive.
For faster scrolling up or down, you can just hold your finger on the top or bottom part of the pad, the idea is the further towards the edge you hold it, the faster you’ll scroll.
As standard the Sky Q Mini Box is controlled by a more traditional D-pad remote control, the touchpad remote is only available for the “main base” Sky Q 2TB Box as standard, however you can purchase a new touchpad remote for the Mini box if required.
Sky Q UI Interface
As you would expect the Sky Q user interface has had a complete overhaul, which looks pretty good. On the left side of the UI you have your current television show playing, in the middle you have the main menu and on the right hand side you have movies and shows which are applicable to the section you’re currently viewing. The “My Q section” is a particularly good addition. This shows you recently viewed programmes, so you can quickly get back to what you were watching from any device, as part of Fluid Viewing.
From out testing we found that the new interface is quite clear and easy to navigate, it’s pretty difficult to go wrong. Some may say there are no real “shortcut” buttons, to certain sections, while that is true, it’s not terribly difficult to navigate too.
The only one downside we found was to do with deleting a recording. Basically you have to select a recording you wish to delete, then slide over to its menu of options, then select and click Delete. You have to do this for each individual recording, it might be of been slightly easier if you could press a colour button and the programme then deletes. However, this of course could be improved / amended in a future update.
Additional Features and Information
Another great feature of Sky Q, is the fantastic Online Video section. This is constructed of viral video’s across the internet and is sectioned off into categories like “Music”, “Exercise” and Awesome Videos. You can also find apps for YouTube and VEVO which are great addition’s to the platform. At this stage there’s no word on how this will be expanded on, but we can certainly see the potential for more platforms to be added in the future.
Sky Q Comparisons
Please note the following information was correct at the time of original publishing, this information may have changed in the meantime, we cannot be held responsible for any changes what-so-ever.
Sky Q 1TB box
- £15 one-off installation cost
- Up to 500 hours storage
- Record up to three shows and watch a fourth
- Stream Sky TV on one tablet and one room
- Airplay enabled
Sky Q 2TB box
- £60 with Sky Q Multiscreen, £199 standalone
- Up to 1,000 hours storage
- Record up to four shows and watch a fifth
- Stream Sky TV on two tablets and two rooms
- Airplay enabled
- Sky Q touch remote and remote finder
- Watch Ultra HD ready content
Sky Q Mini add-on
- £40 for first, £99 for additional
- Your TV in any room
Sky Q: Installation and setup
The Installation of Sky Q is a little more involved than a regular Sky setup. The generic Low-Noise Block converter on the dish needs to be replaced. With the old Sky system, each tuner needed its own cable; with the new system, each cable can now power up to six tuners, so you can run the Silver box with just two cables.
However that’s not all, because the new Q Mini boxes use wi-fi, Sky will have to perform a “wireless survey” of your house to detect problem areas. If one of the engineers detect a dead spot in your home, you may also need a “Sky Q Booster” to amplify the wireless signal. As you can see there are in-fact two different stages of the installation process, which include both hardware and wireless installs. Depending on where your Sky Router is, you can use an Ethernet cable from the Sky Q Mini box to the router, however this obviously depends on your individual setup.
What’s New for 2017?
Well as you would expect Sky obviously have a lot of things planned for the Sky Q system, unfortunately at the time of publication, there is no definitive ETA, however there are some really cool things to look forward too. Firstly there’s strong rumours that you will be able to “customise” the way the My Q homepage looks. This means you can tailor the experience to your own habits, for example giving you the option to access your latest recordings with one touch or view recommendations and so on.
There’s also an “enhanced voice search” update coming, although details are a little scarce. This was originally meant to be included on the launch date, however it was postponed to a later date. With the enhanced voice search you can basically use the Q box like you would a search engine. This enables you to find your favourite shows much more easily. If you don’t believe this type of updates will happen, Sky has already added 4K content across Sky Cinema and sport, plus a host of new features, including split-screen viewing. This adds the ability to watch highlight clips alongside live action for certain sporting events.
Original Publication: 31 May 2017
Last Updated: 09 August 2017