Nearly four years after it was first announced, Sky Q is finally throwing the dish out
Sky first unveiled plans in 2017 to beam its popular television service into living rooms without the need for a satellite dish. During the initial announcement, Jeremy Darroch said that streaming the full Sky Q experience over a fiber broadband connection will reach more than six million households across Europe, including two million in the UK, who don’t own – or don’t. want to to own – a satellite dish to access the acclaimed service.
Unfortunately, in the four years since that announcement, Sky has remained alarmingly silent about the plan. That is however all changed.
Sky has unveiled a new set-top box – known as Sky Q IP Box – that offers some of the most popular live channels, as well as access to streaming services and apps via the internet connection in your home. And that’s all you need.
No need to drill holes in the side of your house to mount a satellite dish, or ask your landlord to install a communal dish in the apartment building you live in (Sky Q requires a newer dish than apartments that were previously equipped for Sky+ HD only). And those living somewhere without a strong enough satellite signal won’t have to forego the full Sky Q experience, which, despite some shared channels, is still significantly different from its sister streaming service, NOW (formerly NOW TV).
The only catch? For now, Sky has only introduced its satellite-free service in Germany.
Unfortunately, switching from satellite to broadband is currently only available in Germany
Despite confirmation of plans to launch this Dishless television option in the UK in 2017, Sky is currently offering its new Sky Q IP Box only to customers in Germany, industry blog BroadbandTVNews reports. The current lineup available over broadband includes over 80 channels, complete with every Sky-branded channel, over 50 free TV services, as well as thematic offerings such as Eurosport, DMAX and Sport1.
The vast majority of these broadcasts will be available in HD picture quality, Sky Deutschland Director Proposition & Product Max Ehrhardt has confirmed.
Sky Q offers a number of blockbuster movies, sports matches and box sets in Ultra HD (4K), but these are not broadcast via a satellite signal… but instead you must have an active internet connection with your set-top case. It’s unclear why this isn’t currently available with the Sky Q IP Box, but Ehrhardt has confirmed that the hardware is powerful enough to support 4K streams and isn’t ruling out the feature’s arrival in the coming weeks and months.
And it’s not the only feature missing when switching from the traditional satellite dish to the Sky Q IP Box. As it stands, there is no option to include programs from the TV guide. So is Series Link – a long-standing Sky feature that automatically records every new episode of a show you’re watching. The absence of the recording feature is explained away by Sky due to the plethora of catch-up services available with the box.
The Sky Q IP Box is smaller and more compact than the satellite-powered model
It’s unclear whether viewers will be able to pause and rewind live television – a feature that relies on background recording – on the Sky Q IP Box.
Like the satellite-powered Sky Q box available in the UK, the all-new Sky Q IP Box available in Germany includes some of the biggest video-on-demand services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, DAZN, YouTube Kids, and Spotify. So it should offer a very similar experience.
The box can be connected via an Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi. The minimum bandwidth required to watch Sky Q over your home broadband is 6 Mbps, Sky has confirmed. For comparison, Netflix recommends a minimum of 5 Mbps to watch in High Definition picture quality.
Sky Q customers in Germany who want to cancel the dish halfway through the contract can switch to the Sky Q IP Box, Ehrhardt has confirmed. Subscriptions start from €12.50 (£10.70) per month and include Sky Entertainment basic package. The minimum contract duration is one year. After that you can cancel your subscription with a notice period of one month. Additional channels and options can be added for an additional monthly fee.
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