Sky Q has arrived and while it’s a big improvement on the current Sky+ offering it is far from a television revolution some were expecting.
We’ve tried out the Sky Q Silver box as well as the Sky Q mini and although the improvements compared to the Sky+ box are vast, it does feel like they have been playing catch up with the offerings of the other providers, especially Virgin Media and their TiVo service.
Sky Q now lets you record up to four shows at once and watch a fifth depending on which box you get which is rather impressive and slightly better than Virgin’s TiVo.
Everything looks sleeker with Sky Q, both on the outside and on screen. The familiar blue colour scheme is still used for the redesigned menus but gone are the big blue boxes that obscured the programme whenever the channel was changed or the programme information was viewed. These have been replaced with an opaque box or banner which is much more subtle and less intrusive.
Sky Q has some nifty features. The new Sky Q Touch remote control has a touch sensor which uses touch, swipe and tap gestures to navigate the EPG and other menu options. These can take some getting used to but once the layout of the much simplified user interface and the gestures needed to work the remote control become familiar it is pretty simple and as it works via bluetooth it doesn’t even need to be pointing at the receiver.
One of our biggest complaints of Sky+ was that the remote control was too cluttered with many buttons that only end up getting pressed by mistake as you never had any use for them. The new remote control is much clearer with only the buttons that are truly necessary. If you don’t like the Sky Q Touch remote control you also get a simplified control where the touch sensor is replaced by more conventional buttons.
Q Play is a new feature with Sky Q that allows for programmes to be paused on one device and picked up on on the Sky Q mini or the Sky Q app on a tablet.
Sky Q also works with AirPlay on Apple devices and allows music to be streamed from iTunes to the Sky Q box and played through the tv.
One of our favourite features is when watching a channel tv through the Sky Q box, when the info button is pressed and other channels are scrolled to, the info bar shows a live view of what is on that channel. This is great for when channel hopping to avoid commercial breaks. We were also impressed by the lightening quick speeds when changing the channel.
So, is it worth the £54 per month price tag? We think so. The £54 per month is the cost of the Sky Q Silver box and the basic package so sports and film bundles will obviously cost more. But what comes with Sky Q Silver is a big improvement on Sky+ with 2TB of storage and the ability to record four programmes at once which all but does away with those frustrating clashes that crop up when everything is scheduled to be on at the same time.