Sky Q: Questions That Need Answering Before the Luxury 4K TV Service Launches

By Gerald Lynch on at

There's no denying that today's Sky TV launch was impressive. Sky Q, the new luxury service from the satellite TV provider, seems to have it all. We've compiled all you need to know about the new interface and hardware in our Sky Q guide. But, in a nutshell, it's as comprehensive as you could ask from a modern TV service, with fully integrated internet viewing options, a sleek new interface (and touch remote to navigate it with), multi-screen on-the-go options and smart networking hardware features that will boost your Wi-Fi signal around the house.

Related: Sky Q - Everything You Need to Know About the New Sky 4K TV Service 

However, with the premium package not due out until early 2016, there are still some questions surrounding Sky Q. There's plenty to be excited about, but a few key selling points still need to be clarified.

When is 4K Content Coming to Sky Q, and What Will It Be?

The new Sky Q boxes come complete with support for UHD video, but Sky is keeping quiet about exactly what will be shown in 4K, and when. Will we get 4K movies? 4K sport? Will the built-in YouTube app's 4K clips work? Will it be limited to 24hz output, as the HDMI 1.4b / HDCP 1.2 specs suggest? With rival BT being the only other 4K broadcaster in the UK, chipping away at Sky's sports coverage dominance with its own 4K footy streams, you'd expect Sky to come out swinging with 4K Premier League coverage of its own.

Also, with 4K broadcasting still in its infancy in the UK, it's likely that Sky Q UHD content will be delivered over your broadband connection. But there's no word yet on what speeds you'd need for stutter-free playback. Fibre will likely be a prerequisite.

sky q

How Will Sky Q Work With Third-Party Broadband Providers and Routers?

Sky Q was revealed today alongside a new Sky Hub that, thanks to built-in Powerline networking smarts, allows all the Sky Q hardware to act as independent Wi-Fi hotspots around your home to give your signal a boost. Will they be able to pull off the same trick independent of the Sky router if you're signed up with a different provider, and are using other Powerline kits? Hmm.

Also, how about 4K streaming? The BT 4K service shows nary a stutter when pulling in UHD content, suggesting traffic prioritisation when on a BT broadband package, while 4K streams don't act against any BT fair-usage policy – handy considering how data-heavy 4K streams are. Here's hoping Sky will offer similar boons from its broadband service when its 4K content goes live.

Will Sky Q Multi-Room Music Streaming Make for a Sonos Alternative?

In a really nice touch, the Bluetooth-enabled Sky Q boxes support wireless music streaming from mobile devices, including compatibility with Apple's AirPlay. When paired with the Sky Q Mini boxes you can get to dot around your house, you'll be able to have music playing through the Sky Q kit in loads of different rooms.

We're always being told by TV manufacturers and surveys that most of us have our homes' best speakers hooked up to our TVs, so could we conceivably use this as a Sonos alternative? Or will there be a playback latency gap between each box? It's a feature worth shouting about if that's the case, but Sky is holding its cards to its chest on it at the moment.

sky q remote

Is Sky Q Voice Search Good? And When Will Sky Q Voice Search Be Ready?

Two good questions, seeing as the exciting new feature wasn't on show at all at today's Sky Q unveiling. We know that the Sky Q remote control has a built in mic, but that will be all but useless at launch, as Sky has confirmed the voice search feature its present for won't be ready initially. Both the Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV boxes offer voice search, but neither have quite nailed it yet – could Sky be the first company to make talking to your telly worthwhile?

How Much Will Sky Q Cost?

The million pound question. Well, hopefully not that much, but even the current Sky+ packages command quite a premium. With the Sky Q range set to be more advanced, and designed to sit above the current Sky+ offering rather than replacing it, it's safe to say that Sky Q will cost a pretty penny. For once though, it's hard to argue against, even if that does prove to be the case – on the strength of Sky's launch today, it could quite deservedly command a luxury price tag. That is, of course, if the above questions are addressed first.

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