Sky Glass lands with a redesigned remote, but the hands-free voice controls means you won’t need it
As promised during its launch event in early October, Sky Glass is now available to buy in the UK. Well, sort of. For the moment, only Sky VIP Diamond and Platinum customers – people who have been with Sky TV for eight years or longer – are able to place an order for the hotly-anticipated new QLED TV. Sky will slowly roll out its custom-designed TV to more customers in the coming days and weeks. “You won’t have to wait long. Register now and we’ll be in touch soon,” the company promises.
If you’re itching to get your hands on Sky Glass as soon as it becomes available, you should register your details here, or using the link below.
Once all of the Diamond and Platinum customers who want to switch over to Sky Glass are up and running, Sky will start to make its way down the list of people who have pre-registered. So, don’t endlessly refresh the order page on the Sky website hoping to jump to the front of the queue – put your name on the list.
If you’re not completely sold on the idea of Sky Glass quite yet, the slow roll-out of orders means you have a little longer to think it over. And there are definitely things to mull over with Sky Glass. After all, this product marks the first time that Sky has untethered its popular paid-for television service from the satellite dish.
As expected given that Sky Glass represents such a break with previous Sky-branded kit, a number of early adopters have noted a few issues with the software that ships with Sky Glass. The satellite company has promised a software fix that will improve picture quality of the QLED display and add thousands of new shows, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re hoping to be one of the first-ever viewers to grab this custom-designed 4K TV.
While NOW, formerly NOW TV, does offer access to a number of the same live channels and on-demand boxsets available on Sky Q over an internet connection, Sky Glass is something very different. This is the first time we’ve seen the complete Sky Q experience – including Ultra HD and HDR content – beamed over broadband.
Sky Glass is an all-in-one solution that combines a QLED 4K TV, a soundbar, and a Sky Q box
As such, you’ll need to check your broadband speeds before you throw out the Sky Q and Q mini boxes and replace them with the latest kit. The minimum internet speed required for Sky Glass is 10Mbps, which is pretty reasonable. After all, the average home broadband speed in the UK, as measured earlier this year, is 70Mbps, so most people should easily be able to cope with streaming standard live channels via Sky Glass.
However, those who want to watch Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and shows in Ultra HD to take full advantage of the 4K resolution built into Sky Glass will need at least 25Mbps.
And if you want to be able to watch in another room, you’ll need an extra 5Mbps for every Sky Stream Puck added to your account. So, if you want to bring Sky to your kitchen and a couple of bedrooms, you’ll need another 15Mbps.
To stream Sky TV across multiple rooms at home, you’ll need a Sky Stream Puck, pictured
That brings the total to 40Mbps. While that still seems comfortably below the 70Mbps average – remember that is the total bandwidth available at home. If you’re watching Sky Glass downstairs in Ultra HD, while other family members are watching in their bedrooms, someone is streaming from Spotify, smartphones are downloading a new software update, and children are playing video games online… that 70Mbps speed will quickly be gobbled up. If that happens, you could find the quality of the show you’re watching dips – like when BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub is buffering – or the broadcast stops entirely.
If you’re lucky enough to have a strong fibre broadband connection at home, there are still a few points to mull over with Sky Glass.
Sky Glass overhauls the record feature for the first time since it was introduced with Sky+ back in 2001. Instead of a red Record button on the redesigned remote, Sky has added a new + symbol. Tapping this button will add a series, episode, film, concert or match to your Playlist. In a nutshell, Playlist is a supercharged version of Series Link on Sky Q, which automatically schedules a recording for every upcoming episode.
With Playlist, the software will also scour Sky boxsets as well as the libraries from any synced streaming services – like Disney+ and Prime Video – to bring together previous series and episodes too. Jumping into your Playlist, you’ll be able to catch up on old episodes from across a range of streaming services and tune-in each week as new episodes air on Sky channels. Sky hopes its new Playlist system will prevent you from having to jump between its menu and another streaming app on its service to find the right episode.
Crucially, all of these recordings will not be stored on a hard-drive inside Sky Glass, but streamed from the cloud. The advantage of not writing everything to a whirring hard-drive inside the box (like you’ll find inside the Sky Q box) is that you’ll never have to worry about running out of space. Since everything is being stored by Sky, you won’t need to delete a three-year-old episode of Graham Norton to make way for a new series. You also don’t need to worry about power cuts or signal problems interrupting the recording because, you know, you’re not actually recording anything to your box.
With the right broadband speeds, you can watch television in 4K with a single cable behind your TV
However, Sky has quietly confirmed plans to introduce an extra charge for Sky Glass customers who want to fast-forward through the adverts in their recordings.
Yes, since everything in your Playlist is streamed to your Sky Glass, recordings work in the same way as streaming an episode on All4 or ITV Hub. And exactly like the latter, which offers customers an optional monthly fee to eliminate the ad breaks, Sky Glass will charge viewers to remove all advertisements from the episodes that are streamed from its servers.
Dubbed the Ad Skipping Add On, this feature will be included at no extra cost to all Sky Glass customers for the first year. After 12 months, those who want to continue to be able to skip through the adverts in old recordings of the Great British Bake Off, I’m A Celebrity …Get Me Out Of Here, GoggleBox, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Succession, and more, will have to pay an extra £5 a month.
Sky introduce their brand new streaming TV ‘Sky Glass’
Even before you factor in that monthly fee, Sky Glass is not the cheapest way to watch the amazing exclusive shows and sport fixtures available on Sky TV.
While prices for Sky Glass start from £13 a month for the 43-inch QLED TV, this needs to be paired with the basic bundle of channels, Sky Entertainment, which also comes with a Netflix subscription at a cost of £26 a month. Add Cinema (£11), Sports (£25) and then an add-on to watch in Ultra HD and HDR (£5) and you’ll be looking at a bill of around £80 per month.
Prices rise even higher if you want a Sky Stream Puck (£10 a month for Multiroom to stream around the house, plus a one-off £50 fee per Puck) or a bigger screen. The 55-inch model costs £17 and 65-inch £21 per month.
Sky Glass is available in three sizes – 43-, 55-, and 65-inches – and five colour options
There’s no doubt that Sky Glass will be perfect for some viewers – bringing flagship features like Ultra HD and HDR picture quality and Dolby Atmos sound to the selection of movies, US dramas, and sports available exclusively on Sky TV without the hassle of drilling a satellite dish onto the side of your home. However, some might be better off looking elsewhere …even when orders do open up to everyone in the UK.
Speaking about Glass during the launch event, 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.”