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Sky Q FAQ: A comprehensive guide

Sky Q is Sky's first major change to its set-top box since Sky+ HD launched a decade ago. It has a host of new features, including a fresh user interface, a new set-top box and a revamped remote control.

More importantly, it lets you view TV shows and movies across TVs, smartphones and tablets in a way that's more seamless than rival services.

In this guide to Sky Q, we get under the skin of the service and outline exactly what it offers.

What are Sky Q's main selling points?

sky q interface

Sky Q doesn't come cheap. So what do you get for your monthly outlay? Here we take a look at its main selling points and explain some of the jargon surrounding the service.

4K/UltraHD

Sky+ HD ushered in the age of high definition broadcasts, so it's only fitting that Sky Q brings the next resolution: 4K. This is also known as ultra high definition, or UHD, and contains four times as many pixels as a standard high definition broadcast.

In other words, the image quality is vastly superior, with everything appearing much sharper.

You might need to upgrade your current set-up to watch in 4K, however. To watch 4K channels, you'll need a 4K-compatible TV and the Sky Q Silver box. The standard Sky Q box doesn't support 4K.

Although not every programme is available in 4K just yet, Sky is offering more and more UHD content. Many films are available in 4K, as are some newer series. The biggest draw, however, may be their Sky Sports in 4K, which is a direct rival to BT's BT Sport Ultra HD.

Fluid Viewing

Sky has had Multiroom capabilities for a number of years now, but Fluid Viewing takes it a step further. Whereas Multiroom just lets you watch the live Sky feed in another room, Fluid Viewing lets you watch recordings, too.

You can start watching something in one room, pause it and resume in another without missing a beat, hence the name Fluid Viewing.

It also works on tablets and smartphones thanks to the new app.

Keen to know more about Sky Q? Read our Sky Q hands on review.

The hardware

All this is made possible by a fresh set of TV set-top boxes, a redesigned remote control and the use of cables in your walls to transfer TV around your home.

In this section we look at each part of the hardware in turn, as well as the Powerline tech that connects it.

Sky Q and Sky Q Silver

sky q and sky q silver

Sky Q is the name Sky gave its new range of set-top boxes. You can choose between the Sky Q Silver and the standard Sky Q.

Sky Q Silver is the higher-end of the two, hence more expensive.

It has 2TB of storage (which is enough for 350 hours of HD TV), the ability to record four channels at once while watching a fifth, and the ability to stream content to two other TVs and tablets simultaneously.

The standard Sky Q box has 1TB of storage (or 175 hours of HD TV), can record three channels while you watch a fourth, and can stream to one tablet.

There's also a slightly smaller box called the Sky Q Mini. This lets you stream shows from your main Sky Q Silver box (but not the standard Sky Q box) to a TV in another room of the house.

Sky also has a new router called the Sky Q Hub. If you buy the router, your Sky Q Silver, Sky Q box and Sky Q Mini all become wireless hotspots, boosting your Wi-Fi signal throughout your house.

The remote control

sky q touch remote

The remote control is one of the biggest changes from Sky.

It features a circular touchpad that feels a lot more modern than the old Sky remote. Swipe up, down, left or right, and you'll navigate the UI with the corresponding movement.

Swipe and hold your finger down, and the scroll will speed up, which is handy for getting through long menus.

It works over Bluetooth so doesn't need line of sight to work. In other words, you can stash the Sky Q box away in a cabinet, and the remote can still talk to it.

The remote will also be enabled for voice-activated controls at some point in the future.

Powerline

sky q hands-on sky q mini

The Sky Q or Q Silver box can send shows and recordings to the Q Mini box wirelessly over Wi-Fi, or it can do so through the cables in your walls.

This feature is called Powerline, and it pipes the shows through the mains socket to each box. This helps free up your broadband's bandwidth for other uses, like downloading files or streaming music, allowing you to multitask more efficiently.

The Sky Q box switches between Powerline and Wi-Fi dynamically, depending on which is stronger. Like all the best tech, you shouldn't even be aware it's there.

Product updates

Both boxes also update themselves whenever new features are released. Sky has plans to increase the amount of simultaneous recordings across both boxes, for example, and introduce a personalised homepage feature.

Sports fans will appreciate the coming launch of Sports Start Over, which allows live sports programmes to be watched from the beginning again, regardless of whether the programme was recorded or not.

Do I need fast broadband to get it?

You shouldn't need faster broadband than you do for Sky+ HD. In other words, 2Mbps should be enough.

But obviously the faster your connection, the faster shows will download. This is particularly useful when downloading HD or 4K programmes.

Can I get it without Sky Broadband?

You can but there are advantages to taking out Sky Broadband as well. Not least that Sky Q works out cheaper the more Sky products — like Sky Broadband — that you buy.

If you've already got Sky Q TV and want to add Sky broadband, check out these Sky broadband deals for existing customers.

Not a current Sky customer but interested in switching? You can check out the full range of Sky Q deals at our dedicated Sky comparison page.