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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 brings with it 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. And we'll be answering your FAQs too, including price, cost and availability.

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.

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

Sky currently isn't broadcasting anything in 4K, but has said it will start doing so at some point later this year. Rumours suggest it'll launch a 4K Sky Sports channel to rival BT's BT Sport Ultra HD.

Fluid Viewing

Until 4K arrives, this is what Sky is pushing as the main selling point.

Sky has had Multiroom capabilities for a number of years now, but Fluid Viewing takes it a step further. Whereas Multiroom just let 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 on our Sky Q hands on review.

The hardware

All this is made possible by a fresh set of TV set top boxes, a rethought 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 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 gives to 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, and 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 recording 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.

Plus Sky 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.

It features a circular touch pad 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

At the moment, the Sky Q or Q Silver box sends the shows and recordings to the Q Mini boxes wirelessly over Wi-Fi. But soon it will be able to do so through the cables in your walls.

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

The Sky Q box will be able to switch 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.

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.

Want to add Sky broadband to your Sky Q TV bundle? Compare Sky broadband deals.

How much does it cost?

sky q interface

Prices start at £42 a month, but that's only for the standard Sky Q box, not the 4K-enabled Sky Q Silver.

You'll also have to pay a one-off fee of £249 for installation and any repairs needed throughout the product's life (though this is only £99 if you have Sky Movies or Sky Sports or Sky Broadband).

Sky Movies costs £17 extra a month, and Sky Sports is £25.50 a month. You can add both for a monthly fee of £34.50.

Sky Q Silver is more expensive. It costs £54 a month, with a one-off fee of £299 (though again, this is discounted to £99 according to the same stipulations as above). It comes with one Sky Q Mini box, but if you want a second you'll have to pay an extra £99.

According to Sky, Sky Q will typically cost customers £12 extra a month, though it depends on your Sky TV package. This also doesn't include the one-off fee.

Check out the full range of Sky Q deals at our dedicated Sky comparison page.