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Is Sky ditching the dish and moving to internet TV?

Could the satellite dish be going the way of the TV aerial?
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When it first launched in November 1990, Sky revolutionised how the UK watched television, offering more channels than ever before and content that couldn’t be found anywhere else. All of this was thanks to the introduction of satellite TV. Old fashioned aerials were quickly swapped out for satellite dishes on rooftops across the country. But has the time come for Sky to retire the satellite dish entirely?

Sky is now owned by US telecoms provider Comcast. So it’s probably not that surprising to learn that it has reportedly begun trials of an alternative TV service that would mean customers no longer need to get a satellite dish installed.

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Sky TV via fibre broadband

Traditionally, in order to access Sky’s full array of digital TV channels, you need to have a satellite dish. However, there are a few established sites that currently access these channels via fibre broadband.

Some new-build properties in the UK that have full fibre broadband can also receive Sky TV channels over that connection, using what’s known as a Fibre Integrated Reception System (FIRS). These connections still include a central satellite receiver and aerial array that then serves the whole new-build site.

Sky has also implemented TV via broadband in other countries, such as Italy which has Sky via Fibre, Austria’s Sky X and the recent introduction of Germany’s Sky Q IP Box hardware.

The concept of accessing TV channels over the internet is hardly a new one, even in the UK. Providers like BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have long-established digital TV services that are all delivered without the need for a satellite dish to be installed.

In fact, Sky itself introduced alternative options for watching its channels without having to install a satellite dish with its NOW streaming service. NOW (previously known as NOW TV) offers a selection of Sky’s most popular channels, movies and TV shows that you can stream via the NOW app on any number of devices, smart TVs and streaming sticks.

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When will Sky via broadband be released?

According to sources reported on ISPreview, the Sky Q IP Box product is still a long way from launching. A major product release like this would likely require large customer trials and so swapping out your satellite dish is still a long way off –– at least six months or more according to ISPreview.

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Sky vs streaming

With all these streaming services available you may be asking yourself, why bother with Sky TV at all? A fair question, and one that has a number of answers, the most obvious one being convenience. Sky offers all four digital telecommunications services to its customers: TV, broadband, home phone and mobile phone services. If you’re looking to simplify your bills and manage everything from one account, joining Sky could save you both time and money.

Another big reason to switch to Sky (or stick with Sky) is the user experience. Rather than trying to compete with streaming services, Sky has integrated the biggest services into its already incredibly powerful Sky Q box. With it, you can sign up to and access Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus –– in addition to all of the content on Sky –– all in one place and with one remote. Plus, Sky has recently announced that it will be giving its UK customers exclusive access to US streaming services Peacock and Paramount Plus.

So if you’re a big TV fan, Sky really is the best provider to get all the latest and greatest entertainment.

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Is my broadband fast enough for TV via the internet?

The requirements for Germany’s Sky Q IP Box are a minimum download speed of 6Mbps. This is a fairly standard minimum requirement for streaming services, and should be enough to allow you to watch HD content. The problem will be when you need to use your broadband for something while you’re streaming. Even a single additional user could clog up your broadband and cause streaming content to slow down and buffer more.

If you regularly stream content, it’s best to get a fibre broadband deal. This will give you speeds of at least 30Mbps which should give you enough bandwidth to stream without worry.

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