In the next few weeks I’ll be covering Sky’s new way of viewing their content – Sky Q. In this first item I’ll be looking at the Sky Q Installation to show my experience. For those of you who are unaware of Sky Q, it’s the future of viewing Sky TV. The Sky Q Silver boxes are smaller, smarter (in theory) and designed for modern technology, such as 4K TV and streaming.
With Sky Q you have a ‘main’ box, which is connected to the satellite feeds, and then you can have up to 2 ‘Mini’ Sky Q boxes around the home. These aren’t like traditional multi-room boxes, they don’t need a wired satellite feed to them, it’s all done wirelessly. If you’re a Sky Broadband customer you’ll also get a ‘Sky Q Router’ (the first Sky router with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Dual Band). Another bonus is Mini boxes will also extend and boost your WiFi signal too.
Sky Q is the only way you can watch 4K content on the Sky platform. There are a growing range of films, dramas and documentaries being added in (4K) Ultra HD. In addition to this Sky are showing all their Premier League Football and F1 Races going forward in eye popping 4K. Put simply – 4K is the future of television, it offers 4 times the resolution of HD. It’s not a flash in the pan gimmick like 3D – over the next few years 4K will be growing rapidly.
Sky Q vs. Sky Q Silver
The standard Sky Q boxes don’t support 4K, and can store 150 Hrs of HD Content. They allow you to record 3 shows at once and watch a 4th live, and stream to 1 Tablet.
The Sky Q Silver box supports 4k – Ultra HD and can store 350 Hrs of HD Content. You can also record 4 shows at once and watch a 5th live. You’ll also be able to stream to 2 Tablets.
Both support music streaming over Bluetooth and Apple Airplay.
As a new customer, it’s really simple to order Sky Q online – you might get a good deal on Quidco. As an existing customer, you might not get such a good deal online you’ll pay the full price – give them a call and barter for a deal. New customers pay £10 for Sky Q installation, existing can pay between £60-100. Give them a bell and get a deal.
From ordering over the phone, to getting an installation slot we waited just over two weeks. In that time we were sent the new Sky Q Router (almost immediately), and in the week before a new viewing card.
The Sky Q Router is simply ‘plug and play’. You need to rejoin all your existing Wireless devices to the new wireless network. Also worth noting you lose two Ethernet ports on the Sky Q Router – the remaining two ARE Gigabit speeds though. Because I’ve got a lot of Ethernet devices I picked up a cheap switch from Amazon.
When we booked I was given a time slot of 8am-12pm and told the engineer would call before to give a two hour slot to attend. He rang at 8.30am to say he’d be there between 9am and 11am – he pulled up just after 9am.
Our Sky Q installation was relatively simple – we wanted the new box where the old one was. The Sky Q Mini box was going in the TV in the office. The cheerful engineer introduced himself and checked where everything would be going. He then went outside to check the dish alignment and replace the LNB (the box at the end of the arm). He renewed the connections on the wires to the LNB, and then came in to wire up the boxes.
The Sky Q Silver box has a range of connections on the back, he connected the two satellite feeds, the HDMI cable, and the power cable. Sky Q has recently had some major software updates to enable Ultra HD and fix some of the bigger bugs so the engineer performed a software update. While this was happening he went into the office to connect the Sky Q Mini box.
Once the updates were completed and the box restarted I got a tour around the new interface and shown how the new ‘touch’ remote works. The remote actually has a help button – the ‘?’ – which offers help on whatever screen you’re on. It’s weird how you get two remotes with the Sky Q Silver box, a standard infrared and a Bluetooth touch remote.
With that, my installation was over, he was told me I can get the Sky Q app for my tablet and phone (that’s not true – there’s no phone app yet). He asked if I had any further questions, I didn’t, and with that – he was off! To be honest I just wanted to play – and play I did.
I fired up the Office TV, and the Sky Q Mini box – considering it was streaming over WiFi, even on HD channels, it worked perfectly. To ‘strain’ the system I put the TV in the living room on too, and watched live TV via the Sky Q app on Miss A’s iPad and my Kindle Fire HDX. Four ‘screens’, three of them streaming over WiFi in HD and it worked perfectly. Very smart stuff.
So, Sky Q so far feels like a good investment – I’ll do a full review in time. I was impressed with the ease, and speed of the Sky Q Installation. Hopefully the system will stand up to the demands of our household!
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