Sky Q 4K will run at 50fps when the service launches

There's already HDMI 2.0 hardware inside the Sky Q Silver

Sky Q Silver

Sky has just informed us that its top-end Sky Q hardware does have HDMI 2.0 silicon inside it, ready to deliver 4K video at 50fps when the service launches later in the year.

We've had our first tastes of Sky's new top-tier TV service, Sky Q, and it's a far more holistic approach to modern television viewing than we've seen from the broadcaster in the past.

But what we haven't seen so far is what the service is going to look like when it finally releases its long-awaited 4K Ultra HD service later this year, and that's what's given us our biggest concerns about Sky Q's hardware.

The top-of-the-range Sky Q Silver box is the big daddy of the new set top boxes, with more tuners inside than you've had spam emails, but in terms of its 4K credentials we've been more than a little worried about it.

Sky Q Silver

HDMI hardware

The specs sheet for the Silver lists the output as HDMI 1.4b with HDCP 1.2 and an update to come for the UHD launch. With the top-end box just running with HDMI 1.4b hardware we were concerned that would limit its output to just 30Hz, leaving the 4K content with a 30fps speed limit.

That would put it behind BT Sport's Ultra HD Humax box which offers 4K football at 50fps.

A software update alone to HDMI 1.4b hardware wouldn't be enough to push it past the bandwidth limits of the older 1080p-focused connection. When we first quizzed Sky on this though, it really didn't want to talk to Sky Q's 4K prowess.

Thankfully Sky is now willing to confirm just what its Sky Q Silver box is going to be capable of. The top-tier hardware does already have HDMI 2.0 silicon inside it, making it a simple firmware update to unlock down the line.

But for some reason Sky opted to software-limit the box at launch.

"The Sky Q Silver box hardware supports up to HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2," a Sky representative told us. "At launch the Sky Q Silver is limited in software for up to 1080p output conforming to the HDMI 1.4b standard – this configuration will be updated to enable 2160p UHD output utilising HDMI 2.0 and HDCP2.2 when Sky makes Ultra HD services available later in 2016."

That means when Sky Q 4K launches - we're guessing in time for the new football season in August - we'll be all set up to salivate over 50fps football in all its silky 4K, high frame rate smoothness.

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