Sky Q HDR coming in 2019, with fully hands-free control trial starting soon

The Sky Q set-top box is the best TV viewing service money can buy in the UK. But the company isn't resting on its laurels, announcing a suite of improvements coming to its platform in the coming months. 

Chief among these will be the introduction of high dynamic range (HDR) video options for its movie and TV content, launching at an unspecified point in 2019. HDR takes advantage of the boosted peak brightness levels modern televisions offer, giving greater definition to contrast levels, and a richer colour palette as a result. 

Also announced was a planned trial for improved voice control options with Sky Q later in the year. While the specifics of the “fully hands-free” system were not divulged, we'd guess it includes deeper control options than simply content searching.

The box’s remote already offers a microphone for voice search, which is activated by a button push – could this mic go 'always on', or be supplemented with entirely new hardware? Or could there be a new partnership with one of the existing voice assistants, like Alexa in the Amazon Echo or Google Assistant in the Google Home?

More to come

Some more subtle changes will be coming to Sky Q too.

The company will be adding individual profiles for multiple users, allowing for tailored recommendations for each member of the family. This will come into its own when voice control rolls out.

Sky will also be making Sky Q more child-friendly, with a 'kids mode' that ensures little ones can be left unattended watching the TV, without stumbling over adult content.

As well as the above additions to the service, Sky will be doubling the amount of 4K UHD coming to the platform as well as bringing a host of new shows to its channels, including Chernobyl, a mini-series based on the 1986 disaster at the Russian nuclear plant, which is a co-production with HBO. And of course that's not forgetting the massive return of Game of Thrones, entering into its final season.

What has yet to be mentioned, however, is a release date for the long-awaited integration of Netflix into the service. We'll keep you posted.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.