Sky Q adds Voice Guidance and dark mode accessibility features

Sky Q
(Image credit: Sky)

Sky is continuing with its now-regular update drop of features coming to its Sky Q and Sky Go TV and streaming platforms. And if you’re looking for more accessibility features from the TV viewing experience, this is the update you’ve been waiting for.

The Sky Q update for Spring 2021 is heavily focussed around accessibility features, as the broadcaster pushes to make its content more readily available to all customers, right across the spectrum of accessibility needs.

Voice Guidance is chief among these. Easily switched on by saying, “Voice Guidance on” or “Voice Guidance Off” into your Sky Q voice remote, it will offer spoken descriptions of menus from the Sky Q UI as you’re navigating them. Without such a feature, blind and partially sighted users would have to memorise placements and button presses to get to the item they’re searching for.

Voice search generally is getting a boost too – those using their voices to search for specific content in Sky’s expanding library of third-party content providers will be pleased to hear that Disney Plus shows and movies can now be found through voice searches.

This is in addition to the High Contrast mode (aka ‘dark mode’) option that Sky introduced towards the end of last year, putting easier-to-read white text against a black background throughout the UI, as well as an accessibility remote control with larger text and tactile point buttons, and the option to search for “British Sign Language Zone” content via voice command.

Sky Go gets Recap

It’s not only Sky Q preparing for the next update, either. Sky Go, the mobile / streaming option that’s bundled in with Sky TV packages, is also getting a fresh lick of paint.

The main new addition to the Go platform will be the introduction of ‘Recap’ playback for sporting events. It’s already available on the Sky Q box, and allows a sports fan to catch up on the key moments of a game in progress with picture-in-picture highlights of a match so far. It’s been hugely popular on the home box, and should prove equally useful on the go.

The Sky Go app is slowly closing in on parity with the at-home Sky Q box experience too – at least in terms of curation. Tailored homepage content, including a “today’s top picks” rail now pulls in a combination of platform algorithm data along with your own taste profile and content suitable to the time of day to make suggestions on Go. The “Continue Watching” feature now extends to content watched either on the Sky Q or Sky Go services, letting you pick up and carry on with a show from wherever you are, no matter which device you continue from.

Sky is also committing to taking better advantage of the unique platform features of the devices that Sky Go can be found on, be that games consoles, Android tablets or iOS phones. For instance, you can find Sky Go widgets for use in the latest versions of iOS, including deep-link recommendations and last-played bookmarks that can sit in your sidebar.

Though no fixed release date has been yet set for the above updates across Sky Q or Sky Go, Sky is expecting users to see the new addition roll out to their devices from the end of March into early April.

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.