Sky's Ultra HD offering rolling out ahead of Premier League season


UPDATE: Sky's latest Sky Q update is beginning to roll out to customers - and includes the autoplay and autodownload features as well as an update which will allow Ultra HD broadcasts from the new Premier League season.

Sky will roll out the eagerly awaited Ultra HD functionality to its Sky Q Silver boxes by the end of July, and launch the service in time for the opening Premier League match of the season on August 13.

The opening fixture featuring newly-promoted Hull City versus champions Leicester will be the first live 4K broadcast on Sky's platform.

Rival BT has been showing football in UHD for the past year, and Netflix and Amazon have also been offering up 4K content.

Sky, however, will offer a broader range of 4K UHD content, with the European giant also showing major movies, key drama and documentaries in higher resolution.

Variety of content

Among the titles already announced are Bond film Spectre (coming later in the year), The Revenant, TV hit Blacklist, and Sky's David Attenborough natural history documentaries.

Sky Q Silver with UHD

The next Formula One season will also benefit from being shown in Ultra HD.

Sky Q launched earlier in the year, but the company decided to delay 4K UHD as a feature until this summer.

Explaining the delay in offering UHD, Sky's David Cameron explained: "We wanted to bring an Ultra HD product with Sky Q to our customers that gave them the broadest range of content.

"That means not just sport but also entertainment, drama and movies. We were waiting to bring all this together before we brought this to the market."

More functionality

Speaking to TechRadar ahead of the launch, Cameron explained that the next major release of Sky Q would bring a host of updates, including the UHD headliner, but not another feature announced at launch to great fanfare but not working yet, namely connectivity through the powerlines.

David Cameron - Sky

"It is closer," he insisted. "We are testing and trialling but we're not quite releasing that yet, but we do know that's going to be a major advantage so we're definitely working hard on that."

Some of the annoying but relatively rare box crashes that have been occurring on Q boxes should be rectified by the update and there is also some impressive new functionality around predicting what you will want next, which Sky is calling autoplay and autodownload.

For those familiar with Netflix and Amazon Primer the autoplay will feel very familiar - showing a countdown before rolling into the next episode if it's available.

Auto download hopes to make sure that it is available by downloading the next episode in a series when you start watching something. There is also a new option to set the next episode to record from the live channels from a download.

The Sky Q Ultra HD launch date will be staggered as the update is rolled out but is expected to be on Sky Q boxes by the end of July.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.