Sky Q is undoubtedly the TV package to beat right now in the UK – it brings with it multi-room streaming, high-resolution 4K content, an extensive on-demand library, and an interface that's a pleasure to use.
That's not a bad list for starters, and during our time reviewing Sky Q, we were so impressed by its performance that it's hard to think of much that we can fault the service on.
Certainly one of the outstanding aspects of the service is the consistent, unified Sky Q experience you get no matter which device you're on, be it living room TV, tablet, second room Sky Q box, or your phone.
There is a premium price tag attached, but then we'd expect there to be: the quality of the TV content on offer through Sky's magic box makes this one of those rare cases of getting what you pay for even when you're paying a lot.
To make the package even more appealing, the the Sky Go app is now on PlayStation and Xbox, so you can watch in more ways than ever. We've also recently seen the introduction of Now TV, the contract-free streaming option (this is separate to the Sky Q package).
Sky Q has been sorely needed for some time, for Sky to catch up with the way we're all consuming movies and shows these days (bear in mind that Sky HD launched more than a decade ago, which is a long time in technology).
Still not convinced? There's more to come. Recent updates include the arrival of Spotify and voice control, while an integrated Netflix is promised before the end of the year.
This fantastic system is set to get even better, so read on to find out what we think makes it so special.
As good as Sky Q is, it's not for everyone: how do you know whether you should pick it over, say, BT TV or Virgin Media? Or should you just opt for a standalone subscription from the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video instead?
There's no doubt about it, Sky Q is a premium offering, so only consider it if you've got a matching budget to stretch to a premium subscription.
It certainly offers viewers a hefty library of 4K content, and it's gradually becoming more open too. You can already access Spotify from Sky Q after a recent update, and once Netflix is on-board (which we're hoping will be any day now) it'll be all the TV and movie service most of us need.
But what is Sky Q really like to use day in and day out? We've tested everything about the system, so read on for our full impressions.
Latest system updates for Sky Q
Sky Q has been available since 2016. Two years in, there are several features that weren't available at launch. And we know about a few coming soon too.
One important extra you can enjoy now is advanced voice control. Talk to the remote and you can ask for specific movies, or actors, and use commands to navigate the interface. It's a pretty quick way to get around Sky Q.
You can also access Spotify music streaming through your Sky Q box. Your existing Spotify account will work fine, or you can sign up for a free one, which now gives you access to a limited number of playlists you populate yourself.
Sound for your movies has improved too. Sky Q supports overhead Dolby Atmos audio in many of its Sky Cinema movies, to get you closer to the "cinema in your home" experience.
What's coming next? Netflix will be bolted onto Sky Q later this year, making it even easier to pare down the number of home ents boxes in your living room, even if you're a movie streaming obsessive.
HDR is coming as well, we're told. We've been waiting for this for a while, as it is already available through Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Italy's Sky service has already had its first 4K HDR broadcasts, so there can't be too long to wait now.
Sky Q design and setup
Sky Q may be more expensive than some other streamed video services, but its technology is simply ahead of the rest.
It is completely connected – each Sky Q box you add to the system speaks to the others. If you record something on the main box downstairs, you can access it upstairs. If you are mid-watching something, you can pause (as long as it has been recorded or is being recorded), then pick up from where you left off anywhere in your home using the iPad app.
There are two options with Sky Q. We have the pricier Sky Q 2TB box, but there is a 1TB box that can still take advantage of the "Fluid Viewing" experience – it just misses out on a few features.
The standard Sky Q box has 1TB storage, the ability to record three things at once and watch a fourth, and you can also stream to one tablet; both boxes also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Sky Q premium 2TB box ups the storage, lets you record six things and also watch a seventh. And you can stream to two tablets. You also need the higher-end box to watch 4K content.
There's no difference in size between the two. The boxes both measure 232 x 155 x 34mm, which is a considerable reduction in footprint compared to the older Sky HD box (398 x 283 x 81mm for reference).
These main boxes are part of a bigger mesh network. It is powered by a new Sky Hub that offers dual-band wireless 5GHz technology (Sky may have to upgrade your router if you sign up for Sky Q).
As Sky Q creates its own mesh network, there's no additional pressure on your normal Wi-Fi connection. It actually improves Wi-Fi coverage as each box you add also acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The technology behind this mesh network is being provided by AirTies. According to this company, the service allows 10 premium video streams simultaneously from multiple sources, including live broadcast, PVR recording, OTT from the internet or from a local NAS server.