Our Verdict

Sky has created a TV platform that finally fits with a modern home. Sky Q is the first time we've seen a television ecosystem so tuned in to the connected home. By flinging live and recorded content around the home and across your mobile devices Sky Q could be the ultimate home entertainment platform - but you have to pay for it.

For

  • Seamless across multiple screens
  • Responsive OS and remote
  • Slick tablet and phone downloads
  • Great looking 4K content

Against

  • High price
  • Netflix support not here... yet

Sky Q puts all its focus on delivering the highest quality visuals to your TV set or smaller screen. If you sign-up to a high-end Sky Q package, you'll even be able to stream in 4K resolution. For that reason, and many, many others, it might well be the best TV platform that a subscription can currently buy you.

The great thing is that whether you're in your living room watching your big, main TV or in your bedroom watching your iPad or smartphone, you'll be getting exactly the same Sky experience. 

And this isn't the first time Sky has put its efforts into an approach that takes all the rooms in your home into account. The previous Sky multi-room package spread the TV platform throughout your home by utilising a network of set-top boxes. But more recently, the Sky Go app has come to PlayStation and Xbox. That means you can get Sky multi-room without needing to get a Sky engineer out to sort it all out for you. 

There's also been the introduction of Now TV, Sky's contract-free streaming option. And although Now TV and the standard Sky package have always been good services, they don't connect up with each other well - instead they sit in silos.

That's why Sky Q is so great. It's like the connective tissue for Sky's TV service, and it's been sorely needed for some time. That's because since Sky HD launched more than a decade ago, the broadcast game has been changing.

We're now got our fingers crossed for Netflix integration, which could be coming later this year.

Sky Q review

But although Sky Q has a lot of great plus points, 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 the budget to stretch to a premium subscription to match. But it does successfully offer viewers something unique. No one else has the same 4K library as Sky.

It's also worth mentioning that it's gradually becoming more open. You can already access Spotify from Sky Q, and once Netflix is on-board 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

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 too. 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.

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.

Sky Q review

There are two options with Sky Q. We have the pricier Sky Q 2TB box, but there is a1TB 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. They both measure 232 x 155 x 34mm, which is a considerable reduction in footprint compared to the older Sky HD box - it swells to as large as 398 x 283 x 81mm.

Sky Q review

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.

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, recorded on PVR, OTT from the internet or from a local NAS server.