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Latest Sky Q update brings new features, UI overhaul and HDR content for Disney Plus

Jonathan Bray
8 Jul 2020
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A string of new features and a user interface overhaul spells good news for Sky Q stalwarts

Sky Q has been with us for a few years now and updates to the platform are a fairly regular occurrence. Sky’s latest update, however, looks to be one of the biggest yet, bringing some user interface changes with it and some pretty major new features and improvements, as well as more HDR content for Disney Plus subscribers.

The changes will begin to roll out to existing customers starting on 8 July. Not everyone will get the new look straight away, though – it’ll take around four weeks to roll out to everyone – so be patient.

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New Sky Q: What does the new user interface look like?

The new-look Sky Q won't be like going from the old Sky Plus to Sky Q. The deep vibrant blue background of the existing colour scheme is carrying over and the general design language is similar.

However, your main homepage is going to look quite different. Whereas before, the menu items such as Home, TV Guide, Recording, Catchup and Apps would be ranged down the left of the screen with selected content presented in a larger portion to the right, the selected content will now occupy the whole screen, with the menus hidden away.

You’ll still be able to get to those menus, but only with a left-click on the remote control:

The result is an interface that will be familiar to users of streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+, with a series of horizontal content “rails” arranged across the screen in a vertical stack.

Another of the major new user interface features – and one I think that most people will welcome – is the introduction of a new organisational screen called Show Centre. This is one page that collects all past, future and current episodes of a show, including recordings, on-demand and downloadable episodes of that particular show.

I haven’t had the chance to put this to the test just yet, but it sounds like the ideal antidote to the current method, where bits of series are often found in different places. That’s not all, though. There’s also a new “smart button” that will switch between “Continue”, “Delete”, “Watch from start” or “Play the next episode” depending on what you watched last.

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New Sky Q: Sports centres

Just like Show Centre, Sports Centres will collect content together under a particular sports type so you don’t have to guess what channel your match might be on.

Like Show Centre, Sports Centres bring together recorded, on-demand and live content for sports such as Football, Cricket and Formula 1, in theory making it easier to cope with the avalanche of content there is available on Sky Q. There's even a league view in the Football sports page, allowing you to quickly check up on the situation at the top or bottom of the table.

New Sky Q: Voice search improvements and more HDR

These UI changes are not all, though. Viewers will also be able to enjoy Disney Plus in HDR, adding to the HDR content previously announced on the platform.

And Sky has further improved the platform’s voice-search facility. As well as searching for specific programmes, actors and launching channels, users will now also be able to search by theme or genre, for example “comedies with Michael Keaton” or “thrillers with Harrison Ford”.

The new Sky Q changes will swing into place from 8 July 2020, with Sky hoping to complete the process of rolling out the update in four weeks.

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