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Sky Glass

Sky Glass: Sky unveils its first TV sets with built-in Atmos sound

7 Oct 2021
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Sky goes dish-less with its first TV sets, includes Dolby Atmos soundbars from only £13 per month

Sky has unveiled its own range of 4K TVs for the first time. Dubbed Sky Glass, the new range has “Sky inside”, which lets customers watch Sky TV in exactly the same way as they can with their current Sky Q boxes, except that they won’t need to mount a satellite on the outside of the house. Everything will be streamed via broadband.

Available in 43in, 55in and 65in sizes, the TVs come in five colours (ocean blue, dusky pink, racing green, ceramic white and anthracite black), have 10-bit, quantum dot panels that support Dolby Vision, and will also come with built-in Dolby Atmos soundbars, so you don’t even need to pay extra to get acceptable audio. 

In terms of specifics, that quantum dot panel is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) jobbie with HDR10 decoding and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). Sky describes the local dimming tech (for HDR content) as “intelligent zonal technology on all sides”, which suggests an edge-lit arrangement.

The sound system has six drivers: two up-firing units, two angled to the side for the left and right channels, a centre speaker and a subwoofer for the bass. This arrangement benefits from self-explanatory Bass Boost, Enhance Speech Quality and Night Mode features, plus Dolby Digital and Stereo 2.1 audio format support (on top of Atmos).

At the launch event, I had the opportunity to have a quick listen and it's surprisingly good, pumping out audio at loud enough levels to fill a large room. I won't deliver a final verdict here and now but I can say one thing reasonably definitively: although sound quality won't be a match for a big, beefy soundbar, it's clearly vastly superior to most other TVs in its price bracket.

Sky has also redesigned its voice remote control. This is now simplified, with fewer big buttons and a backlight so you can see what you’re doing in the dark; in a nice touch, the new remote is also colour-matched with your TV.

On the connectivity front, the Sky Glass has three HDMI 2.1 ports with eARC and CEC support; one USB-C port for delivering up to 15W of power; and a single 230V AC port. The set also supports Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and has an Ethernet port that supports bandwidths between 10-100Mbits/sec.

The panel refreshes at a maximum of 60Hz, ruling out high frame rates on next-gen consoles in spite of the surplus of HDMI 2.1 ports. 

If you'd like an idea of how much space Sky Glass will consume in your living room, here’s a rundown of the dimensions and weights of each panel size:

ModelDimensions WHD (with stand)Weight (with stand)
43in96 x 63 x 5cm (96 x 64 x 21cm)14kg (19kg)
55in123 x 78 x 5cm (123 x 79 x 25cm)23kg (28kg)
65in145 x 90 x 5cm (145 x 91 x 29cm)28kg (35kg)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Sky Glass, however, is that, although you can buy the TVs outright, you don’t have to.

When it’s available (from 18 October), you’ll be able to buy Sky Glass TVs as you would a mobile phone. The 43in TV will cost £13 per month, the 55in £17 per month and the 65in will be £21 per month. These are effectively interest-free loans spread over four (or two) years each, and once you've finished paying you’ll own the TV. 

This being Sky, you’ll also be able to purchase the TV in a bundle with Sky TV packages, with prices starting at £39 per month. You’ll also be able to swap to new models as they become available and, for an extra £10 per month, you’ll get access Sky’s new Whole Home system, which comes with the new Sky Streaming Puck that lets you watch Sky TV in other rooms and on other TVs.

Unlike the current Sky mini boxes, these don't need to connect to the Sky Glass TV to get their content; instead, they hook up directly via Wi-Fi 6 to your home network and then to the internet. Neither do they create their own mesh network as the Sky Q mini boxes do and, despite the fact that the Puck will work independently of Sky Glass, you won't be able to buy the Streaming Puck separately.

However, the Puck isn’t limited like the current mini boxes are; indeed, it delivers all the same features – 4K Dolby Vision streaming 4K TV, voice search and so on – as the Sky Glass TV.

For the purists, Sky Glass can be bought outright, too, and prices look pretty reasonable for a TV with a built-in soundbar. The 43in set will be available for £649, the 55in for £849 and the 65in TV for £1,049.

Whatever way you choose to pay, however, it's worth noting that you won’t be able to run the new system alongside an existing Sky Q box in the same household without paying for a separate subscription. That means customers will need to choose whether to jump ship from a pre-existing Sky Q-based system and TV to Sky Glass, a decision made more complicated by the fact that they’ll be upgrading their TV at the same time.

We’ll be updating this story with more details as we get them and, eventually, we’ll have a full review for you. Watch this space.

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