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What do you get with Sky Q?

What do you get with Sky Q - featured

Here’s everything you need to know about Sky Q, including how much it costs and what you get for your money

Sky Q is an all-in-one satellite TV service from the British telecommunications conglomerate that provides access to live TV channels and streaming services in one neat package.

With almost one-third of UK households opting to have Sky TV in their home, and the service only beaten by Freeview in terms of popularity, there’s little doubt that Sky’s TV packages are an attractive option for many.

However, streaming sticks have become an increasingly popular way of accessing streaming apps. Sky has also jumped on the streaming bandwagon with its Sky Stream service and Sky Glass TV, so consumers have plenty of alternatives to choose from.

This begs the question: what exactly do you gain from picking Sky Q over the other options out there? We’ll be answering that question below, diving into exactly what Sky Q offers its customers and at what cost, while also imparting our expert opinion following extensive use of the service.

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What is Sky Q?

Sky Q is Sky’s flagship satellite subscription service and was launched in 2016 to replace its previous offerings, Sky+ and Sky+ HD. It serves as a comprehensive multimedia platform that combines traditional satellite television with on-demand and catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer, ITVX and Channel 4.

In addition to live and on-demand content from over 300 core channels, including Sky Original programming, Sky Q integrates access to popular third-party streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify.

Content is searchable via voice commands using the remote, and you can control playback by pausing, rewinding and restarting live and on-demand TV. There’s plenty of physical storage to save your shows to and, unlike cloud-based recording methods or streaming services, what you’ve recorded is yours until it’s deleted.

READ NEXT: Sky Q review

What do you get with Sky Q and how much does it cost?

Sky Q is available from £31/mth on an 18-month contract. This provides you with a set-top Sky Q box – which has a one-off set-up fee of £20 – and grants access to over 300 channels as part of Sky’s Signature TV bundle. Additionally, subscribers receive a complimentary subscription to the Netflix Basic plan for the entire duration of the contract.

You get a sleek 1TB or 2TB Sky Q set-top box as part of your purchase, but you’ll also be able to stream content on the move with Sky Go, Sky’s mobile streaming app.

What do you get with Sky Q

You can customise your TV channel package beyond the core offering. Optional extras include the popular Sky Sports channels for an extra £20/mth and Sky Cinema for £12/mth, while subscriptions to third-party services such as Disney+, which costs £8.99/mth, are available to purchase via the My Sky shop.

There are a couple of other add-ons to consider, too. For the crispest viewing experience possible, Ultra HD + HD is available for an extra £12/mth on a rolling 31-day contract. This provides access to a range of FHD and 4K channels, though it’s important to note that not every channel has a UHD version and that you’ll need a 4K TV to watch those that do.

Similarly, you can watch Sky TV in multiple rooms with a subscription to Sky Multiscreen (£15/mth). This will bag you one Sky Q Mini Box and you can have up to four per household, with each extra unit costing £50.


What do we think of Sky Q?

In our Sky Q review, the set-top box was awarded the highest honour we give out: five stars and a Best Buy award.

Why exactly? Well, there’s nothing that tops it in terms of satellite TV systems. We celebrated its nifty features such as the ability to record up to six shows and watch a seventh simultaneously, as well as its responsive user interface and wide range of high-definition channels. Playback is simple and delay-free, there’s heaps of hard-disk storage and plenty of internet-enabled apps to enjoy, too.

There are a couple of caveats, however. The necessity of a dish installation and the limitation of its Mini boxes to 1080p resolution may deter potential users, especially those in rented or apartment dwellings. If dish installation is an issue, Sky Stream and Sky Glass, which use your existing Wi-Fi connection to deliver content, are superior choices.

What do you get with Sky Q

The key difference between Sky Q and those services is that it’s not affected by internet connection problems. This means it avoids frustrating delays or stoppages – especially irritating when watching live sports – but also drops in visual quality and other annoyances such as slower speeds when rewinding/fast-forwarding content.

Streaming-based options such as Sky Stream also store saved shows on virtual cloud storage, which is in smaller supply than hard disk recording systems such as Sky Q. Your shows could be removed without your knowledge, too, if a streaming provider opts to make it unavailable. In contrast, what’s recorded with Sky Q is yours to keep, as mentioned previously.

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What are the alternatives to Sky Q?

Sky Q is the ultimate set-top satellite box, but it’s quite pricey and there may be other options that suit you better depending on how and where you watch your telly.

The next most popular choice after Sky TV in the UK is Virgin Media. It doesn’t offer a standalone TV package at present, but it does bundle together broadband, calls and over 100 TV channels for around £32/mth. If you were to get the same sort of package from Sky, you’d be paying around double that amount, so this is a solid option for all-round ease.

Your cheapest terrestrial TV channels-only option is purchasing a Freeview box (assuming your TV doesn’t already cater for such channels). Beyond the initial outlay, it will cost you absolutely nothing per month and you’ll be able to watch over 70 channels. If you have internet access, you can also watch shows on demand via Freeview Play (which may also be built into your TV).

If you enjoy the Sky ecosystem and its selection of channels but want a lower-cost, more flexible alternative, Sky Stream may be for you. It provides almost all the same channels (a full list is available here) on a rolling 31-day contract and without the need to install a satellite dish, so is ideal for renters for whom this isn’t always possible.

What do you get with Sky Q

The downside is that you won’t get the same reliability as you do satellite-backed coverage, which doesn’t rely on internet connectivity. For a full comparison between the two services, read our in-depth guide Sky Stream vs Sky Q.

Those primarily interested in easy access to popular on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Disney+ may wish to consider one of the best streaming sticks. They’re a plug-and-play option for your existing TV and can be used to access various streaming apps that require a paid-for subscription, as well as a few that will let you watch live TV broadcasts for free.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd gen) is currently our pick of the bunch, just ahead of the slightly cheaper Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd gen). These cost £70 and £60 respectively but, beyond this initial outlay, you’ll only need to pay for subscriptions to the paid-for services you plan to watch.

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