The next generation of Sky television arrived several months back with the latest Sky Q service, but 4K was nowhere to be seen. Now the company has unveiled its latest Sky Ultra HD service which will be available as soon as August.
Anyone with a 4K TV and Sky Q Silver subscription will be able to enjoy movies, TV shows and sports all in UHD – meaning 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution goodness.
While 4K capable televisions have been around for a while now, finding something to watch has been tougher. Netflix, Amazon and YouTube have content but it’s still limited. Sky aims to change that with its Ultra HD service which launches with more movies, shows and sports than any one person could consume without quitting their nine-to-five.
So how do you get it, what’s going to be available and how does it all work? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Sky Q Ultra HD: What can I watch in 4K?
Sky is all about the content. That’s why it’s launching the Ultra HD service with the first Premier League game of the season – Hull City v Leicester City – on 13 August. This will be followed by live 4K broadcasts of 124 Premier League games. There will also be the entire Formula 1 2017 season aired in UHD 4K. But it goes beyond sports.
Sky will also be airing the world premiere of the latest Bond film, Spectre in Ultra HD along with a total of 70 movies. Hits like Leonardo DiCaprio’s award-winning The Revenant and Matt Damon’s The Martian will be available right away. Then there are greats like Forrest Gump, The Godfather, Zoolander and many more all in 4K too. Then there’s TV shows.
Sky Ultra HD shows will include 30 hours of natural history documentaries, including David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies and Sky 1’s Big Cats: An Amazing Animal Family. There will also be five new dramas including Jude Law’s The Young Pope and the latest series of The Blacklist, all in UHD.
Sky Q Ultra HD: How does it work?
Sky Q is the big jump forward in home cinema here, the UHD part is simply a software update that enables the higher quality viewing.
If you have the full Sky Q Silver package that’ll mean one main box attached to the sky dish and internet plus up to two smaller boxes which simply plug into mains power and TV anywhere else in the home. These are connected over Wi-Fi and even double as Wi-Fi signal boosters about your home. They mean you can watch and record multiple shows at once in three different rooms.
For Ultra HD the TV and film content will be downloaded over your broadband connection. If it’s good enough you should be watching within seconds of selecting the content, all in glorious 4K at 25 frames per second. When it comes to sport, which is aired live, this is sent over the sky dish as a broadcast. This is also at UHD resolution but will be faster at 50 frames per second to best capture all the high-speed action. These can also be watched after the live broadcast via the download method – which is so fast on a good connection that it feels more like streaming.
Some other nice updates that come with the Ultra HD software roll-out include:
- Auto download, which will start buffering the next episode of a series while you’re watching, so it’s ready when you finish.
- Auto play, which follows on from the download phase meaning when a show ends you’ll be automatically jumped to the next episode after 30 seconds, unless you select back or choose to jump right in.
- Series record can be controlled so it will get you all set for a box set binge without you having to do anything.
- The ability to skip through content using the play head marker to get to the exact minute you want.
- Top picks will now promote live content, as well as downloadable.
Sky Q Ultra HD: How do I get it?
For current Sky Q Silver subscribers there’s not much to do. An update will roll out at the end of July that will make the boxes in the house all 4K ready. All you’ll need to do is change the output, in settings > audio visual to 2160p UHD. Then when the first games, shows and movies become available on August 13th you can enjoy them in all their 4K glory.
For non-subscribers, it’ll mean either upgrading to Sky Q Silver or taking out a whole new subscription. Aside from paying there’s little else you need to do as Sky will get it all setup for you.
In both cases you’ll need a 4K UHD capable television. This means it’ll need to support HDCP 2.2 and output at the higher resolution. Nearly any television you buy now that says it’s 4K capable will be able to run Sky Q Ultra HD. The Sky setup comes with the right HDMI cables so you shouldn’t need to worry about that as an issue either.
Sky Q Ultra HD: How much does it cost?
For Sky Q Silver subscribers there is no extra cost on top of the existing monthly bill.
If you’re a Sky+ HD subscriber it’ll cost you about £12 extra per month to enjoy the Sky Q Ultra HD upgrade with a one-off fee for the hardware.
Going for the Sky Q basic bundle will cost you from £44 per month plus hardware costs varying based on your package. On top of that, Sky Cinema is £18 per month, and Sports if £27.50 per month.
There are plenty of other options to pay on different scales, all of which can be found at sky.com.
Read next: What is Sky Q?