Sky is making its Sky Glass experience available on any television with any broadband internet connection. Providing a similar user interface to the integrated Sky Glass television launched in October 2021, this is likely to have more general appeal. Sky Stream uses a small box to deliver online programming over a home network to any screen with an HDMI input, with no satellite dish or installation required and the promise of next-day delivery. Ding, dong, the dish is dead.
Sky Stream offers over 120 channels on a 31-day rolling subscription starting at £26 a month that can be cancelled at any time, or with a discount for an 18-month contract. There is a £40 set-up fee, reducing to £20 for the 18-month commitment.
Both plans include a Netflix basic subscription. Add-on packs are required for Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, UHD and Dolby Atmos. For an extra £12 a month customers can add up to five additional Sky Stream devices in their home, assuming their broadband connection is sufficient.
“Sky’s always reinvented the TV experience and offered the best content – but it’s not always been accessible to everyone,” said Stephen van Rooyen, the chief executive of Sky for the United Kingdom and Europe.”
It opens up the market to those in apartments or that move frequently. Not only is there no need for the installation of a satellite dish, but the rolling contract can be cancelled at any time.
Unlike the Sky Glass proposition, the puck device can be used with any television or monitor with an HDMI connection, meaning that users are not limited to a particular screen and can upgrade at any time. It can connect to a home network over Wi-Fi or a wired ethernet port.
The Sky Stream boxes have to date only been available as add-ons to a Sky Glass display. The box supports ultra-high-definition and high-dynamic range, and it enables Dolby Atmos on a compatible soundbar. While these are all integrated in a Sky Glass screen, the market for Sky Stream is much larger.
As with Sky Glass, there is no local recording option, although there is a personal Playlist feature that allows users to tag shows from apps and channels for later viewing and the ability to Restart live programmes from the beginning. Critically, it will not be possible to skip through adverts.
Sky is continuing to offer its Sky Q satellite service, for the moment. With millions of installed dishes pointing to the Astra constellation in the 28 degrees East orbital slot it is likely to be maintained for a while yet, for those that still do not have adequate broadband to support ultra-high-definition television services. However, the writing may be on the wall for the satellite dish and those that install them.
The low-cost NOW online service powered by Sky is also still available, at least as a service if no longer as a box, but its role is now less clear, with Sky Stream offering access to full packages on a flexible basis.
Virgin Media O2 launched its own online box in April, also called Stream, also without requiring a long-term contract, although it does require their broadband service. BT offers a similar4K TV Pro Box, which only works with BT Broadband.
Sky Stream will be available from 18 October, online and through Sky retail hubs.