Sky Stream: Sky Reveals Its Answer to Netflix and Amazon Prime

Published on October 17, 2022

Sky Stream, represents Sky at its very finest.

(Image credit: Sky)

At the device’s launch party, the company revealed some of the ease-of-use improvements coming to Sky Glass (and by extension, Sky Stream) in the coming months—and it is difficult to fault the new hardware besides its steep price tag.

Sky has just made Glass available to all UK broadband consumers who want to stream content directly to their televisions without having to pay for a new set.

Sky Stream is a Sky Glass drinking coaster that has been condensed into a streaming puck. You can get all of Sky’s current channels, shows, and applications by plugging one of these devices into your existing home display via HDMI, eliminating the need for an external dish. By using Wi-Fi alone, you will get access to Sky Atlantic and Netflix, amongst other things.

With Sky Stream, you can stream content in up to 4K HDR and audio (if your existing TV is able to). You will also get access to Sky Glass’ playlist and recommendation features as well as its voice control functionality (except for its remote-less voice control option).

On October 18, 2022, Sky Stream will be available for £26 per month. You will receive Sky Ultimate TV, Netflix Basic, and a discounted set-up fee of £20, but you will be required to sign a contract for 18 months. If you want to go with a month-to-month contract, Sky Stream will cost you £29 per month, but you will have to pay £39.95 for set up.

(Image credit: Sky)

That said, additional add-ons like Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, BT Sport, and non-Netflix streaming services will increase the monthly cost, as will having five additional Sky Stream pucks (for five additional TVs) in your home for an extra £12 per month.

True, Sky Stream is costly. Even if you want to subscribe to Sky Atlantic, Netflix, Disney Plus, and Sky Sports all at once, you’d still end up paying more than with Virgin Media (whose own comparable allows you to mix and match subscriptions every 30 days).

With Sky Stream, you receive almost all of the advantages of Sky Glass—4K UHD streaming, Dolby Atmos sound, and Sky’s formidable “walled garden” user experience (as outlined in our assessment)—for less than the amount of Sky Glass.

Sky says Sky Stream remains is the most economical way to get Sky entertainment, and it works with any TV over any broadband connection with a minimum speed of 10Mbps. It may be “economical” in Sky’s eyes, but the fact that it is cheaper than other Sky products remains the important factor here.

Sky Stream is an all-around excellent Sky device. Some of the usability improvements coming to Sky Glass (and by extension, Sky Stream) in the near future were unveiled at the device’s launch event, and it is difficult to fault the new hardware aside from its hefty price tag.

There are lots of exciting updates to look forward to

Sky has decided against creating dedicated user profiles on Glass based on its dedication to shared viewing. Customers will soon be able to create multiple, profile-like Playlists for different users. Because of this, Sky has been reluctant to implement dedicated user profiles. When the ‘+’ button is pressed on the Sky remote, a list of curated Playlists will be displayed.

Having the ability to create multiple Playlists on Sky Glass/Stream keeps the interface focused on what you, personally, want to watch in a household of multiple viewers (families in particular). While watching live TV, you won’t be required to identify yourself. This might sound like a trivial improvement, but in practice it keeps the interface focused on your needs as a user.

Playlists are being positioned at the front of the icon menu, ahead of movies, TV programs, and buttons linking to dedicated streaming library websites. Furthermore, the most recent episodes will be positioned at the front of series-specific web pages, eliminating the need to scroll through 30 episodes of Gogglebox. Lastly, the ‘Because you watched’ slide will be replaced by a ‘Continue watching’ slide.

Those who already own Sky Glass will soon see a substantial picture quality boost. Sky is preparing to release a firmware update that will alter backlight dimming on their TVs, improving black levels and contrast ratios as well as detecting black bars during movies much better. We were able to compare Sky Glass’ current picture quality with what will soon be available and the improvements are plainly visible.

Sky says improvements to voice controls, Playlists, and picture quality (on Sky Glass) are scheduled to be released between October 17 and Christmas 2022.

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