On the 18th October (2021), Sky launched Sky Glass, a new way to access Sky TV without the need for a satellite dish. Unlike other Sky TV services, Sky Glass uses a specially designed TV, eliminating the need for a separate box. The new service utilises an internet connection, with a minimum speed of 10mbps to stream the channels, instead of a satellite dish. However, the TV can be connected to a terrestrial aerial, which functions as a backup only for a limited number of channels, should the internet connection fail.
The channel line up broadly mirrors that of the main Sky service, with all Sky Channels (including Pick and Challenge), plus those from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, ViacomCBS, Warner Bros. Discovery, UKTV, and BT Sport available. HD (high definition) channels are include as standard, including (for the first time on any platform) all BBC One regions in HD, and HD versions of 5 Star, 5 USA, and Paramount Network not currently in HD via satellite.
However, not all channels available with Sky’s satellite service are available on Sky Glass, as Sky has not concluded carriage deals with all broadcasters for inclusion on Sky Glass. Notable absentees are Freesports, GB News, Great TV and other Great branded channels, children’s channel Pop, QVC, and the Now branded music channels, amongst others. Some of these may be added in the near future, but Sky are yet to confirm this.
The usual Sky Q features, such as voice control and the pausing of live programmes are also included in the new Sky Glass TVs. However, unlike with previous Sky Q and Sky HD boxes, recordings are stored ‘in the cloud’ on a remote server instead of the users device. It is unclear what impact this will have, but this should enable users of the TV to access recordings on another device should the TV fail. However, Sky have not confirmed this. One drawback is that viewers will be unable to access recordings without an internet connection.
The new Sky Glass TVs are ulta HD (4K) compatible, and also feature Dolby Vision, 5 speakers, and a sub-woofer. This reduces the need for an external sound bar. The TV is available in 3 sizes; small (43″), medium (55″) and large (65″), and can be bought upfront or with the cost spread over 24 or 48 months. The TV costs £26, £34, or £42 a month respectively if spread over 24 months (not including the subscription). An ongoing Sky subscription is required to access most features, however. Sky will deliver and set up the TV, but although the Sky Glass TV can be wall mounted, you will need to arrange for this yourself.
Like Sky Q, Sky Glass can also be added to other TVs, using a device called Sky Puck. This is a set top box which plugs into your existing TV, costing £50 each. This adds a £10 surcharge to the subscription cost, but a single surcharge covers all Sky Puck devices. Unlike Sky Q miniboxes, the new Sky Puck devices are 4K compatible.
This is not the first time Sky have innovated with a new product idea. Sky has already successfully launched dish free services in Germany and Italy, but this has been with a more convential set top box based service. Time will tell if the new Sky Glass service is successful.