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Tipex

Sky Q

11 posts in this topic

I've been living with Sky Q for the best part of a couple of days now so thought I'd post up my thoughts so far.

I'll do the negatives first, there's a few of them and some of them seem to have carried over from Sky+ HD.

The planner, Sky still insist on having the HD channels in the wrong place, why can't BBC1 HD be in the spot that's currently occupied by BBC1 SD? Every other TV box I've had (and my freeview TV's) automatically put the HD version of a channel in the correct location, why would I want to watch BBC1 in SD when it's also available in HD?

The work around for this on Sky+ HD was to set all the HD channels up in the correct order in 'favourites' unfortunately Sky Q doesn't have the favourites option.

Just to add insult to injury, the picture quality on some SD channels is awful, which makes the HD channel placement all the more annoying.

I've got used to the BT YouView planner, the Sky planner seems archaic by comparison, I'm really going to miss being able to scroll back through the planner (to earlier in the day or even back as far as a week) and simply selecting something I missed and watching it.

I also don't like the way when scrolling in the Sky planner the 'cursor' always stays on the top line, meaning the whole planner moves every time you scroll up or down, on YouView the cursor can move around the whole screen, only scrolling the planner when you get to the bottom/top and keep scrolling, this sounds trivial but makes it much easier to view sever channels at once and quickly highlight something to read a description without the other channels disappearing off the screen.

The biggest issue with the planner, though, is the fact the remote does not have a button that takes you directly to it.

To get to the planner you have to press 'home' then scroll up 4 times, then scroll right twice, this is surely a huge oversight on Sky's part? It could be made much better (but still not perfect) if when pressing 'home' it didn't default to 'Top Picks' but to 'TV Guide' instead, that would eliminate the 4 button presses to scroll up to it.

What would make it perfect would be a dedicated button on the remote, sadly they aren't going to be able to physically add a button to everyone's remote but they could assign one of the four coloured buttons as a shortcut key.

The new Sky remotes, you get two remotes with the Q Silver box, the posh one with the touch pad and touch sensitive scroll bar, and the 'normal' remote with buttons instead of the touch pad which the Q mini boxes also come with, the posh one makes the old Sky+ remotes seem like Fisher Price 'my first remotes'.

They ooze quality and feel great in the hands, they connect via Bluetooth so you don't have to aim them at the box, they also have a voice button on the side so you'll be able to talk to the remote once this feature is activated.

The non touch remotes don't feel quite as nice, but still much better than the old Sky+ ones, they also don't have the voice button and they are IR rather than Bluetooth.

As mentioned previously, none of them have a button to take you directly to the TV guide.

Syncing them to your TV is much easier than with old Sky+ remotes, there is a dedicated 'remotes' section in the settings menu which does everything for you, amusingly you can set up an old Sky+ remote too but it's labelled as an 'easy grip' remote for people with special needs.

The spinning circle Sky boxes are famous for is incredibly bright on the Q Silver box, it's also a Q not a circle, unfortunately there is currently no option to disable it or reduce it's brightness

On to the positive side, the main Q Sliver box is much smaller than a Sky+ box and looks much more modern, sleek and oozes quality, it's still about twice the size of the BT box we had though.

The Q Mini boxes are much smaller, they still look good but really are designed to be hidden away I think, they don't have the bright blue spinning circle (well, Q) which is handy as it'd light up a dark bedroom.

The whole menu system makes the Sky+ box feel like something from the past, it's very crisp and clear and looks fantastic, there are some issues though, mainly with the menu structure which isn't exactly intuitive, I dare say Sky will reorganise this with an update at some point as some things can be found in multiple places, but not where you'd expect them.

Overall it's a massive leap from the Sky+ menu.

The 'search and scan' banner has some great features, on the Silver box (but not the mini boxes) if you scroll it to a different channel it will show you a live picture of what is on (picture in picture type of thing) and if you then switch to that channel it is instantaneous, no black screen for a second or so.

When watching on demand content if you bring up the banner it shows other episodes of what you are watching and you can trigger the downloading of more episodes directly without having to go in to the menu, strangely though, there is no timeout for the banner, it'll stay on the screen until you press the back button, this can be a bit annoying as it's a different button, pressing 'I' or 'Select' brings it up, but a second press doesn't drop it away, meaning you have to find the back button, another annoyance albeit a minor one.

The apps section looks like it will be quite good once it has more apps, you press the button with three dots on it and the apps bar slides in from the right, currently it just has Sky apps (Sky news, Sky Sports) a weather app and 'photos' which apparently displays all your Facebook pictures, hopefully there is more to come, a Netflix app would be fantastic, the BT box had Netflix and it was by far the most convenient way to watch.

All the boxes support Apple AirPlay, so you can play music directly from your phone, they also support Bluetooth so you can stream music from other non Apple devices, officially AirPlay only supports music, but I've been streaming YouTube videos via AirPlay and it works perfectly.

The boxes also have YouTube and Vevo on then, but strangely they don't come up in the Apps section, you have to scroll deep in to the menu to find them which is odd, I expect they will be added to Apps in due course.

The powerline tech is officially not implemented yet, however, the option is there to turn it on, and it works, I suspect Sky have experienced some bugs with it though and will officially 'turn it on' in a future update.

The wifi hotspots seem to working well, we never really had much of an issue with wifi signal, and you can't tell which box you are connected to as it creates what Sky call a 'mesh' where every box talks to every other box.

You can have up to 4 mini boxes connected to each sliver box, however, you can only use two mini boxes concurrently, it's possible to be recording four shows at the same time while watching a fifth, at the same time the two mini boxes can watch one channel and record another (all recordings stored on the silver box) and you can stream to two iPads at the same time, that makes 11 tuners, the twelfth tuner is dedicated to the picture in picture function.

The fluid viewing thing as both great and flawed, you can access any recording on any box, but in the adverts they show someone pausing live TV, then resuming in a different room, this kind of works, but only with recorded content, the work around for live TV is to simply press record, then pause it, that way you can resume in another room, again, another minor annoyance.

Overall I'm very happy with it, it's a huge leap from Sky+ and once they iron out the niggles it will be fantastic, there's a lot more I could go in to, but this post is long enough already, if anyone has any specific questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Edited by Tipex
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I wonder if the BBC SD and BBC HD placement is down to the fact regional news variations are non HD.

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I don't have Sky, but fair play for the detailed write-up, Tipex. 

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I wonder if the BBC SD and BBC HD placement is down to the fact regional news variations are non HD.

Possibly, but BT manage to get them in the right place, you just get the 'BBC local news is not available' screen while it's on, if you want to watch you switch to SD. Channel 4 in HD is up around channel 220 odd on Sky.

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I've looked briefly at Sky Q but I'm struggling to see how it would benefit me for the extra cost.

The only feature that might come in handy is being able to watch recorded programs in any room with a Q box.

Even then it's stretching things a little as I wouldn't be that bothered with that.

I don't need a box to tell me what I may like. I know what I like and I like what I know.

Recording 3 things whilst watching a 4th? Let's be honest life must be pretty dull if you need the ability to watch 4 simultaneous tv programs.

Edited by billy2shots

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We've had it for a few months now and after some initial niggles it's been very good.  I agree completely that some of the button pressing required to do simple tasks can be irritating.  The one I find most annoying is pressing the info button and then having to press 'back' rather than 'info' to get rid of the pop-up.

 

However, the new menus are brilliant and the fact that it series links things at the first press is good too.  Menu navigation around things like the box-sets is a massive leap forward from the Sky+ menus and the 'My Q' menu where all partially watched programmes are stored is great - the ability to switch from the family room to the office is useful to me.

 

My other bugbear is that I can still only watch BT Sport in one room - BT want £5 a month per box to allow it to be used with Sky Q.  Cheeky *******!

 

Price wise it was very little change as we ditched the multi-room cost so it was kind of a no-brainer.  

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My other bugbear is that I can still only watch BT Sport in one room - BT want £5 a month per box to allow it to be used with Sky Q.  Cheeky *******!

 

 

 

The only away around this, and it still means it costs £23.99 a month, is this:

 

Buy the online subscription (not tied to a box).

 

Watch on an iPhone/iPad and Use an Apple TV box with Airplay to relay the picture to the TV of your choice.  Moving the Apple TV box means you can watch it on any TV you want to.  Quite clever but doesn't get around the fact it is a rip off to begin with.

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Good shout NNMM - I get it for free as I use BT Broadband but I can just use the browser on the tv and watch it online using the tv +++  

 

That works for live stuff but it's annoying that I can't watch my recordings where I want.  Then again, if I use the My Q app and then screen share that should work.

 

I'll try that  +++

Edited by Busby

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All the boxes operate off the one viewing card in the Q Silver box (which incidentally goes in upside down, according to the installer it's so the heat generated by the chip can escape) so you should be able to watch any channel on any of the other boxes as they all stream directly from it?

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All the boxes operate off the one viewing card in the Q Silver box (which incidentally goes in upside down, according to the installer it's so the heat generated by the chip can escape) so you should be able to watch any channel on any of the other boxes as they all stream directly from it?

 

That's what I thought too!  However, when you try and watch a BT Sport recording back on one of the mini-boxes you get a message saying you need to call BT to activate that service.  They in turn then tell you they want £5 a month for each mini-box.

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