Switch TV’s guide to… everything you need to know about Sky TV and the SkyQ box

Where do I start? Well, Sky has been the ‘go to’ company for those wanting extra channels on their TV for as long as I can remember. It used to be a binary choice between normal TV via your aerial with 4-5 channels, and getting Sky TV and having loads. Now there’s much more choice than that – but Sky has stayed as the main player in the Pay TV market.

Is Sky TV really expensive?

Packages now start from around £22 going up to £27 at the end of the initial term. This gets you their ‘base’ package called Sky Entertainment, including 1 box with remote control. If you want extra boxes these are usually around £7 extra per month. Once you have Entertainment, you can then add more packages, such as Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, Kids etc. As with anything, the costs can add up quickly, and it’s not unusual for Sky customers to be paying £80-£100 for the ‘full pack’.

Given that you have to pay for a TV license anyway to watch the main channels, this extra cost per month can seem like a lot, especially when compared to more value TV providers like BT starting at £10. However of course it is good value if you find yourself watching a lot of the shows and have a large family who will benefit from it.

Our advice is to decide what programmes you want to watch first, then decide which providers and packages are best for you. That’s really why we invented Switch TV! Have a look here to use our package finder tool.

How do I get a satellite dish installed and how much does that cost?

When you place your order, Sky will ask you about the building the dish will be mounted on, and send an engineer to install it for you. There is usually a charge for this, ranging from £20 – £50. It will also usually involve drilling holes in your wall to connect the dish to the Sky TV box – so if you’re renting be aware of that and ask your landlord’s permission first! If you’re in a block of flats, there is often a communal dish to connect to, but again contact your landlord first as it’s unlikely the Sky engineer will want to touch someone else’s equipment.

What is Sky Q all about?

Sky Q is the name of Sky’s latest TV system – it was actually introduced in 2016. As well as offering the latest Sky box, it supports Ultra HD, has a voice remote, as well as the ability to transmit TV channels to up to 4 ‘mini’ boxes around the home without the need for further wiring.

What features does the box have, is the remote easy to use?

Boxes come with a 1TB hard drive – that’s the amount of recordings that the box can hold. 1 terabyte is around 500 hours of recordings in standard definition, or 150 hours in high definition.

As you’d expect, the back of the box has a power cable, aerial sockets for the Sky dish, HDMI to transmit the sound to your TV, and also a digital optical out port – for connecting your Sky Q box to a sound system such as a sound bar.

The remote control is fairly standard and easy to handle – with power, volume, channel and volume change buttons, as well as the ability to control your TV as well as your Sky box. It also has voice recognition, so rather than selecting a channel you can just say what you want it to do – for example ‘change to Sky Sports F1’ and the box will just change channel for you. Quite handy.

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With Sky Q, you can also watch one channel and record up to 6 others. This is especially useful if you’re watching live sport but don’t want to miss out on your favourite show which happen to be on at the same time.

You can see our video explaining the Sky Q box here

What channels can you get with Sky TV?

Well, where do we start? There’s loads! If we stick with the base Entertainment pack, for that £27 per month you get access to over 300 channels and 40 catch-up TV channels. (including the ones you’ve normally get with your TV license).

To give you a bit more detail this includes;

Entertainment – the very popular Sky Atlantic which was the home of Game of Thrones, Sky One, Sky Witness and the new Sky Crime

Documentaries – the brilliant National Geographic, Wild, History, Discovery and Eden

Music – the full suite of MTV channels including MTV Hits, MTV Music, MTV Base, MTV Classic and more

Sports and news – Eurosport 1 & 2, Sky News, Sky Sports New and Sky Sports Racing

Asia – a collection of channels from the Asian continent including StarPlus, StarGOLD, ZeeTV, Zee Cinema and Sony SAB.

Of course you can get even more channels by adding the packs for Sky Sports (£30/month), Sky Cinema (£19/month) and Kids (£5/month)

What about extra films and catch-up TV shows?

With your base entertainment subscription, you can watch catch-up from all of the channels you’re subscribed to. So if you missed your favourite programme and forget to set record, you can go back and watch it as long as it was shown in the last month and wasn’t a feature film (these have different broadcast and playback rights).

Sky also offer an ‘Ultimate on Demand’ pack to add on for £12/month. This includes a number of popular boxsets from Sky to binge-watch, in addition you also get access to Netflix (worth £5.99/month) on your Sky TV too.

You can also buy or rent films and TV shows on the Sky Store to watch at home. Just go into the Sky Store via your remote control and you’ll see a whole host of movies and box sets available for you.

Note that to benefit from all of these services, you’ll need to connect the Sky Q box to a broadband connection – it doesn’t have to be Sky broadband, and unlike boxes such as BT TV you don’t need to plug it in directly, you can use Wi-Fi to connect which makes it much easier.

How do I get Netflix and Amazon Prime on Sky TV?

Netflix has now been added to Sky’s ‘Ultimate on Demand’ pack costing £12/month – so you get buy it direct from Sky if you want. Existing Netflix customers without Ultimate On Demand can sign into Netflix within the Apps section on Q Home using their Netflix account e-mail address and password.

Amazon Prime TV isn’t currently available on the Sky Q box, so you’d need to either continue to watch it on your phone or tablet, or buy a chromecast for your TV to send the signal to your TV. Advice on how to do this is here.

Do I need to have Sky broadband for Sky TV to work?

Quite simply no. Sky may advise you that Sky Q is “optimised” for Sky broadband but we’ve just found that’s marketing talk, it’s fully compatible with all major broadband providers. If your broadband and TV are out of contract at the same time and you want to get Sky TV, you should be able to find a great price for the combined package – try out our awesome TV package finder here.

Does it have Ultra HD?

Although BT beat Sky to launching an Ultra HD channel, Sky now have a great set of channels available in Ultra HD. This includes most of the events on Sky Sports as well as programmes on Sky Atlantic, National Geographic and more. If you are a Netflix subscriber too then many of their new shows are also in Ultra HD too.

The only kicker is that you’ll need to ‘upgrade’ to their Q experience package, around £13 extra per month. This brings other benefits like being able to pause and resume watching TV in different rooms, but it’s another addition to your monthly bill.

What about an app – when I’m out and about?

Sky have 2 version of their app – Sky Go and Sky Go Extra. With Sky Go, you can watch live TV, set the box to record and view recordings whilst out and about – just remember that if you’re not on Wi-Fi you can quickly use a lot of your mobile data. The Sky Go app is good, though probably not as sophisticated as the BT Sport one, but it does have all the programmes in 1 app unlike the BT one.

With standard Sky Go, you can have up to 2 devices registered, which can be a bit limiting for a family, when many of us have 2 devices or more each!. With Sky Go Extra, you can have another 2 devices (making a total 4) for an extra £5 or month, or included free with the Q experience package which gives you Ultra HD programmes and Netflix too.

Is Sky TV better than Virgin TV or BT TV?

Overall, if you look at the number of channels, exclusive content, Ultra HD channels, quality of the box – the short answer is yes. As I said earlier it’s usually the most expensive of the Pay TV providers, but if you and your family use it every day and you can afford it, it’s worth it. Virgin comes with a better quality broadband, and BT is better value as you get less channels but at a much lower cost.

How do I find out about the latest deals for Sky TV?

I’m so pleased you asked! Switch TV has an amazing tool to help you search for the best TV packages based on the programmes you want to watch. Just click here to get started.