HomeBlogREVIEWSky Glass evaluate: Sky’s first TV simply misses the mark

Sky Glass evaluate: Sky’s first TV simply misses the mark

Sky Glass is an enormous product for the UK satellite tv for pc TV big. Not solely is it the primary TV the corporate has constructed, it’s additionally the primary time Sky has produced a streaming-only product with out compromising streaming high quality and options.

As such, it must be good. It must be ok to influence clients to ditch their previous TV and trusty Sky Q field and change them with one system that does all of it. And it must be ok to influence non-Sky subscribers that that is the time to leap on board. 

Alas, it’s not fairly the killer product Sky hoped for: whereas there’s no doubting the comfort of the system and its ease of use, it will probably’t compete with Sky Q for content material and general image high quality, and its lack of recording functionality means it isn’t fairly as versatile as a separate Sky Q and TV-based system.

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Sky Glass evaluate: What it’s essential to know

Sky Glass is the agency’s first really dishless product that’s able to streaming in 4K. Its Now streaming containers and sticks can solely stream in resolutions of as much as 1080p after which just for a choice of channels.

Regardless of that, it isn’t actually a direct competitor to Sky; it’s another designed for many who worth comfort over outright image high quality, or those that can’t or don’t wish to mount a satellite tv for pc dish on the surface of their residence.

The TV is out there in three sizes: 43in, 55in and 65in – I used to be despatched the center of those to check – and you should purchase it in 5 completely different colors (black, white, blue, inexperienced and rose gold). It has a 4K Quantum Dot panel with native dimming, and helps the HDR10, HLG and Dolby Imaginative and prescient requirements.

READ NEXT: Our information to the most effective TVs to purchase immediately

It comes with a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar and you need to use it with any broadband connection, although Sky recommends a minimal of 10Mbits/sec for HD content material and 25Mbits/sec for 4K content material.

There’s new “Hi there Sky” voice management, which lets you merely speak to the TV to regulate it, and also you get multiroom help as effectively. The latter comes within the type of the oddly named Sky Stream Puck, which may ship the identical content material, on the similar decision and with the identical HDR help, to a different TV in your own home. It prices further, although, as detailed under.

It’s vital to notice that Sky Glass doesn’t, and can’t, document TV like Sky Q, and this may increasingly finally be what proves its undoing. As a substitute, customers add the content material they wish to watch later to their “Playlist”, the place it turns into accessible in keeping with the restrictions of the streaming/catchup service it first appeared on. This implies many programmes aren’t obtainable in any respect, or – within the case of BBC programmes, for instance – will solely be obtainable for a sure time frame.

It’s not as versatile a system as Sky Q, the place you possibly can document any programme, watch it everytime you like and maintain it in your onerous disk in perpetuity.

Sky Glass: Key specs

Display screen sizes obtainable:43in (small)
55in (medium)
65in (massive)
Panel sort:Quantum Dot LCD with native dimming
Decision:4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)
Refresh price:60Hz
HDR codecs:HDR10, HLG, Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Audio enhancement:Built-in Dolby Atmos 3.1.2 audio system
HDMI inputs:3 x HDMI 2.1 (inc 1 x eARC) 
Freeview Play compatibility:No
Tuners:Terrestrial, streaming
Gaming options:None
Wi-fi connectivity:802.11ax (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Good assistants:Hi there Sky
Good platform:Sky Glass

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Sky Glass evaluate: Costs

One of the vital intriguing options of Sky Glass is that you just don’t have to purchase it like a standard TV. It comes as an addition to your Sky subscription, costing £13 per thirty days for the 43in mannequin, £17 per thirty days for the 55in mannequin or £21 per thirty days for the £65in mannequin, in case you join a 48-month contract. The month-to-month worth doubles in case you take a 24-month contract; it’s successfully an interest-free mortgage.

These with higher psychological arithmetic than me may have already likely labored out that this equates to £624, £816 or £1,008 in complete (plus a £10 upfront charge for the 48-month contract or a £20 upfront charge for the 24-month contract). You should buy the TV outright from the get-go in case you’d desire, however this bumps up the worth barely to £649, £849 and £1,049.

On high of this, there’s a minimal Sky subscription bundle – £26 per thirty days for the Sky Final TV bundle, which features a Netflix subscription – and that’s earlier than you get into the worth for broadband and TV extras resembling Sports activities and Sky Cinema.

The excellent news is that you just’re not tied into Sky Broadband; the unhealthy information is you’ll be paying a naked minimal of £39 per thirty days for the 43in TV, £43 per thirty days for the 55in and £46 per thirty days for the 65in. Bear in mind, that 4K is an additional £5 per thirty days, too, so if you wish to take advantage of the TV, costs begin at a complete of £44 per thirty days. And if you’d like multiroom, including a Sky Stream Puck will set you again one other £10 per thirty days.

READ NEXT: Our information to the most effective good TVs to purchase immediately

Sky Glass evaluate: Design, specs and connectivity

Sky Glass is a classy TV – a bit brutalist and angular for my tastes – however it’s tasteful nonetheless. The Dolby Atmos “soundbar” occupies the portion of the chassis under the show with 4 drivers hid behind a material mesh, and an extra two audio system mounted on the highest fringe of the TV, behind a perforated grille. It’s rather a lot thicker than most fashionable TVs, measuring 49mm from entrance to again, and heavier, too, weighing 19kg for the 43in mannequin, 28kg for the 55in and a back-breaking 35kg for the 65in mannequin.

In its default configuration, it sits on a central stand with the underside fringe of the set virtually flush with the floor of your AV stand, however it can be wall-mounted, and all of the {hardware} to try this is included within the field. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that even with out the sturdy stand hooked up to the rear, it’s nonetheless a little bit of a lump, with the 43in weighing 14kg, the 55in on check 23kg and the 65in 28kg. I’d advise in opposition to mounting it on a plasterboard wall.

Connectivity-wise, there’s not an enormous quantity to shout about right here. You get three HDMI 2.1 inputs in a cutout on the left aspect of the rear, one in all which helps eARC. These ports face downwards and are tough to achieve on the bigger units. As well as, there’s a USB-C connector, an Ethernet port and an aerial level. You should use the latter to observe Freeview channels within the occasion your broadband goes down, however it’s solely actually designed as a backup to the streaming channels. It is also value noting that there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack or Bluetooth audio connectivity. Bluetooth is used just for the distant management.

Setup is so simple as plugging it in and connecting it to your house Wi-Fi (or hooking up through Ethernet in case your router occurs to be shut by). In contrast to Sky Q, Sky Glass doesn’t arrange its personal wi-fi community; it merely connects identical to any wi-fi system. The fantastic thing about that is that, so long as your Wi-Fi sign is robust sufficient – and your broadband connection sturdy sufficient – the one cable it’s essential to have working to the TV is the mains cable.

That’s the speculation. In apply, I had fairly a little bit of hassle right here, a minimum of initially. After I first obtained the TV for evaluate, it repeatedly refused to recognise my Wi-Fi credentials, regardless of what number of occasions I checked, double-checked and triple-checked.

I finally mananged to attach it to my residence Wi-Fi utilizing the TV’s WPS button and the identical on my Devolo Magic Powerline adapter. When you come throughout the identical concern, you must (relatively counterintuitively) choose the “I’ve Sky Broadband” choice, because the third-party broadband connection choice doesn’t provide the alternative of utilizing WPS.

Thankfully, within the time since this evaluate was initially printed, Sky seem to have resolved this downside, a minimum of with my wi-fi {hardware}, and I’ve now been capable of set the TV up by choosing the community and coming into a password.

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Sky Stream Puck evaluate: Streaming Sky with out the Glass

You possibly can’t purchase a Sky Streaming Puck by itself, extra’s the pity. It prices an extra £10 on high of what you’re already paying for the TV and your Sky subscription. It delivers the identical streaming service because the TV itself (see under) on the similar decision and with the identical HDR capabilities.

The Stream Puck is a compact system with rounded corners. It has a footprint measuring 108 x 108mm and a low profile top of 18mm. It has a single standing LED on the entrance and, on the rear, a ten/100 Ethernet port, a single HDMI 2.1 output, a coaxial antenna connector so you possibly can nonetheless watch TV in case your web connection goes down, plus a DC enter for mains energy.

Beneath is an influence button used to reset the system within the even you lose your distant management. It comes provided with an additional Bluetooth distant (the identical as supplie with the Sky Glass TV), and Wi-Fi connectivity is as much as the identical customary as effectively, supporting Wi-Fi 6 connections over 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

Wi-fi connection went with out a hitch (it is good to see these preliminary Wi-Fi glitches have been sorted) and I used to be capable of choose my most well-liked community and enter my password relatively than having to go down the WPS route. After ready a couple of minutes for any updates to obtain and set up, you’re virtually able to go. The one issues left to do are to pair your distant with the Puck by holding the 1 and three buttons for 3 seconds, after which hyperlink the Stream Puck to your your Sky account.

Sky Glass evaluate: Software program, content material and options

Assuming you’re conversant in Sky Q, you’ll really feel proper at residence with both Glass or the Stream Puck’s UI. The entrance finish isn’t an identical to Sky Q, however it does have the identical feel and appear, with the acquainted blue background and all of your content material organized on “rails”. You possibly can navigate via these rails by clicking up and down on the distant management (see under) and discover what’s in every one by clicking proper and left.

The content material is organized in hierarchical order with a choice of lately seen gadgets displayed within the high rail, together with a thumbnail of what’s at the moment being watched. Under it is a record of overarching classes – TV Reveals, Motion pictures, Sports activities, Children, Information, Audio and Music, Health and Worldwide – and there’s a now and subsequent rail beneath that, with a shortcut to a TV information to the left of it.

Subsequent up is a rail containing shortcuts to your HDMI-connected gadgets and your entire put in apps, and additional themed rails stay past, with a listing of Sky channels under that, your Playlist and different curated lists. To entry Sky Glass’ settings you must scroll proper all the way down to the underside.

The TV information works as you may anticipate it to, itemizing channels vertically, and you may see what’s on now and sooner or later by navigating to the appropriate. The record of channels isn’t as in depth as it’s on Sky Q however the record of apps is respectable sufficient and covers an affordable choice of the principle suppliers within the UK – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Discovery+, BBC iPlayer, All4, ITVHub and YouTube, with Apple TV+ promised as an replace very quickly.

The massive distinction between Sky Glass and Sky Q is that you could’t document programmes. As a substitute, you click on the “+” button so as to add the programme you’re to your Playlist. This works effectively with Sky exhibits, however content material from different suppliers is extra hit or miss and is dependent upon their explicit content material insurance policies. BBC programmes, for example, aren’t all the time obtainable instantly after they’re broadcast and are solely obtainable for a particular period of time, whereas BT Sport programming can’t be playlisted in any respect.

It’s a little bit of a bizarre mish-mash, fact be instructed, and will be complicated at occasions. It’s definitely not helped by Sky’s use of the phrase “Cloud DVR” in a few of its advertising, which makes it sound like utilizing the Playlist is akin to recording exhibits to some sort of private storage within the cloud, when that clearly isn’t the case.

That’s a disgrace as a result of, as a streaming platform in its personal proper, with out the confusion launched by making it appear like it’s a stay, broadcast TV product, Sky Glass works relatively effectively. You possibly can pause, play and rewind simply as you possibly can with Sky Q (though doing this on-line it isn’t fairly as responsive as doing it with a domestically recorded file), many programmes help you “Play from begin” in case you are available in midway via and also you additionally get some, albeit not all, of the fancier options from Sky Q’s sports activities channels, together with the flexibility to observe the highlights to date of a sports activities occasion in case you missed the beginning.

READ NEXT: Our information to the most effective TVs for gaming

Sky Glass evaluate: Distant and voice management

The TV is provided with a Bluetooth distant management, which is completed within the form of soft-touch plastic that goes cheesy after some time. It’s backlit, which is a pleasant contact because it helps you discover the appropriate buttons in a darkened room. It gained’t allow you to find the distant within the first place, nonetheless, because the backlight occasions out relatively shortly and solely activates whenever you decide it up.

The structure of the distant management shall be acquainted to customers of Sky Q. Regardless of the completely different end, it’s the identical form and the buttons are largely in the identical place, which is an effective factor. Sky is sticking with the tried and examined right here, as an alternative of making an attempt to reinvent the wheel, which it tried and didn’t do with the disastrous Sky Q Contact Distant.

What Sky is pushing fairly strongly is voice management and on Sky Glass, it’s constructed into the TV in addition to the distant management. Certainly, utilizing a far-field microphone array, Glass can detect the wake phrase “Hi there Sky” and act in your directions with out you having to the touch the distant management.

You possibly can activate the TV on this approach, change channels, seek for content material and modify the quantity. It’s additionally doable to pause, play and skip to sure factors on a present’s timeline along with your voice, and I discovered it labored fairly effectively general. I nonetheless discovered shopping the UI for issues I wished to observe simpler with the distant management, although, so it’s greatest to consider Sky Glass’ voice management as a shortcut to widespread controls when you possibly can’t be bothered to select up the distant.

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Sky Glass evaluate: Picture high quality

Sky Glass is a streaming bundle designed with comfort in thoughts, so it’s value tempering your expectations in relation to image high quality. The general viewing expertise delivered by its 60Hz quantum dot LED panel is affordable, however this isn’t a TV you’re seemingly to purchase for picture high quality alone.

The very first thing you’re going to wish to do in case you do purchase one is flip off the auto backlight, which adjusts the brightness of the image relying on the ambient gentle degree within the room. It’s a power-saving characteristic however I discovered it distracting and disabled it immediately.

By default, the TV additionally operates in “Auto” mode, which is meant to regulate image and sound settings on the fly based mostly on what you’re watching. You may also take into account disabling this setting, as a result of once we put this to the check it didn’t appear to do something notably dramatic.

When you do desire completely different image modes relying on what you’re watching, then chances are you’ll wish to choose these manually. These embrace Leisure and Film, which look no completely different to my eye, and Sport, which switches you to a relatively cooler color temperature. There’s no low-latency Sport mode however you do get a few audio-centric modes – Music and Get together – to play with, which do nothing to have an effect on the image however as an alternative present preset audio settings.

There’s additionally the choice to save lots of your individual image settings within the Customized mode, which lets you modify varied parameters, together with distinction, video brightness, color saturation, hue/tint, white steadiness, native dimming and color temperature. As said, we disabled auto brightness and made no different changes to the default settings save turning native dimming on and off and switching the color temperature between Customary (D65) and Cool. 

Color efficiency whereas viewing customary dynamic vary content material (SDR) utilizing the Customary (D65) color temperature setting proved respectable, with Sky Glass protecting 94.3% of the Rec.709 color gamut when measured utilizing our colorimeter and the Calman color calibration software program. Colors have been introduced moderately precisely with that gamut, too, with a median Delta E rating of three.26 indicating that any perceptible color discrepancies are minor.

Greyscale monitoring didn’t miss the mark by an excessive amount of both, with Sky Glass recording a median DeltaE rating of 4.3 and a Gamma measurement of a fraction over 2. The latter outcome marks the Glass as a TV that barely enhances element in darker scenes. Sky Glass additionally scored effectively when it got here to distinction, delivering a local distinction ratio of 5,920:1. 

Regardless of missing any type of viewing angle correction expertise, the Sky Glass’ image high quality holds up effectively when not watched head-on. For an optimum viewing expertise you’ll wish to be taking a look at it comparatively straight, however that have gained’t differ dramatically relying on which finish of the couch you’re sitting.

Sky Glass evaluate: HDR efficiency 

Whereas SDR efficiency is admirable and general image high quality is enjoyable, the Sky Glass isn’t a powerful performer in relation to HDR content material, regardless of its Dolby Imaginative and prescient certification. 

Protection of the DCI-P3 color gamut is simply 70%, though these colors are reproduced precisely with a median Delta E error of two.42, however it’s the height brightness that actually spoils the social gathering. 

With the D65 Customary white level mode chosen and native dimming enabled, we discovered peak HDR brightness reached a most of solely 439cd/m² after which solely with a full-field white sample displayed; it dipped to 270cd/m² on a ten% window. These figures are distinctly common for a TV costing £849 and leaves Sky Glass missing pop when displaying HDR content material.

Certainly, the outcomes are much like these achieved by the 50in Hisense A6G and 43in Samsung AU9000, each funds TVs costing lower than £500.

Constant brightness will be achieved by turning off native dimming, which lends specular highlights extra glint and gleam however this does elevate the black degree, so darker scenes look barely greyer.

The very best peak brightness will be achieved by switching to the TV’s “Cool” color temperature setting. With that chosen, Sky Glass reached a most brightness of 459cd/m², however color accuracy suffers because of this. We suggest you stick to Customary (D65) and accept barely decrease peak luminance. 

Irrespective of the settings you utilize, there’s no escaping the truth that the Sky Glass isn’t a fantastic alternative for watching HDR and Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material, definitely compared with different TVs at across the similar worth. That’s an enormous chink in its armour and one that might show a dealbreaker for these sat on the fence about whether or not the Sky Glass is the appropriate 4K TV bundle for them. 

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Sky Glass evaluate: Audio

Whereas image high quality is disappointing, audio is healthier. Not pretty much as good, it have to be stated, as in case you have been to attach a good devoted soundbar, such because the Sonos Beam 2, however higher than you’ll get with most TVs at across the worth of Sky Glass. 

Certainly, Sky Glass performs host to a full 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos-compatible audio system. 4 drivers are housed within the “soundbar” a part of the TV – one centre speaker, one 120mm bass woofer and two stereo drivers – and there’s a pair of upward-firing Atmos audio system within the high corners of the TV set to ship Atmos’ top results.

There’s 215W of complete amplification, too, guaranteeing that these ship audio that’s much more forceful than most different TVs you’ll encounter, with vocals and speech supply an actual energy of the system. I fired up a John Legend live performance recording on Sky Arts and each the piano and Legend’s voice got here throughout in a convincing and pleasing method.

Regardless of all of these drivers, nonetheless, and the extra up-firing Atmos audio system, the surround-sound impact is proscribed. I wasn’t overly impressed with the best way Sky Glass delivers bass, both; even with the Bass Increase choice toggled on within the settings, there’s little or no low-end thump and rumble.

READ NEXT: Our information to the most effective TVs to purchase immediately

Sky Glass evaluate: Verdict

On paper, Sky Glass is a powerful TV system at a tempting worth. It’s handy and simple to make use of, the specs are spectacular, audio high quality is nice (for built-in audio system) and lots of people shall be persuaded by the truth that it’s a comparatively low-cost month-to-month add-on to a Sky subscription.

In the meantime, for many who can’t or don’t wish to set up a dish, Sky Glass is a much better choice than Now, delivering all that unique Sky content material in optimum 4K decision.

Earlier than you’re taking the leap, nonetheless, it’s essential to ask your self – very rigorously – in case you wouldn’t be greatest served by sticking with separates. With Sky Q and your individual alternative of TV you’ll get a stronger TV system with higher image high quality than Sky Glass, extra channels and native programme recording plus loads of streaming apps. Add a soundbar, which you’ll effectively personal already, and also you’ll seemingly get higher audio high quality as effectively.

Which means Sky Glass is a troublesome factor to wholeheartedly suggest. True, it’s a extra elegant factor to have in your house than a Sky Q field, a TV and a soundbar and, sure, it does the job of streaming Sky companies in 4K effectively. However, for most individuals, Sky Q plus a TV of their alternative will ship a superior expertise all spherical.

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