As the first review units are released, more details are emerging about the new Sky Q received, due to be released later in the quarter.
Reviewers are talking of the sleekly designed form factor of the box itself and the total redesign to the remote control, which connects to the set-top through Bluetooth, rather than infra red as has traditionally been the case.
“SkyQ is Sky’s main weapon in seeing off the threat from BT and Netflix to its market leadership over the next decade. Sky Q’s improved functionality shows that multi-screen viewing and fast access to video-on-demand content are seen as the key battles to win,” said David Mercer from Strategy Analytics’ digital consumer practice. “Also, the addition of a touch-pad to the remote control is particularly interesting – being the first significant change to something that’s hardly changed over the last 10 years.”
One of the key features of Sky Q is what’s being described as Fluid Viewing, the ability to move content from one screen to another. This has in part been made possible through technology supplied by AirTies.
AirTies Mesh software maps the home network, monitoring the shifting demands for broadband and TV streams from a multitude of devices. It decides in near real-time which path to send data packets through to optimise performance.
“AirTies has supplied Sky with Wi-Fi devices for several years and we’re extremely proud to have been selected for this visionary project. Once again, Sky is leading the way by introducing a next generation home entertainment system,” said Philippe Alcaras, CEO AirTies Wireless Networks. “This major new step in Sky’s strategy validates our long-held view that having multiple access points smartly linked together is the way forward for optimum home network performance.” Alcaras concludes, “a flawless home network is becoming the real must-have for Premium Content Providers”.
Reviewers have been generally been favourable, describing the box as being one that one that would compete with the kind of innovation carried out by Apple and Netflix. However, Paolo Pescatore, Director, Multiplay and Media at CCS Insight warned there were shortcomings: “One of the major obstacles is the inability for people to take recordings from their existing box to the new one”.
Overall, Pescatore said Sky should be applauded for bringing a best in class box and service to market.