German pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland will launch its multimedia platform Sky Q in Germany and Austria in May 2018.
In contrast to the UK and Italy, where customers received a new set-top box, Sky Q will be introduced in Germany and Austria through a software update that will be automatically downloaded into the Ultra-HD-capable Sky+ Pro receiver overnight free of charge. There are currently around one million Sky+ Pro receivers in the households. Sky Q will also be available from May for all existing customers who do not yet own a Sky+ Pro receiver and for new customers.
Sky Deutschland will then consist of the classic subscription model with Sky Q as the central hub and the Sky Ticket OTT service for all viewers who do not want to commit themselves for long. Sky Ticket will offer an improved search function as well as new features such as continue watching, recommendations, personalised watch lists and a personalised home screen.
Sky Q comprises live and on-demand television as well as apps on a uniform user interface including personal recommendations and new functions. Through restart, viewers can start programmes that are already running from the beginning. For binge watching fans, complete series seasons can be watched automatically with autostart. In addition, programmes can be watched at any time on different devices from the point where they were interrupted, for example first in the train and then on the television set at home.
Subscribers can access Sky’s offering on up to five devices simultaneously, including three television sets and two mobile devices. The Sky Q app will be available free of charge on Apple TV (from 4th generation) and Samsung Smart TV sets (models built in 2015 and later) from May. Sky Q also connects the Sky offer with the Sky Go and Sky Kids streaming services and the free-to-air channels. The catch-up services from German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and other smart TV apps can also be accessed directly via Sky Q.
The next stages of expansion have already been set: From summer 2018, the Sky Soundbox, the multi-room IP box Sky Q Mini and Voice Control will be introduced through which Sky Q can be controlled by voice commands. Following its launch in the UK, Netflix will also be integrated into Sky Q in Germany, Austria and Italy.
Sky Deutschland also wants to simplify its package and pricing structure. The subscription offer will in future consist of the basic entertainment package to which customers can add three premium bouquets: Sky Football Bundesliga, Sky Sport and Sky Cinema, all expandable by Sky HD/UHD. The details are to be announced in time for the launch.
Sky Deutschland also plans to introduce a TV stick that, like the TV sticks from Amazon Fire and Google Chromecast, converts any TV set into a smart TV set. The stick will be offered in conjunction with OTT service Sky Ticket and at a lower price than the sticks from Amazon and Google.
£11 million in costs have so far been accrued in connection with the takeover by 21st Century Fox.