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Sky Glass review (June 2022): The longer term of TV …just not yet

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Our Sky Glass review has the whole lot you want to find out about this recent 4K TV from Sky (Image: SKY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS) This text accommodates affiliate links, we may receive a commission on any sales we generate from it. Learn more

Sky Glass: 60-Second Review

Sky Glass is an excellent – albeit shaky – start. Although we have only awarded this custom-designed 4K TV three stars, gogglebox manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and LG should hold off popping open the champagne just yet. That is because, while Sky Glass is not quite the best Sky deal around, it is ludicrously easy to put in and offers access to a few of the most effective TV channels, on-demand boxsets, Dolby Atmos sound, and the entire streaming services you may ever want. And it does all of it with a single power cable.

Sure, every television in the marketplace is branded as a Smart TV, but Sky Glass might just be the smartest on the market.

The amazing simplicity of this all-in-one solution makes it an excellent alternative for loads of people. Unfortunately, in our time with Sky Glass, there have been one too many bugs that have to be ironed out before we wholeheartedly recommend everyone rushes to upgrade from Sky Q. While that is likely to be an older set-top box, it still comfortably scores five stars in our Sky Q review due to some sensible software updates.

Make no mistake, Glass is the longer term of television …but the longer term is not quite ready for the massive time yet.

Sky Glass review

Sky Glass was announced with huge fanfare at the top of 2021 – the primary satellite dish-less product from Sky TV, it promised to bring together live television channels and exclusive boxsets with Sky Store rentals and streaming platforms in a single custom-designed telly with a Dolby Atmos-certified soundbar bundled too.

If that sounds ambitious, that is because it truly is.

There is not any doubt that Sky Glass represents a seismic move from the satellite company. And it’s completely different to what we have seen from rivals like Virgin Media, which recently launched a recent set-top box that has more in common with a reasonable Fire TV or Roku dongle than what Sky is trying to attain with its latest product.

So, is it time to ditch your trusty Samsung or Sony television in favour of a recent QLED TV designed by the team at Sky? Is Sky correct that we should always abandon spinning hard drives (just like the one found inside Sky Q, which continues to be on sale) in favour of unlimited cloud storage for all of our favourite shows and flicks? Express.co.uk has had this cutting-edge recent television plugged in for a few months, here is our in-depth review of Sky Glass…

Sky Glass Review One Cable Is All You Need

Sky Glass review: One cable to rule all of them, just plug the tv into power – and that is it (Image: SKY)

Setting Up Your Latest Telly

Considered one of the most important hurdles when organising Sky Q for the primary time is the nightmare of getting a satellite dish drilled to the surface of your property. First off, there’s the inconvenience of organising an appointment with the engineers, waiting in for them on the day, the drilling and noise, the list goes on …and that is for those who’re one in every of the lucky ones!

For those in rented properties or high-rise apartments and not using a communal dish, it was impossible to have a satellite dish affixed to the property. Until the arrival of Sky Glas, that meant you needed to wave goodbye to the concept of a Sky Q box under your telly.

But that is all modified.

Sky Glass brings an improved Sky Q-like experience to anyone with a Wi-Fi signal. It also ditches the necessity for an intrusive and noisy installation. As an alternative, the 4K TV arrives in a box and customers only must plug in a single cable (the facility cord) to start. Sky even preloads your account on Sky Glass before it arrives on the doorstep. So, you will not must worry about slowly typing out a password on the redesigned distant before you may start watching.

As an alternative, all you want to do is hook up with your Wi-Fi connection (or plug-in an ethernet cable) and cool down for a night of entertainment, sports, or blockbuster movies. Seriously, it really is that easy. The set-up for Sky Glass makes Sky Q, which continues to be available for purchase from Sky, seem like a relic from one other era.

The one minor annoyance we got here across with Sky Glass is constructing the stand that the TV sits on. Sky includes some pretty basic instructions, which left us fitting one piece the incorrect way around on our first attempt. Fortunately, in case your DIY skills aren’t as much as scratch (like ours!), Sky has promised that its Glass delivery drivers will arrange the stand for you. That ought to make things incredibly hassle-free.

We actually cannot fault Sky in the case of installation and we’re confident that even the most important technophobe can have no problems plugging in and watching TV in a matter of minutes.

Sky Glass Review In The Room

Sky Glass could be placed anywhere in your property, so long as there’s a great Wi-Fi signal (Image: SKY)

Your Broadband

Since there isn’t any satellite dish, you’ll have some speedy broadband to observe live television, on-demand boxsets, sports, and flicks …especially if you need to watch in 4K Ultra HD, which is the very best picture quality supported by Sky Glass. In case your current home broadband connection is slower than a snail through treacle, it’s best to really think twice before buying Sky Glass as without a great web signal, you will be left watching your individual reflection within the QLED display. And that is it.

We’re lucky enough to have 200Mbps full-fibre broadband from Virgin Media available in our property, which is good enough to cope with Sky Glass. During our time with the telly, we have had no issues tuning into our favourite boxsets, like Succession and Mare Of Easttown, live sports in 4K Ultra HD, or streaming series from Netflix and Disney+.

In case your street hasn’t been upgraded to superfast fibre yet – don’t panic. Sky says that Glass needs to be nice with a minimum download speed of 10Mbps for traditional definition. Start viewing in glorious 4K Ultra HD and you’ll have around 25Mbps to make sure things don’t begin to buffer. And do not forget that you will need more for those who’ve got a busy household with other relations streaming video, making video calls, or backing up their phones in other rooms of the home when you’re trying to observe Sky Glass.

It is also value ensuring your Wi-Fi connection is powerful enough to succeed in the spot that you just’re eyeing up on your Sky Glass. In any case, a weakened Wi-Fi signal could make watching telly as tough as slow download speeds.

There may be an ethernet cable for many who desire a hardwired connection and you may connect an aerial cable into the back of Sky Glass – in order that, should the more serious occur and also you lose broadband one night, you will still give you the chance to tune-in to Freeview. But one in every of the most important draws of Sky Glass is the no-clutter, one cable set-up… so it is not something we opted to do. After all, that does mean that when our broadband has a wobble (which happens a number of times a yr) we were left unable to observe any live television, recordings, streaming services.

Sky Glass Review Yoga

Sky Glass is pretty chunky because it houses a Dolby Atmos soundbar and the whole lot needed to stream telly (Image: SKY)

Sky Glass’ All Latest Design

When you’re all connected to the web, it is time to start out those boxset binges!

Sky Glass comes fitted with a 4K Ultra HD Quantum Dot (QLED) display. You possibly can buy it in 43-, 55-, and 65-inch screen sizes and every of those is on the market in quite a few color options including Ocean Blue, Racing Green, Dusky Pink, Ceramic White, and Anthracite Black to suit your décor.

For our review, we took delivery of the 55-inch version in Anthracite Black, which might be the least dynamic of the bunch but a protected bet for those who’re not attempting to make an interior design statement.

From the front, Sky Glass has an expansive screen that pushes right to the very fringe of the case, apart from the underside of the design that is taken up with a hefty “chin” to accommodate the Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbar that sits underneath the panel. Unfortunately, squeezing a soundbar right into a telly means you will lose the “flat” a part of the flatscreen with this device looking pretty chunky. All of the clever technology inside makes Sky Glass incredibly thick – around two inches – which may not suit everyone’s tastes, especially those wanting who need to mount the screen to their lounge partitions. That is not a flatscreen and it’s going to protrude from the wall like a medieval painting.

So, that is the way it looks on the surface but what in regards to the all-important visuals?

Activate Sky Glass and you may get a good image with content looking crisp and sharp which – this can be a 4K screen in spite of everything. Nevertheless, since Sky Glass relies on a QLED panel, don’t expect anything like the colourful colour-packed visuals found on more premium OLED TVs as this all-in-one 4K TV doesn’t come near matching those visuals.

Even in comparison with other QLED TVs throughout the same price range, we might say that the majority things watched on Sky Glass look a bit dull …irrespective of how much we tweaked the settings. It almost feels as if a subtle grey wash is being smeared over every image on-screen. That is something that is likely to be solved with a software update (even in our short time with Sky Glass, we have already seen a significant update to spice up visuals and iron out some bugs) but there isn’t any guarantee that things are going to recover on that front.

Sadly, Sky Glass just doesn’t offer eye-popping visuals and if that is vital to you, we might properly recommend saving your money and buying a QLED or, even higher, OLED from the likes of Samsung, Sony, or Panasonic within the Black Friday sales. And for those who have already got an expensive telly in your lounge, you actually don’t need to swap it out for Sky Glass as that is probably going to seem like a downgrade in your next movie night.

As we have mentioned, Sky Glass arrives with a soundbar built-in and it actually makes the audio from this TV much better than the rest you will get from a contemporary flatscreen telly out-of-the-box. Dialogue cuts through clearly and there is enough rumble from explosions to make motion movies feel a bit more epic, and ominous rattles in horror movies send a shiver down your spine. After all, it doesn’t compare to standalone products from the likes Sony or Sonos, but these alone cost almost as much because the Sky Glass, in order that’s no surprise.

Sky Glass is largely each good and bad. We love the all-in-one design, thin borders across the display, not to say the fruity color options and the actual fact there’s only one cable that may end the same old spaghetti of leads that typically find yourself behind the screen.

Nevertheless, the actual fact it is so thick and the visuals lack the punch of other TVs in the marketplace means it’s difficult to provide Sky Glass the total thumbs up.

Sky Glass Playlists

Sky Glass relies on the brand new Playlist feature as a substitute of recording to a harddrive like Sky Q (Image: SKY)

Using Playlists

To date, we have spoken in regards to the simplicity of Sky Glass, but here’s where things begin to get complicated. Unlike Sky Q, there isn’t any hard disk tucked inside Glass. Meaning you may’t physically record your favourite shows or movies to observe at any time when you fancy.

Sky is switching things up on Glass, which ditches the much-loved recordings feature for something called Playlists. Don’t panic – you may still view your favourite programmes after they’ve aired on live TV (more often than not), but you’ll have to vary your habits. Shows added to your Playlist are viewed via catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and All4, to call a number of. These stream the shows and flicks via the cloud, as a substitute of storing them locally in your Sky Q, for instance.

Playlist has its own menu, with shows appearing at any time when they’re available to observe over your broadband connection. These shows and movies will also be accessed from the major Sky Glass homepage too. You too can find shows, movies or sports fixtures that you’ve got missed with a voice search. On Sky Glass, this could be done hands-free through the use of the wake phrase “Hey Sky” (identical to an Alexa-powered Echo) or with the handheld remote control. You too can add something to your Playlist by pressing the red + button on the distant – this also acts just like the Series Link feature on older Sky Q boxes.

Each time you need to watch something stored in Playlists, Sky Glass streams it straight to the screen. Nothing is saved in your system.

For our money, there are good and bad facets of this radical shake-up, so let’s start with what we like. Firstly, because the whole lot you watch is stored on the cloud you are never going to expire of disk space irrespective of what number of movies and episodes of The Simpsons you add to the Playlist.

Because it’s drawing from on-demand services, movies and shows can show up in your Playlist before they’ve aired on telly. That is perfect for anyone who cannot wait for the following episode. An excellent example of this was after we added Mamma Mia to our Playlist after we spotted it coming to ITV.

Sky Glass immediately checked and added the film straight to our Playlist because it’s currently available via Netflix, so we could watch hours sooner than originally planned – it’s all clever stuff.

Similar to Sky Q, you may whizz through recordings, pause, rewind and restart shows with all this happening and not using a hint of stutter.

So, that is what we like but sadly, there are also some highly annoying things about not having those physical recordings.

While you add a show – similar to Gogglebox – to your Playlist, Sky Glass assumes you wish each episode it will possibly possibly find. That makes things massively complicated as you find yourself having to scroll through countless episodes, relatively than simply the one you fancied viewing. To be fair, essentially the most recent episode will likely be shown first but we might still relatively not be bombarded by content that in some cases could be years old.

Then there’s the issue of episodes vanishing out of your Playlist before you’ve got watched them at any time when Sky or another catch-up platform loses the rights to indicate them. Match of the Day might be the most effective example of this nightmare because the BBC is barely allowed to feature this show on catch up for a really limited time.

Should you head on holiday for 2 weeks and have Sky Q you’d give you the chance to observe Match of the Day in your return via your recordings but attempt to do the identical thing on Glass and you’ll need no such luck. Grrrrrr.

We have also found instances of missing episodes from various series, which is not exactly Sky’s fault as it will possibly only stream what is on the market from All4, ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer, and others. Nevertheless, that doesn’t suggest it’s any less annoying while you’re attempting to catch-up on a boxset or watch a programme that you just missed last week.

And let’s be honest, there was absolutely nothing stopping Sky from installing a small 500GB harddrive inside Sky Glass to act as a back-up – only for use when viewers requested to permanently “Keep” a recording (a mainstay feature from Sky Q that does not exist with the stream-only Sky Glass). That will solve so much of our problems with Playlists.

There is not any query that streaming really is the longer term – it’s incredibly convenient (more often than not) and means you will never must worry about running out of storage, power cuts or poor signal interrupting your recordings (something that may plague Sky Q owners). Sky Glass’ clever recent software features make it easier to leap between live telly, old episodes streamed from a catch-up service, and the most recent installation that aired a number of hours ago.

That said, we just miss those physical recordings and think Sky must iron out among the glitches before we might be glad to ditch our trusty Sky Q box and move the whole lot over to the cloud for good.

Sky Glass Remote

Sky Glass ships with a color matched distant with backlit buttons and voice search (Image: SKY)

The All-Latest Distant

The last major handheld remote control redesign from Sky was back in 2016, alongside the Sky Q box. And while the all-new distant that ships with Sky Glass might look familiar, there are some major changes in comparison with the previous model. First up, Sky has used a soft-touch plastic for its recent channel-changer that feels very nice within the hand.

But the most effective upgrade is backlighting for the buttons, so you may easily make out the amount controls, numbers on the keypad and more when the sun goes down (or the curtains are closed for an all-day movie marathon). The distant that ships within the box with Sky Glass will probably be colour-matched to the set. Nevertheless, for those who determine that you just desire a change at a later date, the whole range, from Racing Green to Ceramic White, is on the market to buy from Amazon.

We haven’t any major quibbles with the new-look handheld remote control – the whole lot is in the proper place and it’s very easy to make use of. Nevertheless, it will’ve been nice if Sky had included dedicated fast-forward and rewind buttons. These controls can be found via the clicking wheel, which reduces the variety of buttons and makes the distant appear a bit more modern, but fast-forwarding through adverts is something that you will be doing on daily basis so a separate button would’ve been nice.

It is also a shame you could’t recharge the battery via USB-C. As an alternative, Sky Glass’ distant uses good ol’ fashioned batteries that may have to be replaced when things run flat. On condition that among the biggest telly manufacturers on the planet, like Samsung, have launched solar-powered distant controls (and even one model that keeps its battery topped up using the Wi-Fi signal running throughout your property), it is a shame to see that things have not moved on for the reason that launch of Sky Q in the case of battery technology from Sky.

Sky Glass Review Sky Stream Puck

Sky Stream Pucks could be added throughout your property to bring the Sky Glass experience to each room (Image: SKY)

Extras

Perhaps one in every of the best things about Glass is the brand new menu and user interface, which makes Sky Q look incredibly outdated. Glorious high-resolution visuals from television shows are displayed on the screen and scrolling through content feels really slick with glossy animations making feel like a really premium product.

Sky has also included another bonus extras including the power for the TV to show itself on while you walk within the room. It’s nothing we wanted to make use of frequently, nevertheless it’s a pleasant party trick that some owners will little question love.

Finally, there’s that straightforward access to content from other providers with Glass working much more efficiently when launching Disney+, Netflix, Apple TV+ or Prime Video. Support for brand new streaming service Paramount+ can be coming this summer, Sky has revealed.

If you will have TVs in other rooms Sky will sell you a Stream Puck which is a tool that is only available to Glass customers. This streaming box brings all of the features of Glass to non-Sky branded televisions. We have not tested the Puck so cannot offer you our thoughts nevertheless it feels like a neat way of getting Sky’s technology on any televisions you already own.

Sky Glass Review Sizes Available

Sky Glass might start from £13 but can get expensive pretty quickly (Image: SKY)

Price And Availability

Sky is being very clever with its pricing and offering Sky Glass identical to a pay monthly smartphone contract. Meaning you may take delivery of the 43-inch model for just £13 per 30 days. But before you begin jumping for joy at considered such an affordable price for a TV, there are a number of caveats. First off, that price is over 4 years, which implies committing to Glass for a really long time period (although, you’ll give you the chance to upgrade to recent models of Sky Glass through the contract, like trading in a smartphone mid-contract).

After which, there are the entire extras you will almost actually must add to your contract. Add Sky’s Ultimate TV bundle with a Netflix subscription (£26 a month) Sky Sports (£25 a month) and Sky Cinema channels (£11 a month) and things can soon start speeding past the £80 a month barrier. And that does not even include the £7.99 for Disney+ or similar subscription for Prime Video for many who want to observe the whole lot that releases and might come up on the watercooler within the office.

Then there are other extras including the power to stream to other rooms in your property with Sky Stream Pucks (£10 a month, plus an upfront £50 fee per Puck) and the power to observe in 4K (£5 a month). One final thing to notice is that after the primary 12 months you will also must pay an additional £5 per 30 days to fast-forward through the adverts on any catch-up content streamed to Sky Glass, which really leaves an incredibly bitter taste within the mouth.

To sweeten the deal, for a limited time, Sky will bundle a pre-paid debit card with £100 credit to spend on whatever you want. The £100 card could be used anywhere that accepts Mastercard which is, principally, all over the place. The generous £100 giveaway is the primary time we have seen a deal like this (often reserved for the older Sky Q hardware) on Sky Glass. So, for those who’ve been fascinated with buying the custom-designed QLED TV for months …now could finally be the time to make the leap!

Sky Glass review: Final Verdict

Sky Glass is a confident, daring swing at the longer term of television. After weeks of watching boxsets and live telly on Glass, there isn’t any doubt in our minds that this is what the longer term of television looks like. In any case, who desires to cope with the effort of picking between shows when a scheduling clash crops up, power cuts cutting short your recording, and a being forced to cull a boxset that has sat in your harddrive for the last two years because you’ve got run out of harddrive space?

Glass’ deal with streaming and catch-up services solves all of that. And eventually brings together all episodes of your favourite show – even when seasons are spread far and wide between different streaming platforms resulting from licencing agreements signed a long time ago.

After all, there are streaming set-top boxes – like Apple TV and Fire TV Stick 4K Max – that supply a few of this functionality. But none of those seamlessly mix in live television channels too. That is the ace up Sky Glass’ sleeve. And it plays it beautifully.

Sky Glass review – at a look

What We Loved

  • Easy Set Up
  • No Need For A Satellite Dish
  • Streaming All Of Your Telly Works Pretty Well
  • Latest Menu Design Looks Amazing
  • Support For The Biggest Streaming Apps Out-Of-The-Box
  • Seamless Search Across Every part
  • Hands-Free Voice Commands Lets You Lose The Distant
  • Pay Monthly Pricing Makes A Latest 4K TV Reasonably priced

What We Didn’t Love

  • Quality Of QLED Display Could Be Higher
  • No Physical Hard Drive To Record Shows, Movies and Sports
  • Sky Glass Bundles Can Get Expensive
  • Distant Still Takes Batteries 

So, why not award Sky Glass the identical five-stars present in our Sky Q review?

Sadly, we encountered various issues in our time with this all-new 4K TV, including the Playlist feature that mechanically populates with lots of of old episodes of shows – making navigation difficult, recorded shows vanishing without notice, and the undeniable fact that Sky Glass owners will soon be faced with an additional £5 charge every month to fast-forward through adverts.

These problems have to be completely ironed out before we are able to wholeheartedly recommend that everybody rushes to order a Sky Glass telly for his or her lounge.

Despite these niggles, Sky Glass is the primary telly we have ever used where all of our favourite streaming platforms work seamlessly together and finding recent shows, documentaries and flicks to observe is easy and (dare we are saying) enjoyable. Glass really does manage to chop out the stress of being overloaded with recent boxsets from Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and Apple TV+ every night, while also attempting to keep track of what is happening within the TV Guide.

Sure, the image quality is not going to blow you away, but for those who can pick up this telly-and-soundbar combo for a great deal, it provides a solid viewing experience. After all, for those who’ve splashed out on a high-end OLED telly within the last couple of years, Sky Glass will probably be a big downgrade. Likewise, for those who’ve treated yourself to a Dolby Atmos soundbar just like the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 or popular Sonos Arc.

But in case your current LED telly is beginning to get a bit long within the tooth and also you’re counting on the built-in speakers to enjoy the most recent blockbusters and cinematic television …Sky Glass will probably be a welcome upgrade to the image and sound.

All considered, Sky Glass shows an unlimited amount of promise for a primary attempt.

And let’s not forget that when Sky Q launched back in 2016, it had its fair proportion of bugs too. But within the years since its launch, Sky has rigorously refined the experience of using that set-top box – adding much-requested features like Netflix support – until it won every award in its field.

While it is a shame that Sky Glass has arrived in an analogous state to the unique Sky Q, in our testing, we have seen some amazing potential with this custom-designed telly. With a number of well-targeted software updates, this might be the most effective 4K TV for most individuals.

We’re not going to write down off Sky Glass quite yet. Trust us, this might be the longer term of television.

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