Sky could reveal first-ever 4K TV tomorrow as company expands beyond satellite telly
Sky is poised to move beyond set-top boxes and satellite dishes, according to the latest whispers. The UK broadcaster will hold a major launch event in central London tomorrow, which it has teased with the tagline “Something Magical Is Coming”. And rumours suggest that we could see something completely new from Sky.
That’s because the firm is widely-tipped to unveil its first-ever Smart TV. Sources speaking to internet-obsessed blog ISPreview claim the R&D teams at Sky have been working on a new 4K QLED television that will ship with an integrated sound system and a lightweight set-top box that lets viewers enjoy the same experience as Sky Q… but without the need for a satellite dish drilled into the side of their home. It also means those living in apartment blocks without a Sky Q-compatible communal dish will be able to enjoy the upgraded Sky experience, which first launched back in February 2016, for the first time.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Sky has experimented with hardware beyond its standard set-top box. Back in 2018, the company announced the Sky Soundbox, which was created in collaboration with high-end French audio brand Devialet, to boost sound when watching movies and sports on Sky Q. The chunky soundbar was sold at a discounted rate to Sky Q subscribers and could be controlled with the same Sky Q Voice Remote used for the set-top box.
Unfortunately, that brilliant Devialet-built speaker won’t be making an appearance in the new QLED TV, dubbed Sky Glass.
However, sources claim Sky Glass will arrive with an integrated Dolby Atmos soundbar in the design. Leaked images reveal a sizeable chin beneath the vibrant display to house the speaker. Sky Q supports Dolby Atmos, so it makes sense that Sky would opt for this ultimate audio standard when designing its own televisions. Unlike rival TVs from Samsung, Sony and Hisense, Sky Glass will ship with all of the smarts needed to stream Sky TV channels, watch on-demand boxsets and blockbusters from Sky Cinema, and watch Sky Sports in crisp 4K HDR.
Like the rumoured new set-top box, believed to be based on the hardware already revealed by Sky’s US parent company Comcast last month, viewers won’t need to rely on a satellite dish drilled into the wall outside to watch the latest live channels and on-demand content. Instead, Sky Glass will arrive with a new device referred to as a “puck”, which will enable viewers to stream the Sky Q experience. Those who don’t want to tune-in – or have a contract with Virgin Media – can presumably leave the “puck” unplugged.
Sources speaking to Express.co.uk have previously revealed that Sky will require a minimum broadband speed of 6 Mbps to stream its terrestrial channels. For comparison, Netflix recommends a minimum of 5 Mbps to watch in High Definition picture quality.
In terms of sizing, sources speaking to ISPreview claim Sky Glass will arrive in 43-, 55- and 65-inch display sizes. Pricing remains unclear, but some sources have suggested the 43-inch model will start from around £650. For comparison, Samsung sells its 43-inch QLED TV – which has 4K and HDR support, but no included sound system – for £629. If the reports are accurate, it suggests that Sky won’t be charging a premium compared to its rivals.
That would make sense. After all, most 4K Smart TVs ship with a number of content providers preinstalled. Samsung TVs boast a wide range of free advert-supported content via its Samsung TV Plus service, as well as applications for Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, and many more. Roku-branded TVs include the same technology that powers its hugely-popular streaming dongles, including its own free-to-watch Roku Channel and Sky’s contract-free NOW service.
It’s possible that Sky Glass will be sold as a premium QLED TV that happens to include the smarts to sign-up to a Sky Q-like experience over your broadband. For those who are looking to upgrade to a new television – and are tempted to catch-up on some of the exclusive shows, channels, and sport fixtures only available from Sky – it could be a brilliant option.
For those who don’t know all the acronyms like the back of their hand, QLED stands for Quantum Light-Emitting Diode, sometimes called a Quantum Dot Display. In a nutshell, QLED works like the bog-standard LED TVs – meaning there is a backlight built from hundreds or thousands of LEDs that light the individual pixels. However, QLED improves on standard LED by employing nanoparticles – known as quantum dots – to super-charge the brightness and colour of these individual pixels.
As a result, everything displayed on the screen should be more vibrant, colourful and very pleasing on the eye. While gloomy scenes in shows and movies viewed on a LED panel can have a slight grey-ish sheen, compared to the deeper blacks found on QLED and the pitch-black colours found on the priciest telly technology on the market right now, OLED.
Yes, despite the names sounding pretty similar, it’s worth remembering that QLED isn’t the same as OLED. While QLED is a step-up (in quality and in price) from LED, OLED is even more expensive. As you might expect, it’s also even more capable when it comes to producing vivid colours and cavernous blacks. That’s because OLED – or Organic Light-Emitting Diode – panels don’t rely on a uniform backlight. Instead, each individual pixel is an LED that can be switched on and off to create colour or total darkness.
Like Sky Q, you’ll be able to pause a recorded show on one screen and pick-up in another room with Sky Glass or another Sky-branded set-top box. Recordings can be downloaded and taken away with you via the Sky Go app on tablets, iPhone and Android. It’s unclear whether Sky Glass and the new streaming-only set-top box will replace the existing Sky Q set-top box. Either way, there’s not long to wait. Express.co.uk will be in the audience during the “Something Magical” event tomorrow, so stay tuned for all of the biggest announcements.
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