Tech Alert no. 971: Cue Q!

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Being a bit of a TV addict (and now with a lot more time on my hands), I was very attracted to Sky’s new bit of tech called ‘Sky Q’. Their marketing team played the game early and started to saturate all media with promise of ‘fluid viewing’ (whatever that is!) supported by seductive visuals of shows moving between different rooms – all without ever revealing the price! Clever!

Well, as we all know, Sky’s never been known for being cheap, nor rewarding its loyal customers, so I was not initially expecting to hear or do anything more – apart from salivate! (sad techie that I’ve become). I was therefore very surprised to get an email from Mr Sky giving me a £99 ‘loyalty bonus’ towards a shiny new Sky Q setup.

Having ‘crunched the numbers’ and allowing for the forthcoming price increases from Sky, bizarrely, it actually worked out CHEAPER per month to upgrade than to stay still – I certainly wasn’t expecting that! OK there was a one-off fee of £50 for the setup, but going forward, I’m now about £1-a-month better off – that’s whole day of food for me at certain times of the year!

The Sky HD Box - so 'last century'
Our ‘old’ Sky HD Box

The two existing Sky HD boxes that we’ve had for centuries (well, it seems like it – actually July 22, 2011) are now pensioned-off and they’re replaced by the ‘mothership’ downstairs (about the third of the size and weight of the original) and a slightly smaller ‘sister’ –  the Sky Q mini – for the bedroom.

I always though the old HD Sky-box was a very smart design but looking at the new Sky Q box makes the old HD Box look very ‘last century’.

Sky Q Mothership

Its Sister Box – The Sky Q mini

The two NEW Sky Q Remotes
And as for the remote controls, you get TWO for the Mothership downstairs, and one for the ‘mini’ upstairs.

The one on the left is a slightly more futuristic – and smaller – version of the old HD style…whilst the other looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before in a TV remote. First impressions are that the latter takes a bit of getting used to, and that you need the precision of a very-precise-thing to get the most from it – many functions are all done with a gentle slide of the finger/thumb in the central circular area. Scary!
Surprised smile

If the designs of both Boxes and both remote controls don’t grab you, then the tech inside them will. No-one else comes close. I used to think that recording two programmes whilst watching a third was clever but these girls allow FOUR recordings at once, whilst watching a fifth (and all without needing any extra cabling – less in fact!) – very useful these days when ALL the best programmes seem to be on at 9pm! Better still, the Box come with a massive 2Tb of space. That’s more than enough until we’re all watching 4k or 8k transmissions.

Our new ‘Sky Q’ Box

I’ve saved the best until last in terms of the features, so here’s a run-down of some of its core features

  • 350 hours of HD TV
  • 12 tuners (10 enabled)
  • 4K-ready
  • The ability to watch any of your recordings on your tablet
  • and another Tablet too.. at the same time! (Note to self: must borrow some children!)
  • Watch a recording downstairs, stop it and finish watching it upstairs
  • A fancy remote that uses Bluetooth 4 – so there’s no need to aim it exactly at the TV to use
  • Download your recordings to your Tablet to watch elsewhere (useful if you’ve got behind with your viewing and are just about to go on holiday)
  • If you lose your remote, pressing a button on the Main Box makes the remote beep so you can find it
  • Direct access to YouTube and Vivo
  • Dedicated app for Tablets to mimic the main Box
  • Wired or wireless connectivity including 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi
  • HDMI-in socket
  • Ability to send your music collection to your TV
  • View your Facebook photos on all TVs
  • …as well as any other photos that are on your Tablet or PC

..and there’s loads more that I haven’t got my head round yet!

Interesting times – and square eyes – ahead then!
Disappointed smile 
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