Not allowed a Sky dish in your home? Already have a perfectly good 4K TV so don’t want to swap it out for Sky Glass? Sky Stream is coming to save the day, slotting neatly between Sky Q and Now TV.
Sky UK’s announcement it was making its channels available over the internet will have been music to your ears. All you need is a dinky Sky Stream puck. It works in a similar fashion to an Amazon Fire TV stick or another streaming device: everything comes over Wi-Fi.
But how do you get it and how much does it cost? Also don’t forget to check out our Sky Stream review, too.
Sky Stream is essentially Sky Q without a dish and recordings
Sky Stream launched in October as a standalone product. The idea of Sky Q without a dish has been around for a while. Sky first talked about it coming to the UK in 2017. Instead of launching it, Sky opted to strengthen its Now TV service with Full HD instead. We thought that Sky Q without a dish would end up being called Sky X. It’s the name of the equivalent service in Austria, but that proved not to be the case. The concept is the same though: TV over your internet connection rather than a dish. You stream everything rather than recording it.
If you bought 2021’s Sky Glass, you’ll already be familiar with Sky Stream. You were able to buy a Stream to add multiroom abilities to Glass. Stream also uses the same interface as Sky Glass.
Sky Stream puck price and packages
Sky Stream will set you back either £26 or £29 per month. The cost depends on if you sign up for an 18-month contract, or prefer a 31-day rolling contract. You can cancel the latter at any time. Both carry a setup fee (despite not actually needing an engineer to visit your house and install it). The fee is £20 for anyone taking out an 18-month contract, or £40 for those on 31-day contracts.
The base package includes Sky Ultimate TV and Netflix Basic, with content delivered in HD. You’ll need to pay extra if you want Ultra HD at 60fps, which also comes bundled with Dolby Atmos audio. Provided the content supports it, of course. Sky Cinema and Sky Sports add-ons are also available.
You are also now able to buy Sky Stream from hundreds of Currys stores, too. That’s an exclusive deal until the end of 2023.
Sky Stream puck design and features
The Sky Stream puck looks a lot like a slightly thinner Apple TV. With no tuners or hard drive inside it’s significantly smaller than even the Sky Q Mini boxes. There’s not a lot to identify it, just a subtle Sky logo on top.
The remote you get is identical to the one that comes with Sky Glass. It is slightly different to the one for Sky Q. The layout has been tweaked, with a plus button to add stuff to your playlist instead of a record button. The button to activate voice control has also been moved front and centre. Stream will respond to the ‘Hello Sky’ command if lifting a finger is too much effort. The remote does remove the channel up and down buttons. This is a bit strange at first.
- Read more: The 29 best Sky Q tips and tricks
While the Sky Glass remote comes in five colours to match the TV colours, the Stream puck and remote are always black.
Sky Stream software
The Sky Stream puck uses exactly the same interface as Sky Glass, which is a redesign of what you get with Sky Q. Sky calls it Entertainment OS, but you’ll never come across this in use. Some modifications have been made from the original iteration of Glass. For example, a Continue watching rail of shows now replaces a Play now section which aggregated content, but this didn’t seem to resonate with users.
There’s still a guide to access live TV should you wish. But the focus is more on recommendations, which should get better the more you use it. Instead of recordings you get a Playlist, which is where you save all the stuff you want to watch. You can also jump into specific apps, such as Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer et al. Sadly, for fans of indie cinema and the works of Vincent Cassel, Mubi is not supported on Sky devices.
It’s Playlist that’s the powerful bit. You can now create playlists for different members of the family, which you couldn’t originally. The Personalised Playlist feature allows up to five family members to record the shows only they want to watch. There’s also a cast and crew rail that enables you to see other TV shows and movies a star has appeared in.
Playlists act like a ’cloud DVR’ says Sky, meaning that anything you add to Playlist will effectively be recorded for you in the cloud rather than on your box. However, that’s not always the case, particularly for live sport where you need to wait for it to appear on catch-up./
Sky recommends a minimum download speed of 15Mbps to use Sky Stream, but if you’d rather cable it up to your router then you can do via Ethernet.