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Sky Stream puck: what you need to know

Ding, dong the dish is dead

Stuff Sky Stream Puck with remote control on blue background

Not allowed a Sky dish at your pad, but already have a perfectly good TV so don’t want Sky Glass? Sky Stream is coming to save the day, slotting in between Sky Q and Now TV.

Sky’s recent announcement that it was making all of its channels available over the internet will have been music to your ears – and all you need is one of its dinky Stream pucks, which 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, how much will it cost, and when will it be available?

Stuff Sky Stream Puck on blue background

Sky Stream puck release date

Firstly, it’s worth noting that if you’ve already got Sky Glass at home, you can already buy a Stream puck directly from Sky. But don’t go thinking you can head to eBay and bag someone’s unwanted device for dish-free TV, though; right now, the Stream puck can only add multiroom capability to an existing Sky Glass setup. You won’t be able to use it on its own.

Sky hasn’t said exactly when it’ll be available as a standalone product – but we do know it’ll be later this year. We’re betting it’ll be out in time for the men’s football World Cup in November, as Sky will want to bag new customers eager to watch the action (even if it doesn’t actually have the rights to that, since the BBC and ITV do). We thought it might appear before the new Premier League season, but it has missed that slot.

One thing is for sure – 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, but it opted to strengthen its Now TV service with Full HD capabilities instead. We thought that Sky Q without a dish would end up being called Sky X, since that’s the name of the equivalent service in Austria.

Sky Stream Puck with remote face-on on blue background

Sky Stream puck price

Sky hasn’t revealed a price for the Sky Stream puck as a standalone product just yet. For new and existing Sky Glass customers, each puck costs £50, but right now the broadcaster is giving new customers their first puck for free. There’s then £10 to pay on a monthly rolling contract, in addition to your Sky Glass payment.

We predict two possible ways to pay. The first is that a single Stream puck may be free as part of a subscription. Considering there’s no charge for a Sky Q main box – you’re technically just renting it and have to return it if you cancel – it stands to reason a technically a less capable device than the Q box that doesn’t require a visit from an engineer to install would cost the same (or less). Sky may decide to charge extra for Ultra HD though.

The alternative is paying an upfront fee to own the hardware outright, with a number of months’ Sky subscription included. It’s what Sky did for its last standalone device, the Now TV smart stick – but given the Stream puck’s reliance on a Sky subscription, this is the less likely option.

Sky Stream puck design

The Sky Stream puck looks a lot like a slightly thinner Apple TV, but then it is hard to make a small black box stand out. With no tuners or hard drive inside it’s significantly smaller than even the Sky Q Mini boxes, with just a subtle Sky logo on top.

The remote you get is identical to the one that comes with Sky Glass, which 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, but it’ll respond to the ‘Hello Sky’ command if lifting a finger is too much effort.

The Sky Glass remote comes in five colours to match the TV, but it looks like the Stream puck will be available in any colour as long as it’s black.

Sky Stream interface on Sky Glass TV

Sky Stream puck specs and OS

The Stream Puck uses exactly the same interface as Sky Glass, which is a redesign of what you get with Sky Q. There’s still a guide to access live TV, 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 in to specific apps, such as Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer et al. 

In terms of specs, the Stream puck will support Ultra HD at 60fps, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound, but obviously you’ll need to plug it into a suitably specced TV and sound system for those. Sky recommends a minimum download speed of 15Mbps to use it, but if your TV and router aren’t on speaking terms it also comes with an ethernet port so you can hardwire it.