Sky Glass is a bespoke QLED TV that contains everything you need to enjoy the full Sky TV experience – without a satellite dish. For the first time ever, Sky has separated its premium television service from this receiver on the walls so viewers can tune in to live channels, watch hundreds of on-demand box sets, stream movies and shows from Netflix, Disney +, Prime Video, and more other popular apps with just one Wi-Fi connection.
Sky took the opportunity to introduce a number of other changes as well. As a result, Sky Glass has a very different user interface than Sky Q. Some of these changes are due to the new form factor. For example, Sky had to integrate ways to switch to other devices connected via HDMI, such as a Blu-ray player, game console, or Apple TV or other streaming set-top box. Other changes, such as the decision to remove a separate tab for TV Guide in the Menu tab and instead list the channels in a carousel at the top of the main page, could apply to Sky Q.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes for Sky fans is the decision to stop recording shows, films, and sporting events.
This is a monumental change from Sky, which pioneered the ability to record shows, pause and rewind live television with its groundbreaking Sky + box in 2001. But unlike Sky + and its successors, Sky Glass doesn’t come pre-installed with gigabytes of storage, so you can’t record your favorite episodes and movies the same way.
Instead, the record button on the redesigned remote has been replaced with a new + symbol. Tapping this button will add a show to your playlist.
This is a loaded version of Series Link on Sky Q that automatically schedules a recording for each upcoming episode. With Playlist, the software also searches Sky box sets and the libraries of synchronized streaming services – such as Disney + and Prime Video – to bring together earlier series and episodes. By jumping into your playlist, you can catch up on old episodes from a number of streaming services and tune in every week when new episodes air on Sky channels.
Sky hopes its new playlist system will prevent you from having to switch between its menu and another streaming app on its service to find the right episode. Sky has started pursuing this goal with Sky Q – which allows you to search the Sky and Disney + libraries from the main menu, so you don’t rent anything from Sky Cinema that’s already included in your monthly streaming subscription – but Sky Glass takes Things a step forward.
The other benefit of not keeping the recordings of each episode on a buzzing hard drive in the box is that you never have to worry about running out of space. Since everything is saved by Sky, you don’t have to delete a three-year-old episode of Graham Norton to make room for a new series. You also don’t have to worry about power outages or signal issues interrupting the recording as you are actually not recording anything onto your box.
However, there is a downside to this approach.
Since none of the episodes, movies, concerts, or sporting events you’ve added to the playlist are physically stored on a hard drive in your TV, you’re streaming the footage straight from Sky. First of all, this means that if you have problems with your Internet, you cannot call up old episodes again – unlike Sky Q, it breaks.
Yes, since everything in your playlist is streamed to your Sky Glass, recording works the same way as streaming an episode on All4 or ITV Hub. And just like the latter, which offers customers an optional monthly fee for eliminating the commercial breaks, Sky Glass charges viewers to remove all ads from episodes streamed from its servers.
This feature is known as an ad skip add-on and is available to all Sky Glass customers for the first year at no additional cost. If you still want to be able to see the ads in old recordings of the Great British Bake Off, I’m a star … Get me out of here, GoggleBox, last week tonight with John Oliver, Succession, and more, have to pay an additional charge of £ 5 per month.
For those who love browsing boxes of must-see TV shows or preferring shows from ad-sponsored stations like ITV, Sky, and Channel 4 over Beeb, this fee might be worth it. If you’re already paying for ITV Hub + to remove ads from its catch-up app and website – at a cost of £ 3.99 per month – Sky’s alternative, which removes ads from all channels, is going to seem like a bargain .
However, for those used to Sky + or Sky Q, it means a pretty significant change. It will be interesting to see how customers react after the first year of Sky Glass when they have invested in the new system … only to be hit at an extra cost. If you’re thinking of signing up – and there are still many, many advantages of this all-in-one 4K TV approach over the standard Sky Q box – it’s best to know all the facts in advance.