UPDATE (November 2017): Having switched to Virgin Media back in February this year, I’m terminating my Virgin contract early and heading back to Sky. This involves switching back to Sky broadband (Sky Fibre Max) and Sky Q Multi-Room (2Tb box with 1 Sky Q mini box). Stay tuned for more blog posts on this.
Sky Q has arrived, and it’s not bad at all.
The Sky Q installer spent about 40 minutes in total – changing the LNB so that it can support wideband signals, then went and got the Sky Q mini installed upstairs in the bedroom. I didn’t want to install the Sky Q mini box immediately, and insisted that I’d do it myself later, but the installer was quite insistent that he do it. So I caved in and apologised for leaving my bedroom in such a mess (oh, the bachelor’s life!).
Once that was switched on, he got the main Sky Q Silver box – a mere slip of a thing compared to the portly Sky+HD box – up and running. Since I’m running Sky Broadband with the Sky Q Hub, the set-up was entirely based around the mooted wireless mesh network. The Sky Q mini box upstairs will boost the signal of any devices connected to the Wi-Fi network.
Once the Sky Q Silver box was hooked up to the Wi-Fi network (using WPS), we went upstairs to sort out the Sky Q mini box. Also connected via Wi-Fi. I’m keen to keep using Wi-Fi as too many ethernet cables cause clutter. I am not a tidy person when it comes to cabling.
I was asked if I had changed anything on the Sky Q Hub. I had. I had changed the SSID, the admin password, and the SSID password. I’ve kept the dual band SSID in tact (no separate SSID for 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz channels). I was told by the installer that changing anything on the Sky Q Hub could cause problems, but thankfully – maybe due to recent firmware upgrade – went through without any hiccups.
The installer checked the mesh network and all was good. Thankfully I live in an older, smaller building which doesn’t owe much to modern materials that block Wi-Fi signals. I dread to think what some of these Sky installers come up against with people living in more modern, bigger houses or apartments.
I was given a demonstration of the new system. I must admit that I do not like the touchpad remote control. It reminds me of the 4th generation Apple TV and that remote control isn’t impressive either. It’s far too easy to make mistakes with it. But – haHA – Sky have thought of that and provide you with THREE remote controls. One for the Sky Q mini box, one touchpad for the Sky Q Silver box, and another – identical to the Sky Q mini box remote control – that also operates the Sky Q Silver box. The remote is almost identical to the touchpad other than the touchpad surface is replaced by buttons.
In use, the Sky Q system is marvellous. While none of the scheduled recordings or previous recordings made by the Sky+HD box can be transferred, this isn’t a bad thing. It makes you think about what you want to record and gives you the opportunity to declutter. I know I record too much stuff without actually watching it.
The Sky Q app on the iPad Pro works very well – and when you’re using it at home, acts as another screen TV. You can stream live TV and transfer recordings and programs from the Sky Q Silver box to it.
The Sky Q mini is wonderful. I never had a Sky multi-screen subscription before, so all this is new. Everything you do on the Sky Q mini is streamed from the Sky Q Silver box downstairs, via Wi-Fi (and the Sky Q mini box also acts as a local hotspot for any devices, such as an iPad/iPhone, in the immediate vicinity). There is no delay, no noticeable difference in quality of image (speaking of which, the HD quality fo the new Sky Q Silver box is extraordinary – much, much better image quality from what I can see),
With UHD support and voice control (likely) to come this year, Sky Q will be the best way to view TV across multiple TVs and devices (as well as having more recording space and multi-record functions than the previous generation of Sky box). Until Virgin Media comes up with their own solution – their aging Tivo product is in dire need of modernisation – this is a good choice for the TV connoisseur. It ain’t cheap, but then again Sky have put a lot of development work into it, and will be putting in a LOT of support too. All that costs money, and Sky isn’t a charity. But then again it isn’t as expensive as you think. Sky owns the equipment, therefore, if any part of it goes TITSUP (total inability to support usual performance), then it’ll replace/fix it at any time during your subscription.
But my view is that Sky Q is worth the hassle. It’s not a replacement for Sky+HD yet, but if you want the ability to record more than two programmes than once, want to be able to watch multi-screen (including tablets) easily, want UDTV, then this is for you.
 Tomorrow this will be upgraded to the Sky Fibre Broadband Pro – hopefully.