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Sky Q Ultra HD 4K coming in August (HDR to come later)

Sky Q1 made standard TV more flexible, but the one question on everyone’s minds was, when is 4K coming? The answer is August 13th, kicking off, literally, with the first game of the Premier League, Hull City vs Leicester City. In addition, Sky will have more than 70 movie premieres, including Spectre and The Martian; 30 rental movies, including Angry Birds and the entire Ghostbusters; a massive library of movies, including Minority Report, Forrest Gump and the Spider-Man trilogy. This immediately means that Sky Q has a larger catalogue of films than is available with Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Related, Ultra HD and 4K: the definitive guide2

Beyond sports and films, Sky is also bringing additional documentaries and dramas, including David Attenborough’s Sky programmes and series 4 of The Blacklist.

How to get 4K on Sky?

You’ll need a Sky Q Silver box, as the regular Sky Q box doesn’t support 4K. As I originally reported, Sky will be delivering content through a mix of live and on-demand programming3, with a bias towards the latter. Sports, of course, are broadcast live, with the picture received via satellite. Live programmes will give people the option to switch to the Ultra HD stream, and they can toggle between both modes using the Mini Guide. Programmes can also be set to record. Movies, documentaries, drama and entertainment shows are all available on-demand and have to be downloaded to the box (here’s hoping season 6 of Game of Thrones is available).

What about HDR?

HDR4 is one of the most exciting new technologies to come with 4K, delivering a huge range in contrast on supported footage and TV. Sky Q will not have HDR at launch, though. As Sky explained, “We will always aim to offer customers the highest possible picture quality, and we ll take a view on HDR once the standards are finalised by the industry. The specifications for HDR in live TV have not been finalised yet.”

Can you watch 4K on Sky Q Mini or tablets?

There will be no way to watch recorded, live or on-demand Ultra HD programmes on a Sky Q Mini box, as the Sky Q Silver box can’t convert the 4K stream into a compatible 1080p one. It’s possible that this may change in the future (pure speculation on my part), but for now, you may need to record the 4K and Full HD versions of a show if you want the ability to stream around your house.

References

  1. ^ Sky Q (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  2. ^ Ultra HD and 4K: the definitive guide (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  3. ^ As I originally reported, Sky will be delivering content through a mix of live and on-demand programming (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  4. ^ HDR (www.expertreviews.co.uk)