There’s some bad news for people thinking about buying one of Sky’s streaming-based devices – Sky Glass and Sky Stream. The Ad Skipping add-on, which used to be free for the first 12/18 months – will now cost you from day one.
Starting this week, customers who add Ad Skipping to their Sky Glass or Stream, will have to pay £5/month.
It’s important to note that existing customers – who already have the Ad Skipping add-on, won’t be affected by this for now – but they will start paying the £5/month once their initial 12/18 months free period is up.
The Ad Skipping add-on is especially important after Sky recently increased the number of adverts customers get when they watch Sky’s own channels.
Until recently (and since the launch of Sky Glass last year), adverts on Sky’s native on-demand content (that is – shows and films you get directly from Sky, and not on 3rd party apps like All4) were only visible BEFORE the start of shows and films – and even then, they were quite minimal.
A recent update, however, has added more ad breaks, and some shows/films now stop several times an hour to show you adverts (see below for a full explanation of how the add-on works).
Sky Glass (see my review), which was released last year, is a 4K TV set that features a QLED HDR display and a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar with six speakers.
Sky Stream (see our review), which launched a couple of months ago, is a standalone streaming set-top box that works with any broadband provider.
Unlike other Sky services in the UK, Sky Glass and Sky Stream don’t use a satellite dish – instead, they rely on broadband, and stream all the content to the TV, much like other streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV and Roku – or streaming services like Sky’s own NOW (see our Sky Glass VS Now comparison).
Therefore, both Sky Glass and Sky Stream don’t have any local storage for recordings – instead, on-demand content is streamed to you either from 3rd party services like BBC iPlayer and All4, or from “Cloud Recordings”.
This means that – unlike Sky Q, where you record content on a hard drive and can then fast forward without any add-ons – fast forwarding adverts on Sky Glass and Sky Stream is dependent on each app’s functionality.
Advert Skipping On Sky Glass / Stream Explained
As mentioned, adverts on Sky’s own channels (particularly the on-demand content) were minimal during Sky Glass’ first year.
But recently, more have been added, with Sky telling us that since the launch of Sky Glass they’ve been gradually rolling out the capability to show adverts on Sky’s on-demand content, and now most customers on Sky Stream and Sky Glass should be seeing them.
Therefore, adverts now show up both pre-roll (before the show/film begins), and mid-roll (with breaks in the middle of the show/film).
As expected, this has irritated many customers, who are now paying for a premium TV service – while also having to see more adverts.
Sky Q customers have been seeing adverts for years, even though they’re also paying premium prices – but that’s not very common with streaming services these days – unless they’re free, or you subscribe to special ad-supported cheaper tiers, like the new Netflix Basic-with-Adverts tier.
The Ad Skipping add-on works when you use Live Pause, Restart, Playlist or Sky On Demand, and also on three 3rd party apps – ITVX, STV Player and All4.
But to make things even worse, the Ad Skipping addon, despite its name, doesn’t exactly let you SKIP the adverts (at least not easily) – instead, it lets you Fast Forward them.
But you still have to sit through each break, remote in hand, trying to fast forward without missing the start of the show.
On Sky’s channels, at least, there’s a trick to actually Skip forward – by using your voice: Tell Sky Glass or Sky Stream’s remote “Hello Sky, skip X minutes” – and you can sort of skip over the adverts (but you have to be careful not to skip ahead too much).
On the 3rd party apps, however, you can’t skip with your voice – and Fast Forwarding is the only option left.
ITVX (formerly ITV Hub) and All4 have their own No-Adverts paid add-ons, which make the adverts go away completely – but that’s not what you get with Sky’s Ad Skipping add-on.
Sky’s Ad Skipping Addon – No Longer A Freebie
Even with its limited capabilities, the Ad Skipping add-on on Sky Glass and Sky Stream had one great thing going for it – it was free.
When Sky Glass first launched, it was offered as a free bonus for the first 12 months.
Then, when Sky Stream launched, the free period was extended to 18 months (the length of the optional contract one can take on the Sky Ultimate content package that you sign up for on Stream and Glass).
This means that existing customers will start paying the £5/month fee at some point (unless they cancel) – but not yet.
NEW customers, however – no longer get this bonus (though it may return in the future, of course).
Instead, if they choose to add the Ad Skipping add-on to their Sky Glass or Sky Stream service – they will have to pay the £5/month fee from day one.
The add-on is on a 31-days contract, so you don’t have to keep it for the entire length of your main contract (if you have one) – but can cancel or resubscribe to it every month.
Adverts Removal On Sky’s NOW
It’s also worth mentioning Sky’s OTHER long-running streaming service – NOW (formerly NOW TV) – because it also has pre-roll and mid-roll adverts (that were added last year).
On NOW, you can pay for NOW Boost – which, for £5/month, will remove the adverts completely.
As in, you won’t see them at all, and won’t have to fast-forward anything (Boost also adds 1080p video quality and a few other perks).
And that’s when – for the most part – NOW is cheaper than Sky Stream or Sky Glass.
On the other hand, NOW’s Boost won’t affect ITVX, All4 and STV Player – so it won’t let you fast-forward adverts on those 3rd party services.
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