One of the staples of Sky’s TV subscription service is the long-term contract: in most cases, customers who want to join Sky, have to sign up for a minimum term of 18 months. Surprisingly, that’s changing now – but only if you intend to buy Sky Glass.
Yes – customers who buy Sky’s new TV set, will get Sky’s subscription service on top with a 31-days rolling contract, instead of an 18-months contract. So they can cancel it at any point if they wish (we confirmed that with Sky).
Furthermore, even existing Sky Q customers who are mid-contract, will be able to cancel their previous contract when they “upgrade” to Sky Glass.
Some of the confusion online, however, stems from the fact that the Sky Glass TV can be bought in monthly instalments (see more details below) – but you’re actually buying the device, and the instalments are loan repayments.
So while you would still need to keep paying the 24/48 monthly payments for the device – the Sky subscription is, in fact, optional after the first month (though Sky Glass would lose some of its advanced functionality if you cancel Sky).
What Is Sky Glass?
Before we delve into the pricing details, here’s a quick reminder in case you haven’t been following Sky’s recent announcements:
Sky Glass is a 4K streaming-based TV from Sky that was announced last week. In addition to the 4K/HDR screen, it also comes with a built-in soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos.
But unlike Sky Q and other Sky devices, Sky Glass doesn’t require a satellite dish.
Instead, it relies on broadband and streaming – much like other streaming devices like the Fire TV and Roku. All of Sky’s channels and on-demand content, as well as Freeview channels, will be streamed to your TV via the internet.
Sky Glass also supports a range of 3rd part streaming apps, such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and many others (see the full list of Sky Glass apps here).
The TV comes with an advanced user interface the aggregates content from a variety of Sky channels and 3rd party streaming services – so you will see recommendations and watch lists with content from all the services/channels you’re interested in.
Plus, it includes voice control – so you can give it commands and search for titles using your voice.
Sky Glass Pricing Explained: No More Long Term Contracts
Long-term TV contracts are one of the many reasons I recommend TV cord cutting: when you subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or even Sky’s own NOW, you usually pay for just one month.
You can cancel at any point, and re-subscribe when it suits you.
How Do Current Sky Contracts Work?
Sky (and most other traditional pay-TV companies) never had that flexibility – their TV contract is usually set for a minimum of 18 months (or even more in some cases).
So when you join, you have to keep paying the basic rate for at least 18 months. On top of that, you can expand your plan with additional boosters and content add-ons (such as sports, Ultra HD content, etc.).
Those add-ons were sometimes available on rolling monthly contracts – so you could cancel the add-ons at any point – but even then, you would have had to continue paying for the base plan you signed up for.
During those 18 months, you simply can’t cancel your contract and your base plan. So a Sky Q plan that includes Sky Ultimate for £26/month, would cost you at least £26/m until the 18 months are over.
Sky itself can, in theory, cancel your contract mid-way, if you break its terms (if you don’t pay, for example). But then, in addition to it possibly hurting your credit score, you would still need to pay monthly early termination charges.
How Does The Sky Glass Contract Work?
The important bit to remember, is that with Sky Glass, there are two separate payments: what you pay for the device, and what you pay for Sky’s channels and service.
There are two ways to pay for Sky Glass (the device) – you can either pay for it all at once, or in monthly instalments. Either way, you then own the device – you don’t have to return it to Sky at any point, because it’s yours.
If you pay the whole amount upfront, The 43″ TV costs £649, the 55″ is £849, and the £65″ is £1,049.
If you prefer to buy Sky Glass in monthly payments, it’s important to understand those payments are a loan, either for 24 or 48 months. It’s interest-free, but it still requires a status and credit check, so if you miss a payment, it could certainly affect your credit score.
The 43″ starts at £13/m, the 55″ is £17/month, and the £65″ is £21/month – if you choose the 48 months option. There’s also a £10 upfront fee for all of them.
With the instalments option, you can’t stop paying mid-way, because as mentioned you simply bought the device and you’re repaying the loan payments. So only once those 48 (or 24) months are up, you don’t have to pay anything anymore for the device.
When you first order Sky Glass, however, it comes with a mandatory one month of Sky Ultimate – that’s Sky’s base package for the Glass.
Sky Ultimate includes Sky Entertainment with HD (a pack of channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky Max and others), Freeview, and the basic Netflix plan which only has SD content. And it costs £26/month.
But here’s the new part: Sky Ultimate is on a 31-days rolling contract, and that’s it.
So every month, you’re free to cancel Sky Ultimate (and any other add-ons you might have added on top), and leave Sky.
Keep in mind, some of the advanced functionalities of the TV (such as the aggregated search and playlists) would stop working if you unsubscribe from Sky.
But you would still be able to use the TV as a Smart 4K TV, and run some of the 3rd party streaming apps (or connect an external streaming device, such as an Amazon Firestick).
Oh, and if you bought Sky’s “Puck” as well (those are small set-top boxes that stream Glass’ content to other rooms), these would also presumably stop working once you ditch Sky.
Can Existing Sky Q Customers Get Sky Glass?
According to Sky, a customer can only have one account/contract at a time.
So if you already have Sky Q (or another type of Sky TV subscription), and you want to switch to Sky Glass and get the TV – you would have to cancel the existing contract, and sign up for the new Sky Glass plan.
Interestingly, however, even if you’re in the middle of an 18-months contract, Sky will cancel that contract when you move to Sky Glass, and switch you to the rolling 31-days contract instead – without any early termination charges.
So obviously, buying a new TV is not really the best way to ditch a long-term contract (if that’s your only goal) – but it’s good to know this path exists.
Is Sky Glass’ Rolling Contract Worth It?
I haven’t done a full review of the TV yet, so I can’t comment too much on the technical aspects of the device.
However, if we look at the pricing and the new contract terms: There’s certainly no point in getting Sky Glass if you don’t also want to subscribe to Sky (and, obviously, if you have no need for a new TV).
As a TV (with a built-in soundbar), and on specs alone, it looks impressive – but there are better – and, crucially – cheaper, options out there. Sky’s main selling point for Glass is how it integrates with Sky’s services.
Sky can offer a 31-days rolling contract in this case, because it knows that if you’re going to spend more than £649 on their TV, you would want to take advantage of all of its functions.
And, with Sky customers so used to adding various components to their monthly bill – seeing the £13+/m payment for the TV itself (for 4 years!), would presumably encourage them to just see Sky Ultimate as a “basic” add-on to what they’re paying anyway.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that Sky Glass is turning Sky into a flexible streaming service, of sorts.
If you want to save money at some point, if you want to switch to a different streaming service, if you’re just going on holiday for a few months – whatever the reason, you will be able to cancel Sky Ultimate at any point, and resubscribe later – and that’s a major change for Sky.
But only if you buy Sky Glass – for now.