Sky Glass VS Amazon Fire TV Omni: Smart TVs Compared

, By

This post may contain affiliate links*

Remember when Smart TVs were just big screens with a slow, confusing interface and a Netflix app? Those days are long gone, and the two contenders we’re comparing today – Sky Glass and Amazon’s Fire TV Omni – represent the next generation of Smart TVs.

The two aim to really combine the hardware with the software, and control the whole experience of watching and streaming TV – and they both succeed at it… up to a point.

With 4K QLED displays, powerful (ish) speakers, a long list of streaming apps, voice control and even gaming – these two streaming-based Smart TVs try to give customers everything but the kitchen sink.

And here in the UK, Freeview is an important part of that experience, so both Glass and the Omni try to integrate it into their operating systems – with various degrees of success.

And yet, despite some of the similarities, Sky Glass and Amazon’s Omni also have some major differences, with Sky’s TV being a vehicle for a Sky subscription, and Amazon’s TV being a more general-use device (though it still definitely pushes Amazon’s eco-system to the forefront).

So, let’s take a closer look…

What Is Sky Glass?

Sky Glass was originally released in October 2021, and became widely available in late January 2022.

Sky Glass pink - home
Sky Glass

It’s a 4K/HDR QLED TV with a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar that holds six speakers, and it has a near-field microphone, so you can give it voice commands without having to use the remote.

Sky Glass is available in three sizes: 43″, 55″, and 65″.

Unlike Sky’s traditional UK services, Sky Glass doesn’t use a satellite dish – instead, it relies on broadband and streams all the content to the TV, much like other streaming devices like Amazon’s Fire TV sticks and Roku – or streaming services like Sky’s own NOW (also see our Sky Glass VS Now comparison), and the smaller Sky Stream, the streaming set-top box from Sky.

Sky continues to roll out updates for Sky Glass – a recent update improved the picture quality on the TV, and personalised profiles were also added just a couple of months ago.

What Is Amazon’s Fire TV Omni TV?

Amazon’s top-of-the-line Fire TV series has been available in the US since 2022, and has finally reached the UK in 2023 (along with Amazon’s cloud gaming service – Luna).

Amazon Fire TV Omni in living room official

The Omni QLED Series features a 4K/HDR QLED display and is available in four sizes, 43″, 50″, 55″, and 65″.

The Omni TV serves both as a Fire TV streaming device, and a hands-free Alexa assistant, as it also has a near-field microphone (so you can talk to it without having to use the remote – just like the Fire TV Cube or Amazon’s Echo devices).

And with this being a huge screen that sits in your living room, the Omni also features what Amazon calls ‘Ambient Experience’ – which uses the screen to show personalised art, photos and widgets.

Sky Glass VS Fire TV Omni: Design and Appearance

The first thing that comes to mind when looking at Sky’s TV is that it’s… big. Not only in size, but in its presence, with a huge bezel and its bold colours – you can select from Ceramic White, Dusky Pink, Ocean Blue, Racing Green, and Anthracite Black.

Sky Glass side
Sky Glass

Plus, it’s thick – much more than we’re used to with flat screens these days (the excuse for that is the built-in soundbar), and – it’s quite heavy, at 28kg without the stand, and 35kg(!) with the stand, for the 65″ model.

Amazon’s Fire TV Omni is much more modest in those regards: it only comes in one colour (Grey metal), which you won’t even see much of because there’s almost no bezel.

The perceived thickness cheats a bit – the frame looks quite thin, but it has a bulky square in the back – the whole thing won’t really look like a picture frame on your wall if you decide to hang it. Then again, it only weighs 21.2kg without the stand.

Amazon Fire TV Omni ports
Fire TV Omni

The Winner: Fire TV Omni

It’s hard to pick a winner in this category, since the two represent such different design philosophies – Sky Glass screams “I’m Here!” and is meant to be a centrepiece in your living room, and the Omni tries to blend in and make it all about what’s ON the screen, and not around it.

Still, the Omni is easier to fit into any living room, regardless of your room’s colours and design choices – so it takes the lead here.

Sky Glass VS Fire TV Omni: The Hardware

Picture And Audio Quality

I’ve been using Sky Glass for more than a year now, so I can easily judge its picture/video and sound quality.

However, I only spent a short time with Amazon’s Omni TV, at its launch event – therefore I can only give you a partial comparison on this front, for now.

First, the technical aspects: both TVs have a 4K QLED display with HDR support – HDR10, DolbyVision and HLG on both of them, but the Omni also adds support for HDR10+ Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ.

I’ve always said that, at least in terms of the picture and audio, Sky Glass is a mid-range TV that’s priced like high-end TV. It’s not bad, the colours are quite vivid, and the backlight is fine (especially after the recent software update that improved picture quality).

Sky Glass

But the blacks are never black enough, and the picture isn’t as crisp as you would expect from a top-of-the-line QLED TV these days.

In my short time with the Omni TV, the picture quality looked excellent – though I did notice some slight 4K picture smearing – but, again, I would need to spend more time with the TV to judge it more accurately in that regard.

Amazon Fire TV BBC
Fire TV Omni

As for the sound – Sky Glass comes with a “built-in soundbar” with Dolby Atmos support. So yes, it’s considerably better than what you get with most built-in TV speakers.

But if you’re looking to be blown away by the sound – you won’t. When compared to some top-range (or even a mid-range) soundbars, the sound is adequate but not overly impressive. The bass, in particular, is disappointing – even if you turn on the “Bass Boost” mode, it remains weak. 

The Fire TV Omni doesn’t even try too much in terms of sound – like many flat-screen TVs, it has tiny 12w speakers, and it doesn’t even directly support Dolby Atmos.

So it’s fine for basic use, and you’ll hear its voice assistant just fine – but, frankly, the Omni expects you to buy a soundbar if you want a real theatrical experience in your living room.

The Winner: TBD

I can’t pass full judgement here until I spend more time with the Fire TV Omni – but for now, Sky Glass takes the lead, if only for its better speakers (even though they’re not as good as high-quality soundbars).

Voice Control

Both Sky Glass and Amazon’s Omni TV have always-listening near-field microphones that you can use without having to pick up the remote (but you can also turn them off, for privacy).

Sky Glass’ voice interface is pretty basic: you say “Hello Sky” to wake it up, and can then say things like “Volume up”, “Switch to HDMI 2”, or use it to search for content and run apps – “Movies with Tom Holland”, “Open BBC iPlayer”, etc.

It’s useful (when it actually understands you, which it often does – but not always), but that’s about it.

Amazon, which helped make voice assistants a household feature, brings Alexa to the table.

Therefore, the Fire TV Omni’s voice control is used both for TV commands (volume, running apps, searching for content, etc.) – AND for interacting with Amazon’s voice assistant. So you can ask about the weather, ask for the news, jokes, trivia tidbits – and you can even use it to control other compatible Smart Devices around the house.

The Winner: Fire TV Omni

Sky Glass can’t really compete with Alexa – you get a full-featured voice assistant on the Omni, as opposed to a modest little voice helper on Glass.

Using Sky Glass VS Using Fire TV Omni

The Interface

If you’ve ever used a Fire TV stick, you’ll feel right at home – as the Omni’s interface is basically the same, with a few added TV-related aspects.

Amazon Fire TV Omni

And while I’m certainly a fan of Amazon’s Fire TV streaming sticks – I’m not a big fan of their interface. It works, and it’s not awful – but it has gotten bloated over the years, full of confusing recommendation rails, different ways to find apps (and then the app you actually want is tucked away), and even banner ads.

It all gets better when you’re using your voice – but with voice control, you generally need to know what you’re looking for. If you just want to browse for something to watch, across multiple streaming services – the Fire TV’s interface is a bit of a mess.

Furthermore, content from services you’re subscribed to is mixed with content from services you would need to pay more for, and of course – Amazon’s own Prime Video content takes centre stage (even if you don’t have a Prime subscription).

On the plus side, the Fire TV OS fully supports user profiles – so each member of the family can have their own watchlist, favourite apps/streaming services, etc.

As for Sky Glass’ interface – Sky Q users will feel right at home, as the look and feel are similar (even though the way everything works is quite different).

Everything is based around “rails” of content – either recommendations of content you might like, or content you’ve actually been watching within your “Playlist”.

Playlist higher on Sky Glass and Stream
Sky Glass

While programmes and films from Sky’s own channels DO get a more prominent place, Glass does a nice job of giving you content suggestions from all over the place – you will see thumbnails of stuff from Netflix, Paramount+, BBC iPlayer and more.

And while the interface is not without faults (and even bugs, here and there), it’s a lot cleaner than the Fire TV interface – things are generally where you expect them to be (especially after one of the recent software updates, that made the Playlist and Continue Watching more prominent), and it’s fairly easy to find what you’re looking for – be it a specific programme or an app/channel.

Sky Glass doesn’t fully support profiles, however – Sky did finally add a “Personalised Playlist” feature recently, which only partially covers this: it lets you create different Playlists for different members of the family – but you don’t get fully separated profiles.

The Winner: Sky Glass

While it’s true that things are easier for Glass because it only supports a fraction of the apps and things that the Fire TV can do – it still excels in making the interface easier to use and understand.

Apps And Streaming Services

Sky Glass and the Fire TV Omni both have apps for most of the major streaming services and catch-up apps in the UK: from BBC iPlayer and ITVX, to Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+ and a few others (and, of course, a YouTube app).

But that’s where the comparison ends – as Amazon’s Fire TV ecosystem, which has been around for years, has hundreds if not thousands of supported apps and streaming services – while Sky Glass only has a low 2-digit number of apps.

And it’s not just about the more obscure streaming services – the Fire TV also has utilities like VPNs apps, weather apps, apps that let you control various smart devices around the house, and more.

Plus, the Fire TV Omni also supports Amazon’s cloud-gaming service – Luna – which lets you play console-level games without needing a console (via streaming).

Amazon Luna games on screen
Amazon Luna on the Omni TV

Of course, Sky Glass adds Sky’s own channels to the mix – and those aren’t directly available on the Fire TV – but you can easily get them via Sky’s NOW app for Fire TV (though NOW doesn’t support 4K, so it’s not as good as Sky’s native channels).

The Winner: Fire TV Omni

If you’re only looking for the major-league apps, you’ll find most of them on both TVs. But if you want a rich library of streaming services and apps – the Omni is a clear winner.

Freeview On Sky Glass / Fire TV Omni

With people looking to ditch expensive pay-TV subscriptions, Freeview is becoming more and more popular – and both Sky Glass and the Fire TV Omni have some support for it – but in different capacities.

The Fire TV Omni supports Freeview Play, so you get all the catch-up streaming apps that come with the platform: BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Legend, STV Player, POP Player, PBS American and BBC Sounds.

It also has a Freeview tuner built-in (as all modern TVs in the UK do), so if you connect an aerial, and have decent reception, you’ll be able to get more than 80+ Freeview channels over-the-air. 

Amazon Fire TV Omni Freeview guide
Freeview on the Fire TV Omni

However, there’s no recording on the Fire TV Omni, and streaming Freeview content only works with the Freeview Play apps (such as iPlayer and ITVX) – but if a Freeview channel doesn’t have its own app (and most still don’t) – you won’t be able to stream or catch-up on any of the content – just watch it live.

In an interview I did last year with Amazon’s Vice President for Entertainment Devices and Services, Daniel Rausch, he said Amazon would be looking into Freeview-via-streaming, a feature that now exists on devices from Sky, Virgin Media and BT. Alas, that is nowhere to be found yet – not even on the Omni.

Furthermore, the Omni TV also misses the mark on its EPG / Freeview Guide integration – you do get the full EPG, so you can check the TV guide for up to 7 days ahead, but unfortunately, there’s no integration between Alexa and the TV’s voice search – and the EPG.

So, if you ask Alexa to search for shows with Gordon Ramsay – you’ll get results from the various streaming apps and services that the Fire TV Omni supports – but you WON’T get results from the Freeview EPG.

Things are much better in this regard on Sky Glass: you don’t need an aerial at all (though you can connect one for “backup”), and Freeview channels are streamed to you via broadband.

Sky Glass TV Guide
Freeview On Sky Glass

That being said, even Sky Glass doesn’t support the full range of Freeview channels – and quite a few, even some popular ones, are still missing.

Sky Glass also supports – or more accurately – gives the illusion of supporting – recordings from live channels.

In practice, most programmes you mark to add to your Playlist are then simply streamed back to you when you want to watch them later – with only a handful of channels actually recording content to Sky’s cloud (as Glass doesn’t have its own hard drive).

It’s not a perfect solution – but it certainly gives you a lot more flexibility than the Omni, where if a channel doesn’t have an app – there’s no way for you to watch its programmes again/at a later date.

Lastly, it’s important to note that Freeview-via-broadband on Sky Glass comes at a cost – literally. Without having an active Sky subscription, you can’t stream any of the Freeview channels. 

The Winner: Sky Glass

If you’re looking for a vast range of Freeview channels via broadband – along with the ability to catch up on most of them – Sky Glass is the clear winner.

Cost: Sky Glass VS Fire TV Omni Pricing

Probably the biggest difference between Sky Glass and Amazon’s Omni TV is their pricing structure.

With the Omni, you simply buy a TV – just like people have been doing for years and years. There are four sizes and price points, ranging between £549.99 for the 43″, and up to £999.99 for the 65″ model.

It’s a one-time cost for the hardware, and then, if you don’t want to pay any more, you can simply use the free TV services and channels – either Freeview via an aerial, or the Freeview Play streaming apps like iPlayer, ITVX and All4, with their huge libraries of content.

If you want more, you can subscribe to paid streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon’s own Prime Video – but they’re all flexible, and you can cancel and re-subscribe at any time.

Sky Glass is different: first, you pay for the TV set itself. You can either pay everything up front, or in instalments – which are not a subscription, but rather a loan that you pay back over 24 or 48 months.

Sky Glass - three sizes

Prices start at £699 for the 43″ model, or £14/month with the 48-month loan and £28/month with the 24-months loan. It goes up to £1199 for the 65″ model, or £24 / £48 per month for 48/24 months loan.

But the costs don’t end there with Sky Glass – as you then need to add a Sky Ultimate subscription on top – the basic package that includes Sky Entertainment (with premium channels like Sky Atlantic), along with Netflix’s Basic tier.

To complicate things even further, there are two ways to subscribe to Sky Ultimate – you can sign a rolling, 31-days contract that you can cancel anytime – but you’ll pay more for that flexibility. Or, you can sign an 18-months contract – which will give you a discount. 

As of this writing, Sky Ultimate costs £26/month on the 18-months contract, and £29/month on the 31-days contract. And, of course, those prices go up occasionally.

Sky Ultimate content
Sky Ultimate

But wait, there’s more! You can then add more stuff on top – such as additional premium channels (BT Sport, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, etc.), and – if you want to watch Sky’s content in 4K – you need to pay for an Ultra HD add-on (£6/month). And if you want to skip the ads… that’s another £5/month.

So, in common Sky fashion, there are lots of price points, tiers and add-ons to navigate.

As mentioned, you can cancel all the content packages (unless you sign the 18-month contract), and once you finish paying for the TV itself, you’ll own it (and can even resell it). 

But there’s a big caveat – if you don’t have a Sky account, Sky Glass get crippled. 

First, you will lose all of Sky’s content (that’s a given), and you won’t be able to use the Playlist feature anymore. Not just for Sky’s programmes, but for 3rd party services as well.

You will also lose the voice control abilities, the Auto-Enhance feature, the motion sensing, personal recommendations, and even the Find My Remote feature.

And since Freeview is based on streaming in Sky Glass’ case, you will also lose access to all the Freeview channels – unless you plug in an aerial, and have decent reception – in which case the TV will act as a regular, aerial-based Freeview TV with Freeview’s default EPG.

And, the worst bit – if you don’t have any Sky accounts connected to the TV (even a ‘free’ one will suffice though) – then even the 3rd party apps like iPlayer, ITVX and YouTube will stop working – so, Sky Glass will at that point become a big and heavy HDMI monitor, without any “Smart” capabilities.

The Winner: Fire TV Omni

Sky’s pricing structure makes things overly complicated – not to mention you lose most of the TV’s capabilities if you stop paying – which is why the Omni is a clear winner in this category.

The Bottom Line: Sky Glass Or Omni 4K?

As always, the choice between the two devices comes down to individual preferences and the type of TV content you prefer to watch.

If you’re a big fan of Sky and its content/channels, and you’re planning to remain a Sky subscriber for a long time – then the different cost structure and the fact that Sky Glass ends up costing more over time, may not bother you too much.

But for those who want a 4K QLED TV with an integrated smart operating system that simply lets you watch everything that’s out there, but with the flexibility of only paying for what you want – the Omni wins the day.

Then again, if you’re into Freeview, you love watching those obscure channels that are hidden deep inside the EPG, and your aerial reception is bad – then Sky Glass gives you a streaming solution that the Omni is lacking.

As for the interface and usability – the Fire TV Omni is certainly the more advanced option, at least in terms of features, apps and things it can do – but then, if you want something that’s easy to use, and is much more friendly – Sky Glass is the answer (though Roku’s TVs are also a great option in terms of ease-of-use).

Amazon Fire TV Omni widgets
Fire TV Omni – It even has widgets

All in all, both TVs represent interesting new directions in the “Smart TV” arena – but, for the long term, the Omni TV is probably the superior choice at this point in time, at least in technical terms – especially with Sky Glass and its display being more than 18-months-old at this point.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

man watchin streaming tv on tablet

Get Cord Buster's Free UK TV Streaming Cheatsheet


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get TV And Tech News

Get Bonus Streaming TV Guide