Sky has announced today the launch of its new ‘Stream’ box (formerly known as the Sky Puck) – a standalone streaming set-top box that doesn’t require a dish – and doesn’t require a long-term contract (though a contract can still lower your price).
Sky Stream is similar to Sky Glass – the streaming TV from Sky, and uses the same interface – but you only get a small box, instead of a new TV set.
The pricing for the new box is quite competitive, at least compared to traditional pay-TV: £29/month for the basic tier which includes Sky Ultimate and Netflix Basic and a 31-days rolling contract, or £26/month if you sign an 18-months contract (there’s also a set-up fee – see full pricing details below).
Sky Stream will be available to buy online in the UK from October 18, with next-day delivery, or from Sky’s retail stores.
- Also See: Sky Stream’s Full Pricing Explained
The box itself is similar (and possibly identical – we’ll have to wait and see) to Sky’s “puck” – the box people can get today as an add-on to Sky Glass.
Unlike Sky Q and Sky’s older devices, Sky Stream doesn’t use a satellite dish at all, and is instead based on streaming via broadband.
It’s not restricted to Sky’s broadband, and is compatible with all broadband providers (with a minimum speed of 10Mbps).
Sky Stream supports 4K and HDR, as well as Dolby Atmos pass-through (as long as you have a Dolby Atmos soundbar/speakers), though those require a paid add-on.
And, as with Sky Glass, Stream will support several other streaming services and apps that can you can either subscribe to directly, or add them to your Sky bill – Apple TV+, Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney+ and others, as well as all the public broadcaster’s apps – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and My 5 (see the full list of Sky Stream channels and apps).
The box also comes with Sky Glass’ voice remote, which lets you control the interface – and do searches – with your voice.
Stephen van Rooyen, Executive Vice President & CEO, UK & Europe, said:
“Sky’s always reinvented the TV experience and offered the best content – but it’s not always been accessible to everyone.
“There couldn’t be a better time to launch our latest innovation using the Sky Glass Platform – whether you want to stream House of the Dragon, Gangs of London or Stranger Things, Sky Stream has it all.”
Sky Glass And Sky Stream Explained
Sky Glass – and even more so the new Sky Stream – represent a major shift for Sky, by ditching satellite dishes AND long-term contracts.
Sky Glass and Stream represent both a service and a device: the actual device that sits in your living room (either a full TV, or the new Stream box), along with the software and the streaming service.
Sky’s service – as in, the channels and content, are baked into Glass/Stream’s unique operating system: you get things like Playlists (sort of a watchlist combined with continue watching), voice control, and more – in a user interface that’s supposed to be both innovative and easy to use.
Like Glass, the Stream box doesn’t have any direct recording features – instead, all of the content is streamed directly to you, either from Sky or one of its content partners (such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, etc) – see our full guide on how Sky Stream’s recording works.
And, like Glass, you also get most of the Freeview channels (though some are missing) – without needing a Freeview aerial, as those too are streamed to you via broadband (we’re waiting to hear from Sky whether the Freeview channels list is indeed identical to the one on Glass).
With the launch of Sky Stream, Sky is now on par with two of its competitors which have already released similar standalone streaming solutions with Freeview channels – Virgin Media’s Stream Box, and BT TV’s 4K TV Pro Box.
However, the other boxes both require broadband from Virgin Media And BT, respectively. Sky Stream works with any broadband provider.
Sky also has another long-running streaming service – NOW (formerly known as NOW TV). It’s unclear where this puts NOW, which is still cheaper than Sky Stream, but is disadvantaged in some ways – it’ll be interesting to see where NOW goes in the coming months.
Sky Stream Pricing
Unlike Sky Glass, where you’re paying for Sky’s service AND the TV itself, with Sky Stream you only pay for the Sky package (and add-ons) you’re interested in.
Unlike Sky’s dish-based solutions (such as Sky Q), Sky Stream doesn’t require a long-term contract, which is a major shift for Sky.
The basic Sky Stream package costs £29/month and includes Sky Ultimate, which offers Sky Entertainment (a pack of channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky Max and others), Freeview, and the basic Netflix plan which only has SD content.
It’s on a 31-day rolling contract, and can be cancelled at any point.
If you’re willing to sign an 18-months contract, the price for the same package goes down to £26/month.
In addition, there’s a one-time set-up fee of either £39.95 for the rolling contract, or £20 for the 18-month contract (but there’s no need for engineer installation, so you’re basically paying for the hardware).
On top of the basic package, you can of course add more packs and channels from Sky and 3rd parties, such as Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, BT Sport and others.
Furthermore, the basic package only supports Full HD (1080p) – and if you want 4K/HDR and Dolby Atmos, you’ll have to pay more (though exact add-on prices haven’t been revealed yet).
Lastly, if you want to add more Sky Stream boxes to other rooms, you’ll have to upgrade to the “Whole Home” pack for an extra £12 a month, letting you have up to five additional Sky Stream devices.
Sky Stream will be available from October 18, online and in Sky’s retail hubs.
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