Sky is certainly trying to transform the pay-TV market these days, with its standalone streaming TV box, Sky Stream, which does not require a satellite dish, and can be bought without a long-term contract.
With Stream marking a new direction for Sky it’s interesting to look at its prices, and compare them to Sky Q and Sky Glass’ pricing.
Notably, Sky Stream’s pricing scheme changes according to your contract term – things are cheaper if you’re willing to sign up for 18 months, and cost more if you take the rolling 31-day contract (which is one of Stream’s main advantages – the fact you DON’T have to commit for 18 months).
The bottom line, in terms of cost? Sky Stream’s prices are similar to Sky Q’s “official” prices (though many pay less due to special offers and phone negotiations).
What Is Sky Stream?
Sky’s standalone 4K streaming box launched in the UK back in October 2022.
Unlike Sky Q and Sky’s older boxes in the UK, Sky Stream doesn’t use a satellite dish – instead, it relies on broadband, and streams all the content to the box, much like other streaming devices and streaming services (Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, and streaming services like Netflix and Sky’s own NOW).
This is very similar to Sky’s streaming TV – Sky Glass, and in fact, the two share the same interface and many of the same features.
But unlike Sky Glass, where you have to buy and pay for a new TV – Sky Stream can be connected to any TV in your house.
A major difference between Sky Stream (or Glass) and Sky Q, however, is that Stream doesn’t have a hard drive, and you can’t record programmes locally.
Instead, you add programmes you want to watch to a global “Playlist” – and can then stream those programmes/films at any time – as long as they’re still available on the connected streaming service (BBC iPlayer, Netflix, etc.)
That’s very convenient – but if the service removes that content (as streaming services often do) – you won’t be able to watch that content any longer. Here’s our full guide on how recording works on Sky Stream.
Sky Stream Pricing
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.
So the basic contract is a 31-day rolling contract which you can cancel at any time without any penalty charges.
However, you CAN opt for an 18-month contract, and that will lower your monthly subscription costs – but you’re then “stuck” with it for 18 months.
When you order Sky Stream, you’re only paying for the basic package – and any add-ons you’re interested in.
There are no payments for the device – technically there’s a setup fee of £39.95, but it’s usually waived (at least for your first Stream puck).
And there are no engineers involved – you get the box, connect it to your TV and broadband, and that’s about it for the hardware installation.
The basic Sky Stream package is Sky Ultimate, which includes Sky Entertainment (a pack of channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky Max and others), Freeview, and the basic Netflix plan which only has SD content.
The rolling-contract version of this package costs £29/month.
If you sign the 18-month contract, the same package costs £26/month.
On top of the basic package, you can add more packs and channels from Sky and 3rd parties. As of this writing, the official costs are:
- Sky Cinema (which includes Paramount+) for £13/month on the rolling contract, and £11/month on the 18-month contract.
- Sky Sports for £27/month on the rolling contract, and £25/month on the 18-month contract.
- Sky Kids for £6/month on either contract.
- BT Sport for £30/month on either contract.
If you want to add 4K and Dolby Atmos to Sky’s content, that’s another £6/month.
And if you want to be able to fast forward adverts on some apps/channels – that’s £5/month (it used to be free on the first year – but that’s no longer the case).
If you want to add more Sky Stream boxes in other rooms, you’ll have to add the “Whole Home” pack for an extra £12 a month, letting you have up to five additional Sky Stream devices.
And – you pay the “setup fee” (£39.95 regardless of contract length) again for every box you add (though the second one is currently free as part of a special promotion).
What Happens If I Unsubscribe From Sky?
If you don’t renew your Sky subscription (either at the end of your 18-month contract, or at any point with the rolling contract), the Stream Box will stop working – AND you have to send it back to Sky, as you don’t own it.
If you don’t send your Sky Stream puck back to Sky after you unsubscribe – you will have to pay a no-return fee.
Sky Stream VS Sky Glass
The two streaming solutions from Sky are pretty similar, even though one is a full TV and one is just a box.
But the interface is very similar, as well as the features – both share the same Playlist, streaming Freeview channels, and both can record SOME content to the cloud (see our guide on how recording works on Sky Glass – which is also relevant to Stream).
But the pricing model is different on Glass VS Stream.
For starters, with Sky Glass, you’re buying a TV first, and Sky’s services second. If you pay the whole amount for the TV upfront, The 43″ TV costs £699, the 55″ is £949, and the £65″ is £1,199, and you can also choose to pay in monthly instalments.
On top of that, you pay for a 31-day rolling contract of Sky Ultimate – the same package you’ll find on Stream, which includes Sky Entertainment, Freeview (via broadband) and Netflix Basic.
On Sky Glass, as with Stream, this package currently costs £26/month on the 18-month contract, and £29/month on the rolling contract.
The same goes for the two main Sky add-ons – you pay more if you take the rolling contract.
As for the boxes themselves – you can add Sky Stream boxes to your Sky Glass subscription, with the Whole Home pack, and you pay £39.95 for each box (though the first one is often free).
So while the pricing for Stream and Glass is almost identical, with Glass you’re also paying for the TV – which is somewhat expensive for a TV with this spec list.
Sky Stream VS Sky Q
It’s hard to make any price comparisons with Sky Q, the long-running 4K Recorder box from Sky – because there are so many deals and special offers going around, not to mention people who call up and haggle when their contracts are up.
But taking a look at the “official” prices, currently presented on Sky’s website, can still show some differences.
First, remember that with Sky Q, you have to get a satellite dish installed – and that often costs extra for an engineer’s visit (though that’s sometimes included in the overall cost).
Furthermore, with Sky Q, there are no 31-day rolling contracts (at least not “official” ones) – you have to sign a long-term contract with penalty fees that kick in if you cancel before it’s done.
As of this writing, when you order Sky Q, you’ll pay a one-time set-up fee of either £49 or £20, depending on the type of customer you currently are – compared to Stream’s £39.95 (or £20 with the long contract).
The price of the basic Ultimate package – Sky Entertainment, Freeview and Netflix Basic (along with the device itself) – is £28/month – a bit higher than Stream’s 18-month contract pricing (£26/m).
You can then add Sky Cinema (starting from £12/month) and Sky Sport (starting from £20/month at the moment) on top.
If you want to watch in more rooms, you’ll have to get the Sky Q Multiscreen pack, with a Sky Q Mini for every additional room.
You’ll have to pay £15/month, which includes one Sky Q Mini box. Each additional Q Mini box costs a one-time fee of £50 (with a maximum of four in total). On Stream, you pay £12/month for the Whole Home pack, and £39.95 for each additional box.
But things get really confusing when you look at Sky Q’s small print (known as “The Legal Bit” on Sky’s website) – there are so many options, add-ons, subscription packs and terms – that it’s quite difficult to understand what you’re getting exactly, how much you’ll be paying, when, and for how long.
With Sky Stream – and Sky Glass – things are somewhat simpler, especially if you take the 31-day rolling contract. There are still optional add-ons, and it’s still not as simple as just signing up for Netflix or Disney+ – but it’s easier than Sky Q.
Can I Have Both Sky Q and Sky Stream?
No. At the moment, each household can subscribe to either Sky Q OR Sky Stream / Sky Glass – and not both.
So if you want Sky Stream, you’ll have to cancel your Sky Q subscription.
Also note that any existing recordings on your Sky Q device will not move over to Sky Stream, as Stream doesn’t even have a local recording function.
Can I Switch To Sky Stream If I Have A Sky Q Contract?
If you’re already under contract with Sky Q, you can’t, unfortunately, break the contract and switch to Sky Stream’s 31-day rolling contract.
However, Sky Q customers who are currently in an 18-month contract can opt to start a new 18-month contract with Stream, in place of their Sky Q contract.
But you’ll be tied up to Sky for another 18 months, so that’s not necessarily the best option – you might as well finish your Sky Q contract, and then – if you want to continue with Sky – go for the rolling Sky Stream contract.
Things are a bit different with Sky Glass – you CAN break your Sky Q contract if you switch to Sky Glass (at least that was the case last time I checked with Sky) – but remember, you’re also going to pay for the TV.
When Can I Get Sky Stream?
The easiest way is to order Sky Stream directly on Sky’s website.
If you want to see a demonstration of how Sky Stream works, you can find it in many Currys stores, but remember that even there, you’re not actually “buying” the Stream puck – it remains a loan from Sky, which you need to send back if you cancel your subscription.