Sky Stream, the new standalone streaming puck from Sky, has garnered a lot of interest these past few weeks. However, buyers need to beware of buying second-hand Stream pucks advertised on sites such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Even though the box itself is fairly easy to get directly from Sky (and costs just £39.95), some people have already started selling it on second-hand marketplaces – sometimes at an even higher cost than what a new one costs.
But buyers are in for an unpleasant surprise, regardless of the price – as those used Sky Stream pucks can only be used as metal paper-weights, at best.
The reason? Sky’s second-hand streaming devices policy, which affects both Sky Stream and Sky Glass.
- Update: Sky finally changed its policy, and it’s now possible to activate second-hand Sky Stream boxes. Learn more here
What Is Sky Stream?
Sky Stream, which launched on October 18, is a small, standalone 4K streaming box (“puck”, as it’s called by Sky) that you connect to your TV via an HDMI cable.
Unlike Sky Q and Sky’s older boxes in the UK, Sky Stream doesn’t use a satellite dish – instead, it relies on broadband (via WiFi or Ethernet), and streams all the content to the box, much like other streaming devices (Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, and Google’s Chromecast).
Once you sign up for Sky’s service, you get all of Sky’s channels (as well as 3rd party channels and some Freeview channels) via broadband – much like you do on streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.
In addition to Sky’s own channels, Stream also has apps for most of the major streaming services available in the UK – Amazon’s Prime Video, Netflix, Paramount+ and more.
- Also See: Our In-Depth Sky Stream Review
Sky Stream Pricing And Ownership
Unlike Sky’s dish-based boxes, Sky Stream doesn’t require a long-term contract.
The basic contract is a 31-day rolling contract which you can cancel at any time without penalty charges. But you CAN also go for the 18-month contract – and that will lower your monthly subscription costs.
For the box itself, you pay a “setup fee” of £39.95 for the rolling contract, or £20 for the 18-month contract.
The basic Sky package, which is mandatory for Stream, 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 has a video resolution of 720p.
The rolling-contract version of this package on Sky Stream costs £29/month, and the same plan, with the 18-month contract, is £26/month.
On top of that, you can add more packs and channels from Sky and 3rd parties (see full Sky Stream pricing details here).
If you want to be able to watch in other rooms – you need the “Whole Home” add-on, which is £12/month, and you have to pay the setup fee again (£39.95 regardless of contract length) for each additional puck (the second one in your home is currently free as part of a special offer).
Unlike Sky’s older boxes – like Sky Q – you don’t rent Sky Stream. Instead, once you pay for the box, you own it – and if you unsubscribe from Sky, you don’t have to send it back.
The problem? The box will cease to work.
Sky Stream Without Sky: What Happens To The Puck?
If you buy Sky Stream and then decide to leave Sky (which you can do if you’re under the 31-day rolling contract), the box will remain yours – but it will stop working.
And by that, I don’t just mean you won’t be able to watch Sky’s content on it (which is a given) – every app on the device will stop working, so you won’t even be able to use it to stream BBC iPlayer, Netflix, or any of the other 3rd party apps.
Furthermore, even though there’s an aerial port on Sky Stream, it’s not activated in the UK – so you won’t even be able to watch Freeview (via an aerial) on the box without a Sky subscription (as normally Freeview channels are streamed via broadband on Stream).
If you unsubscribe and then, in the future, decide to subscribe again – your original box will work again, and you won’t need to get a new box.
Can I Buy A Second-Hand Sky Stream?
This is where the problem lies: You currently can’t add a new Sky TV subscription/account to a second-hand Sky Stream. Therefore, only the original owner of the puck can use his Sky account on it, and that account is bound to that specific puck.
And since anyone who sells a Sky Stream puck will surely reset it back to its factory defaults (otherwise the buyer would be able to use someone else’s Sky account) – any used Sky Stream puck is just a useless box that can’t do anything.
Despite that, over the past week, I’ve seen quite a few Sky Stream puck listings on second-hand marketplaces such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace, sometimes for an even higher price than what a new puck costs.
Of course, it’s possible that some of these sellers don’t even know that buyers won’t be able to use that puck at all, and that new Sky accounts can’t be transferred to used boxes.
But either way, buyers need to be aware that they’re buying a useless box – unless they’re buying directly from Sky.
It’s worth mentioning that this is also a problem with Sky Glass – Sky’s streaming TV – which also loses most of its functionality when you sell it.
Sky told us that they’re looking into the ability to add new Sky accounts to Sky Glass and/or Sky Stream – but both are impossible at the moment.