Sky Stream, the standalone streaming puck from Sky, is no longer owned by customers who buy it. Instead, the puck is now a loan from Sky – and if you lose it, you’ll have to pay a non-return charge.
This also means customers will no longer be able to sell the Sky Stream puck – as it no longer belongs to them.
These changes to Sky’s terms were made recently, but customers who bought Sky Stream before February 23, 2023, do still own their Stream pucks – and therefore can do with them as they please.
It’s worth noting that some of those who purchase Sky Stream, still have to pay a one-time setup fee of £39.95 (though that fee is often waived for new customers). Even that, however, will still not entitle you to own the puck.
That has also been the case with Sky Q, which most customers have to return if and when they cancel their Sky subscription.
Sky Stream has been different, however, as customers did own it until recently. Not that it mattered much – the Stream puck turns into a brick if you cancel your Sky subscription – therefore there isn’t much reason to keep it without one, anyway.
But now, if you lose the device – you’ll have to pay for it.
Curiously, Sky isn’t willing to say, at this point, how much people who lose their Stream pucks will actually have to pay.
The relevant page on Sky’s website, which is supposed to specify the amount, hasn’t been updated with the cost of Sky Stream’s non-return charge, even though the terms were changed a couple of weeks ago.
We were also unable to get an answer from Sky’s PR, or even from Sky’s customer support agents – who told us the cost is unknown (to them) at this point. Therefore, for now – you’ll only know how much a lost Sky Stream puck is going to cost you – if and when you actually lose it…
On the plus side, since you no longer own the device, this also means that if the device breaks down (through no fault of the customer) – Sky will usually fix it or replace it for you.
It’s worth noting that Sky Glass’ ownership works differently – the payments for the TV itself are separate from your Sky subscription (which you can cancel, unless you’re under contract) – and the TV remains yours even if you cancel Sky (but it will have limited functionality without a subscription).
What Is Sky Stream?
Sky Stream, which launched in October 2022, is a small, standalone 4K streaming box (or “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), and like Sky’s streaming TV – Sky Glass.
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.
Furthermore, 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.
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.
What Happens To Sky Stream If I Cancel Sky?
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 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).
In theory, 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.
But since the pucks now need to be returned to Sky if you cancel – resubscribing to Sky would mean ordering yet another Sky Stream puck, in place of the one you had to return.
Until a few months ago, it was also impossible to sell Sky Stream pucks you owned – since Sky didn’t allow changing Sky accounts on Stream pucks or on Sky Glass. That has since changed, at least – but it’s meaningless now for new Stream pucks.
Returning The Sky Stream Puck
If you ordered Sky Stream after February 23, Sky’s terms now state that “it is loaned equipment supplied to you at no extra cost and remains the property of Sky”.
Furthermore, Sky even recommends you “insure it against loss, theft or damage for the full replacement value”.
If you cancel your Sky subscription at any point (either Sky Stream on its own, or your ‘Whole Home’ pack), “You must return or allow us to collect loaned equipment when reasonably requested to do so. This is the case even if it is being used by you to receive third-party retailed content or services and you are responsible for managing any subscriptions with third parties.”
If you fail to return the puck – you will have to pay a “non-return charge”.
And lastly, Sky states that “If we have requested that you return loaned equipment to us and you have failed to do so we may take legal action to recover it from you.”
As mentioned, these terms are similar to what users had to agree to with Sky Q over the years – but they’re new for Sky Stream.
And as mentioned, Sky doesn’t specify the amount one would have to pay for a lost Sky Stream at this point.
A Sky Q Mini Box currently carries a £50 non-return charge, so it’s safe to assume the charge for Stream is similar – but we’ll have to wait for official confirmation.