TV is ever changing, not just in the shows that are coming out but in the technology that you use to get access to your favourite shows.
Today, Sky has released Sky Stream in the UK - a new service which allows you to, you guessed it, stream all your favourite shows in one place, without the need for a satellite dish.
This is not to be confused with Sky Q released in 2015, which is more of a traditional box which you need a satellite dish in order to use. And then there’s Sky Glass, the TV set launched last year that has Sky built into the boxset.
There’s no getting round it: it’s confusing. If you’re trying to decide which is best for you, read on for our comprehensive guide on Sky's offerings.
Sky Q vs Sky Stream: key differences
Sky Q is the brand's original offering. A set-top box which works alongside a satellite dish.
Sky Stream, on the other hand, is a plug-in box and can be used on any TV. It uses WiFi rather than a satellite dish to give you access to all your favourite streaming platforms and apps.
Sky Q vs Sky Stream in detail
Sky Q allows you to see all your streaming services, channels and apps in one place. It is designed to make it easy to move between different subscription services, so you can hop from Stranger Things on Netflix and The Serpent Queen on Lionsgate+ to The Midwich Cuckoos on Sky Go with minimal bother.
Sky Stream is essentially the satellite dish-free option for Sky users. It is a small rectangular box that can be plugged into any TV and is a way of streaming all your platforms and apps over WiFi in one place.
It also offers the full Sky Glass interface, meaning access to snazzy features like voice control and 'Restart' which allows you to jump into any live show and start it from the beginning. No more missing the first five minutes of Strictly Come Dancing, only to wonder whether it’s worth casting your vote on your favourite couple if you couldn’t judge their technique; we’ve all been there!
Sky Q vs Sky Stream: UK price
Sky Q starts from £26 per month on an 18 month contract, with an additional £20 set up fee. This includes Sky Entertainment with all your favourite channels, as well as the included cost of Netflix.
This is the basic Netflix package that allows you to watch on one supported device at a time, and download shows onto one device.
You can also customise your deal with additional channels at a reduced cost, like Sky Sports for £20 a month or Sky Cinema for £12 a month.
Interested in sports? Read our guide to the best ways to watch Sky Sports.
Sky Stream is fairly equal in price. There is the option to get a 31-day rolling plan for £29 a month, which means you can cancel at any time. This could be a good choice if you’re just looking to watch a particular show or don’t want to commit to a long payment plan, but does include a £39.95 set up fee.
Something to bear in mind is that this set up fee doesn’t involve an engineer from Sky Stream — since the device can be used on any TV and you just plug it in yourself.
Alternatively, you can sign up to an 18-month contract which is £26 per month with a £20 set up fee, which includes Sky Ultimate TV and Netflix basic package, which you can also attach add-ons to. You can add Sky Stream to up to five TVs in your home for an additional £12 per month, too.
Sky Q vs Sky Stream: design
Sky Q is a more traditional TV box which sits underneath your TV. It comes with a Sky remote that has voice controls, where you can ask it questions like: "What should I watch?" The Sky Q box comes in 1TB or 2TB capacities depending on how much recording capability you need.
Sky Stream on the other hand is a much smaller device — think palm-sized. It plugs into the back of your TV and unobtrusively allows you to stream to your heart’s content.
Sky Q vs Sky Stream: interface
The interface experience on Sky Q and Sky Stream are pretty similar — both use elements of the Sky Glass experience like voice control, tailored recommendations and 'Restart' live TV.
While Sky Glass can be activated with a "Hello Sky" voice command, both Sky Q and Sky Stream have the more traditional voice activation via a button on the remote.
The main difference is that Sky Stream, similar to Sky Glass, features 'Playlist where you can find something to watch, hit the ''+' on the remote and it will add it to your playlist so you can find it to view later. However, Sky Stream doesn’t come with a hard drive, which means that your selections are only saved for as long as they are available on that particular streaming service.
Sky Q vs Sky Stream: picture and sound quality
Sky Q and Sky Stream both have a maximum resolution of 4K. However, content on Sky Stream comes in HD as standard, whereas with Sky Q, HD is an additional bolt-on of £8 per month.
You can also buy an Ultra HD add-on, but you do need a 4K TV for it to be effective.
Looking for a 4K TV? Check out our guide to the best 4K TVs.
Sky Q vs Sky Stream: our verdict
As with everything, it depends what you are looking for. There is a lot of cross-over between the two products and they come at a similar cost for an 18-month contract, so the decision really comes down to a few key choices and what is best for your home.
If you’re looking for a traditional Sky experience, the Sky Q is probably the option for you, especially if your home already has a satellite dish. It allows you to watch all your TV platforms in one place, plus have access to apps like YouTube as well as Sky Entertainment channels. Sky Q is also a good option if you’re looking to record a number of shows and store them in one place as it comes with a built-in hard drive.
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However, if you’ve already got a TV and are looking to access Sky Entertainment shows, Sky Stream might be the best option for you, as long as you have good WiFi — Sky recommends a minimum speed of 10Mbps. If you also don’t have a satellite dish, this might be the choice for you.
Like Sky Glass, with Sky Stream you get a small interface upgrade compared to the Sky Q. It is a bit more stylish and user-friendly. So, if aesthetics are important to you, Sky Stream may be the way to go. Bear in mind that there is a cost difference depending on whether you want to sign up for an 18-month contract or a rolling 31-day contract, which comes at a higher monthly cost but can be cancelled at any time.