TV is constantly evolving, what with new programmes, streaming services and technology being released all the time. In the last few years, our options for watching TV have changed tenfold, with smart TVs, boxes and online options now available.


When it comes to accessing this ever-changing world of TV, Sky plays a big part. At the end of 2022, Sky 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.

Then there's Sky Q, released in 2015, which is more of a traditional box which you need a satellite dish in order to use, and Sky Glass, the TV set launched in 2021 that has Sky built into the boxset.

There’s no getting round it: there's lots of options and it’s confusing when picking the right option for you. If you’re trying to decide which is best for you, read on for our comprehensive guide on two of Sky's popular offerings – Sky Q and Sky Stream.

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Check out our pieces on What is Sky Stream? and What is Sky Q? for more in-depth looks into the Sky services, as well as Sky Stream vs NOW.

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Sky Q vs Sky Stream: What are the key differences?

Sky Q is the brand's original offering, released in 2016. A set-top box which works alongside a satellite dish, it will give the whole family access to their favourite channels, from TV series and movies to sports and documentaries.

The Sky Q box can be placed under your TV and using the Sky remote with voice controls, you can flick through all your on-demand and catch-up apps including Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Sky TV.

Sky Stream, on the other hand, is a plug-in box and can be used on any TV. It's a newer (and slightly cheaper) product from Sky which uses Wi-Fi rather than a satellite dish to give you access to all your favourite streaming platforms and apps.

All you need to do is plug the Sky Stream box into your TV via HDMI, connect to the internet and then you can access all Freeview TV and Sky content. There are over 120 channels on offer on services such as Netflix and Sky TV.

Buy Sky Q from £31 a month or Sky Stream from £26 a month at Sky

Sky Q vs Sky Stream in detail

sky q vs sky stream family watching tv
Thomas Barwick via Getty Images. Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

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 the French thriller series Lupin on Netflix and Outlander on Lionsgate+, to Gangs of London 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 Wi-Fi 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 £31 per month on an 18-month contract, with an additional set-up fee of up to £49. It's been reduced from £36 per month, so that's a saving of £5 not to sneeze at! This signature Sky bundle includes Sky Entertainment with all your favourite channels (there's over 300), 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 (reduced from £34) or Sky Cinema for £12 a month (down from £19).

For more in-depth details about prices and add-ons, check out our piece on What is Sky Q and how much does it cost? Interested in sports? Read our guide to the best ways to watch Sky Sports.

Sky Stream is fairly equal in price. You can sign up can sign up to to an 18 month contract for £26 per month or 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. Both have a £0 upfront fee.

Similarly to Sky Q, you can also customise your plan with additional channels, like Sky Sports for £20 per month (reduced from £25), Sky Cinema for £11 per month, or even TNT Sports for £28 a month — more on this in our best BT Sports offers page.

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 for £12 per month, 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.

Buy Sky Q from £31 a month at Sky

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 Wi-Fi — 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.

Buy Sky Stream from £26 a month at Sky


Want to know more? Check out our detailed guide to Sky Q, or find out more about Sky Glass.