Sky has released HDR content for its Sky Q box at last. You can now watch three nature documentaries in 4K HDR with more content coming later in the year.

There are some major caveats: you need a compatible Sky Q box for starters - not all Sky Q boxes will be able to output HDR. Neither the non-UHD 1TB box nor older UHD Sky Q boxes will work (you can find a compatibility list below).

You'll also need to be a Sky Q UHD or Experience subscriber.

And you will need a TV compatible with the hybrid log gamma (HLG) version of HDR - most modern HDR TVs support it, although some older sets might not.

That's a fair few boxes to tick (pardon the pun), but if you have the right kit, here's how to watch HDR content on Sky Q.

How to watch Sky Q in 4K HDR

To watch HDR content on your compatible Sky Q box (see below) you will need a software update that may have arrived automatically. You'll know if it has because the Sky Nature channel will be listed in the EPG.

If the latest software update hasn't been installed automatically, you can force the install.

  • Simply head to "Settings" on the menu page (left-hand side).
  • Click on "System Info".
  • Click on the "Update" button next to "Software version".

If you don't have the latest software already, it will download and install. It might take some time though, so go make yourself a cup of tea - or two.

To access one of the available shows, you are currently best to use search or voice search to find them by name:

  • Gangs of Lemur Island – five 60 min episodes
  • Pridelands: Wilderness reborn – one 60 min episode
  • Malawi: Wildlife Rescue – five 60 min episodes

Download the UHD version of each show, which will not list that it is also available in HDR but, if your Sky Q box and TV are compatible, it will automatically switch to the HLG HDR picture mode when you play it.

Is my Sky Q box compatible with HDR?

If HDR is not playing on your compatible TV, it could mean that your Sky Q box itself is not supported.

To check if it is head to Settings > System Info > Hardware version and check the model number.

If it is one of the following, it is HDR compatible:

  • 32B1xx - Sky Q 2TB
  • 32B203 or 32B204 - Sky Q 1TB
  • 32B205 or 32B206 - Sky Q 1TB/2TB

However, if the model number starts with the following, it does not support HDR:

  • 32B0xx - Sky Q 2TB
  • 32C0xx - Sky Q 1TB
  • 32C1xx - Sky Q 1TB

Sky Q Mini boxes are not compatible.

When will HDR sports and movies be available on Sky Q?

In future, Sky will add other programming in HDR.

There will be additional Sky Nature documentaries added later in 2020. Then, around Christmas time, Sky Cinema will include some blockbuster movies in 4K HDR.

Finally, Sky plans to enable HDR (HLG) for BBC iPlayer playback in time for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, to show live events in the format.

Pocket-lint has also been told that Netflix and Disney+ will get HDR playback on the platform in the "coming months".