(Pocket-lint) - Sky has started to roll out its "largest feature update" to Sky Q since its 2016 launch.
With it, the user interface gets a major redesign, each TV show gets a new "show centre", and voice discovery has been made more intuitive.
In addition, the Disney+ app finally gets HDR support, and even the delivery of updates will change going forward.
Here are the main changes and new features you can find in the July 2020 Sky Q feature update.
What cool things can your Sky Q box do now?
The main aesthetic change comes through what Sky terns "expanded view". It basically gets rid of the picture-in-picture live TV box when you scroll onto a specfic area, to give you more visibility and therefore more options for programmes, games or apps to start next.
The static menu bar completely disappears until you scroll left again
Each TV show or movie now gets its own "show centre" where information is more easily found, including access to each season (if there has been more than one) and the different episodes, in a clearer tab system.
All seasons, episodes, recordings, on demand links and broadcast shedules are together on the one page for the first time.
As well as the new navigation tabs, the show centre now includes smart buttons. These are large, clickable buttons that can get you to the next episode, for example, instantly without having to scroll down and find it.
The buttons are also contextual. For example, if you are picking up on episode 2 of Brassic you had to stop mid-way, it will say "Continue S2, ep2". If you have finished the episode, it will say "Watch S2, ep3".
Sports fans are in for a treat as they no longer have to wade through menus or the EPG just to find live action. There is a new one-stop location for sport in the form of the Sports Centre.
Not only does it offer featured programming from and centre - such as the latest Premier League match - it has a bar of all the different sports channels, including BT Sports, and what they are currently broadcasting. That way you can simple hop to the channel you want, without having to search for it.
In addition, the sports centre will host content from other services, such as YouTube, and draws in data from external sources, so you can check the league tablets, for instance, straight from within your own Sky Q experience.
Voice has been greatly improved of late, with Sky Q adopting a system that has been developed by Comcast for many years. This enables more intuitive control than before, with themes and genres also being understood. And, Sky Cinema and Sky Store results are included together for the first time.
You could say, "thrillers with Tom Cruise", or "comedies starring Will Ferrell", for example. Entertainment themes will also be added at a later date, including things like "Halloween" and "Christmas".
Voice is going to be a big area for expansion, we were told by Sky, and that's one of the reasons the latest voice remote brings the button front and centre (rather than on the side, as before).
Disney+ and other HDR programming
New HDR content will also be coming to Sky Q in the coming months. Netflix will gain HDR in "the next couple of months". And some shows made in HDR, including Gangs of London and Brassic, will be added to the platform.
There is hope that Premier League football will be HDR-enabled sooner rather than later, but at present Sky will only commit to 2021 and the Olympics for confirmed live sport in the format.
Pocket-lint has learned that Sky plans to add four new apps to the platform, with more set to come.
The company's doesn't want Sky Q to become just an app store, however. It is only looking at apps that add content - video, music or gaming - that increase the amount of available entertainment.
The new system software enables that, so that new apps can be added regularly without the need for major updates in future.
Refined update delivery
Another big change that is less noticeable, but no less important, is the way Sky has rebuilt the backend to allow for more regular, smaller updates going forward.
Until now, feature updates have been rolled out once or twice a year and delivered over satellite.
Now, with the new system software, updates can be smaller in size, delivered far more frequently (even more than once a month), and downloaded to your Sky Q box via the internet.
The company can be more agile and dynamic in giving you the best experience.
What to do if you haven't got the update yet
There are many more, smaller features being included in the July 2020 update, which you can find for yourself as you browse through the UI.
If you haven't got the new system software yet, however, the update is expected to take until 12 August 2020 to reach every Sky Q box in the UK. All customers will have the "new look Sky Q" by that date.