(Pocket-lint) - Sky has finally managed to find a way to deliver all its Sky channels to customers without the need for a dish attached to the outside of your property. It's called Sky Glass, an all-in-one television solution, but can this new approach deliver the same seamless experience as Sky Q or is it simply short of the mark?
As a concept we love the idea of what Sky Glass is trying to achieve. For many it will be a great way to get various streaming services with little fuss and all without the need for a dish installation. The design and approach is akin to what Apple would create if it were to launch a standalone TV.
But what Sky has delivered doesn't truly live up to the concept's potential. Glass is very much a first-generation product and therefore it's prone to issues and things that still need to be ironed out.
Fortunately, however, Sky is already bringing improvements. We've already received an update that has fixed a number of our initial concerns – including improvements to the picture quality and a few other bugs. Just as Sky Q has improved over time, so too should Glass.
Even so, on the hardware side of things Glass can't replace a top-end setup, as bolted together from various manufacturers. Maybe a Glass 'OLED Pro' model will one day plug that gap?
We look forward to seeing the no-fuss approach of Sky Glass evolve, but for the moment there are just too many foibles to wholeheartedly recommend it. We're hoping that in six months and after a couple of additional software updates that many of our concerns will be resolved. But, right now, it needs a lot more work to get our full approval.
- Full Sky and app experience in the one place
- Dolby Atmos speakers built into the TV's chassis
- Voice control is intuitive
- Three screen size options: 43/55/65-inch
- No built-in recording
- Some software issues
- Delay in loading channels
- No 120Hz/ALLM/VRR support
- Ad fast-forwarding added cost after 12 months
What is Sky Glass?
It's worth pointing out what Sky Glass is and what it isn't. Unlike previous Sky hardware set-top box offerings – like Sky Plus or Sky Q – Glass is a television (in 43-, 55- and 65-inch size options) with the Sky box integrated. Content is streamed over your broadband connection rather than a cable via a satellite dish.
The TV is a Quantum Dot LED TV (a bit like Samsung's QLED models), with a 4K Ultra HD resolution and high dynamic range support (in HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision form). It also has a full Dolby Atmos sound system incorporated, with six speakers, including two upfiring Atmos drivers built into the casing, plus an integrated woofer for handling bass.
You can get a Sky Stream puck (basically a set-top box) for additional TVs in your home, but you can't get these set-top boxes on their own without getting the Sky Glass TV first.
What Sky Glass isn't, however, is a standalone set-top box that can be simply swapped in to replace your Sky Q box or the Sky Q mini boxes. Glass is, indeed, an integrated TV product.
A strong design
- Dolby Atmos speakers built in
- Screen size options: 43in, 55in, 65in
- 3 HDMI ports, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Five different colours: white, black, blue, green, pink
Sky clearly wanted to make a major impression with its first TV, so it looks like few others on the market – but it's considerably thicker, not that this should put you off purchase as it'll probably be backed up against a wall anyway.
The angular TV design looks, in many respects, like a supersize Apple iMac, with the screen sited above a speaker grille. And, continuing that theme, there are different coloured options to choose from – white, black, blue, green and pink – to give distinctive style.
The TV itself can each be customised further through a separate speaker grille cover that attaches magnetically on top of the grille that's already there. And just as the company used to do with the Sky Plus designer boxes we can easily see there being artist, film, and celebrity tie-ins later down the line.
Included in the box is a countertop stand that matches the colour of the set. Alternatively you can use the integrated standard VESA-friendly mount built into the back to hang the set onto a wall. The stand is minimalist to say the least, raising the television off the surface by millimetres, and unlike the iMac it doesn't support rotations for angled viewing.
Hidden out of sight there are three HDMI 2.1 ports in total - one with eARC. However, despite their 2.1 designation, the TV cannot support 120Hz, so next-gen gamers won't be able to make maximum use of their PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles (they'll connect, but 60Hz is the maximum output, and there's no ALLM or VRR).