Sky Glass has just been announced, following a great deal of anticipation for tech enthusiasts and curious consumers alike. Yes, British satellite broadcaster Sky recently revealed it has been hard at work developing something pretty exciting. Sky Glass, as it will be called, is the brand's first TV option without a set-top box or a satellite dish - a considerable departure from what it has been doing for decades.
Enthusiastically billed as a game-changer (as these things always are), there's no doubt that Sky Glass is doing something different from other brands out there at the moment, making us rethink our living room TV ideas. While it's true that the likes of Apple and Amazon beat them to the idea of coupling streaming services with technology via Apple TVs and Fire TVs respectively, many see this as the end of traditional TV watching as we know it.
But the question remains of whether people will latch onto Sky Glass. An effort has been made to appeal to a broad demographic with a choice of colours and an eco-friendly message, but only time will give us the answer to that question.
We discuss some of what is on offer below. Or, if you're already convinced, you can register to buy now at the Sky Glass (opens in new tab) site.
How does Sky Glass work?
Sky Glass will become available in the UK from 18 October, and a wider release across Europe is planned for 2022. The TV will be available in 'small' (43-inch), 'medium' (55-inch) and 'large' (65-inch) variations, and there will be a choice of five colours - 'ocean blue', 'ceramic white', 'racing green', 'dusky pink' and 'anthracite black'. It can be mounted to the wall or placed on a TV stand.
The first thing to stick out here is the colour variations, which offer a customisable design element that will undoubtedly appeal to those who want their tech to match or complement their interiors. There are also matching colours for the soundbar grille and remote, or you can mix things up with different hues.
This is fantastic news for those who feel uninspired by the eternally black boxes sitting in the middle of their livings rooms and want something with a little more personality - you may not be so desperate for ways to hide your TV if this is the the TV you've gone for. There's also the option to display artwork and photos when the TV is not in use, similar to Samsung's ambient mode.
Can you record on Sky Glass?
You can't record on Sky Glass, but all the apps it contains have on-demand services. So unlike Sky+, a game changer in its own right when it launched, it doesn't have the ability to record, but that almost certainly won't be missed.
How much does Sky Glass cost?
The pricing model for the Sky Glass is also refreshingly different, as the company seems to have taken inspiration from its mobile department by introducing pay per month models for those who don't want to buy the TV outright.
For example, the 43-inch Sky Glass costs from £13 a month paid over four years, with a £10 upfront fee. Paid over two years - which is an option - this goes up to £26 a month with £20 upfront.
Similarly, paid over four years, the 55-inch set will cost £17 a month, and the 65-inch £21 a month. Note: this doesn't include access to Sky channels, which will be at least £26 extra each month.
Bought outright, the TVs cost £649 (43-inch), £849 (55-inch) or £1,049 (65-inch).
The sets aren't exactly cheap, but they're far from the most expensive 4K offering on the market, either. When you factor in the built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar, as well as the option to upgrade your set to something bigger (or a different colour) at a later date, it starts to look like a steal.
Does Sky Glass have Apple TV?
Sky has announced that Sky Glass will introduce Apple TV+, adding it to the bevy of other streaming services to occupy your winter nights. The big changes, you see, don't stop with the exterior of Sky Glass, but also the way we access the shows, movies and matches we want to see.
Those who lament the need to not just look up on which app the show they want to watch can be found, but the often laborious task of switching between unlabelled HDMI inputs, will love the effort Sky has put into collecting all of this into one place. So that's Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, all together.
When launched, there were some holes in what was on offer, such as the absence of Apple TV+ and the inability to add your own third-party apps. Some of that has been amended now, however, and it's still an incredibly refreshing feature that surpasses what other TV manufacturers are doing right now.
BUT the biggest potential issue is for those who either don't want to - or can't - rely on their broadband connection to watch absolutely everything. Whether that's because of a tech-averse family member or slow speeds in your area, it could prevent some people from diving into this brave new world.
What apps are on Sky Glass?
The apps on Sky Glass are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All4, Sky, Amazon Prime Video, ITV Hub and Disney+. Peacock and Paramount+ are likely to be added in coming months, which is a lovely lot of TV to watch.
Is Sky Glass a normal TV?
Sky Glass is a normal TV, but it does so much more than that too, with all the apps built in. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, this is the first time Sky has released a TV that beams the channels and streaming services to you via the internet, not airwaves, meaning the end of all those satellite dishes that have been stuck on house exteriors for decades.
In our opinion, Sky Glass could well signal a change to the way we think about consuming television, especially for those who are currently still just dipping their toe into the world of streaming apps and cord-cutting. Younger generations may not see what the fuss is about, but everyone else has grown up in the world of live viewing and big satellite dishes.
However, the lack of size options (take a look at our guide to the best 85 inch TVs if you're tempted to go bigger) and the bold move to do away with live recordings in favour of streaming could hold it back. The cost of even the most basic Sky package will also be a barrier for many households.
On the other hand, it's clear that the company has thought about who Sky Glass might speak to most and so has leaned into the design features and its carbon-neutral status as major selling points. Of course, it won't appeal to everyone, but Sky likely knows that it doesn't need to.
Caroline is the smart homes ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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