The Silver box is HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 capable. As yet, Sky hasn’t released specific details about its UHD channel selection and it remains to be seen how practical it is to deliver 4K content via a Mini. These smaller boxes apparently only have HDMI 1.4a ports. Sky is planning sports coverage at 2160/50p. Whether you watch Sky Q via the main setop box, a Mini, or a mobile device running the Q app, the viewing experience is designed to remain the same. A Q Sync feature even allows recordings to be downloaded to a mobile device, to watch away from the home environment. In addition, Sky fibre broadband customers will be offered the Sky Hub, a combination router and powerline device. For the first time, Sky will offer third party content apps for users, including YouTube. The system is Apple AirPlay compliant and can be used with Bluetooth enabled devices for music streaming.
“Over a third of our customers told us that their living room sound system was the best in the house,” explains Olson. “So we thought we’d take this further and did a deal with Apple. AirPlay looks beautiful and sounds fantastic. It’s basically a free Sonos for your home.” It’s clear that SkyQ is a radical departure, one that enables the broadcaster to counter moves by all its increasingly ambitious rivals. And it also opens up some intriguing user possibilities. But it’s equally clear that it may also frustrate the trade. All eyes now will be on Freesat, to see if it offers an alternative UHD proposition that doesn’t rip up the rulebook. @SteveMay_UK
Simon Buddle, Education Director at CEDIA looks at what this new product means for the smart home industry? The SkyQ Hub, the house router, enables the SkyQ system to create its own wireless network in the property to stream video, with each SkyQ box being designated a Wi-Fi hotspot. This approach will provide its own challenges for installers, I’m sure. However, they also have the ability to stream via Powerline AV1.1 and the units themselves will work out the best method to stream over. How this is integrated with other networked wireless devices remains unclear at this point. SkyQ units are also equipped with a 10/100MBp/s Ethernet port but as yet it is not certain if this will be used for streaming between units. The SkyQ hub has two 1Gbp/s ports, two less than current Sky routers. We can safely assume that On Demand will continue to come in through this connector. The remote control is Bluetooth and has a small touchpad. There are also
noises being made about voice control in the future. That begs the question: will we be able to control the units over IP or will manufacturers provide a Bluetooth interface solution? At the time of release, each SkyQ unit includes both HDMI in and out, but using HDMI1.4b standard. UHD will be available as a software update in the future. The new HDMI in enables another device to connect through the SkyQ box but as yet there is no information on whether control will be via the Sky remote. The launch of SkyQ leaves plenty of questions still to be answered for it to be successful from a CI perspective. 1. How does the Sky ‘network’ affect existing networks and network devices? 2. How will streaming video over the Sky Wi-Fi network affect wireless performance for other users? 3. How will Powerline work over 3 phase power or split consumer units? 4. How will the Bluetooth remote control integrate into control systems? 5. How many devices will be supported? 6. Will SkyQ be subscription based? 7. When will the UHD update be available?