Sky Glass is Sky’s new streaming, voice-controlled television that promises high-spec, cinema style viewing without the need of a satellite dish. Relying solely on broadband, Glass provides your TV package straight to the screen, with no set top box required either.
Sky Glass comes in three sizes, small 43inch, medium 55inch and large 65inch, with prices starting at £649 for a 43inch, or £13 a month over four years. The 65inch comes in at £1,049, or £21 a month over four years.
Sky’s TV packages, which are needed for a Glass TV, start from £26 a month. The TV also comes in five colours, Ocean Blue, Ceramic White, Racing Green, Dusky Pink, or Anthracite Black.
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I was lucky enough to test the 65inch TV, and opted for the Dusky Pink colour, much to my partner’s disappointment. Being new to Sky, I wasn’t too sure what to expect and had nothing to compare to it previously, other than my standard 42inch LG TV which included Freeview and our favourite apps like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
Is Sky Glass is really worth the money though? Does it lives up to its promises? And are some Sky customers right to say it will be a deal breaker for them because of certain features?
My initial verdict is that it is worth the money, especially if Sky can fix some of the teething issues of the voice control, and the Glance Motion Technology. The sound and picture quality is an immersive and cinematic experience that I’ve not had with any previous TV.
The removal of certain features, like the record button, may upset some Sky customers but being new to Sky I’ve not found this an issue. Scroll down for more on what I thought about the Sky Glass TV.
It’s sleek but heavy
It took three members of the Panther delivery team to install the Sky Glass TV and place it on its stand in my living room. It goes without saying that a 65inch TV is big, and will look huge and dominating in any living room. My living room is quite small so straight away I knew I had to move it to a place where it wouldn’t look silly and overwhelming.
Glass itself comes with a stand that is fixed in the middle of the TV, rather than at either end and the dusky pink colour actually looks more like a rose gold and goes quite well with the grey furnishings in my front room.
It’s a heavy beast though, and a lot thicker than most modern TVs. The 65inch measures at 144.98 x 91.20 x 28.8cm with the stand, and weighs a back-breaking 35kg with the stand, and 28kg without it, but because Sky Glass is so thin and sleek, it hides a lot of this bulk from the front.
We (me and my partner) both discovered the deceiving weight when we repositioned the TV to another location in the front room, and bought a new, bigger TV unit for Glass to sit on.
Just to add here, the Sky Glass TV can be mounted to a wall but you are advised by the delivery team to either let them do this, or get it installed professionally, so it’s worth making your mind up on this before it arrives. It comes with wall mounting plugs and instructions on how to do it.
Despite the TV being on the heavier side, it is versatile in the sense that you can move it to wherever you want in the home, broadband permitting. The TV doesn’t require to be plugged up to an aerial or satellite dish, you just need a power socket nearby. I’ve found the freedom of this quite useful and it’s allowed me to move the furniture around in my living room, to a more welcoming space.
The body of Glass is aluminium and houses the built-in sound bar below the screen. The pink fascia covers the sound bar so the whole thing looks clean and compact.
Setting up Sky Glass
The Panther delivery team were great and showed me how to get started – connecting to the Wi-Fi couldn’t be more simpler either.
There was no faffing about with wires, it was just a case of plugging the power into the TV, heading upstairs to my BT broadband router and pressing the ‘Pair Device WPS’ button on the side.
The beauty of Sky Glass is that it doesn’t set up its own wireless network; it simply connects just like any wireless device. It connected to my router within seconds and I then could begin following the instructions on screen.
Because I had already set up a Sky account over the phone before the delivery was due to arrive, all I needed to do was enter my pin number, previously set up in the account, to get started. Within minutes I was able to watch Sky channels and get to grips with how to use the streaming gadget thanks to the helpful how-to videos on screen.
Sky Glass picture quality
This is the first time Sky has beamed its Sky Q experience – including Ultra HD and HDR content – over broadband with the Sky Glass TV. The TV streams in 4k, whereas its Now TV streaming boxes and sticks can only stream in resolutions of up to 1080p for a select number of channels.
It’s Ultra HD and Quantum Dot technology producing over 1 billion colours and promises in credible cinema quality vision, while producing a more intense and vibrant picture. It has a 4K Quantum Dot panel with local dimming, and supports the HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision standards.
When it comes to watching films on Sky Cinema, the picture quality has been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed re-watching classic films like Jurassic Park, Speed and Predator, which are all action packed and the screen really brings it to life.
There’s also an auto backlight feature in settings which adjusts to the light of the room, so if you’re watching something in front of a sunny window, it can easily adjust glare and reflections, same at night time too if there’s a light shining on the screen.
On occasion, watching live TV, like a football game on BBC or a comedy show on Channel 4, the picture has crackled and become slightly distorted. This may be down to my broadband connection but it seems odd that other streaming apps appear fine while live TV can sometimes appear with a slightly weaker connection.
Sky Glass sound
Sky Glass comes with 360° Dolby Atmos sound, with Sky claiming to have powerful built-in speakers and a sub-woofer that can t ransform your living room into the perfect cinema, concert or stadium with rich, deep bass that provides optimal sound, all without buying a separate sound bar. Does it?
In short, yes.
The sound quality on films is powerful compared to my previous TV and the speaker at the bottom and at the sides gives a feel of surround sound. I’ve found that I can really immerse myself in a film now and switch off.
There’s also a clever feature which I quite like on Sky Glass called night mode. This allows you to watch a film with good quality sound, without disturbing the neighbours.
Night Mode also automatically boosts dialogue, especially if characters are whispering or the action on-screen is very quiet, and drops the bass and sound when people start shouting, car engines are screaming, and the action film kicks into another gear. Perfect for parents who don’t want to wake up the kids.
You can also choose to switch this off and pick a mode of TV you want to watch to heighten the sound and the bass, whether it be sport, entertainment, music, movie or auto. Auto mode will automatically pick the setting for you depending on what you choose to watch.
Voice control on Sky Glass
Sky Glass has hands-free voice control, and you talk to it by saying “Hello Sky” to find what to watch. It’s similar to Google or Amazon smart displays but it has proven to be slightly temperamental.
It doesn’t respond to ‘Sky’ or ‘Hi Sky’, only ‘Hello Sky’ and sometimes fails to recognise my own voice. I said on one occasion: “Hello Sky, play Selling Sunset” and it failed to recognise the Netflix show even though I had been watching it the day before and was logged in on the Netflix app.
However, my partner hasn’t had any issue with the voice recognition, despite the TV being set up by voice. Having voice control and not being able to use it to its full potential is annoying, especially when most of the shows I want to watch are on apps like Netflix and I then have to scroll through to find that application on the interface if the voice command doesn’t work.
There’s a voice button on the remote though, which you can speak into, good for if you’re popping into another room and want Sky to get something ready for you by the time you’ve made a cup of tea, that’s if it recognises what you’re saying to begin with of course.
I’ve found the shorter the commands, the easier Sky understands.
Sky Glass never turns off unless you tell it to
Sky has developed a new system called Glance Motion Technology, which automatically wakes the screen when it detects a presence in the room. This is featured heavily on Sky Glass.
It’s good if I want to flop down on the couch after a long day and scroll through the recommendations. On the other hand it has become quite a wasteful and annoying feature.
I’ve found the TV turning on, or powering up this technology at night time as my dog sleeps downstairs, so it must detect when she is moving around the room.
My bathroom is downstairs so sometimes as I head into the front room I will find the TV already lit-up showing the recommendations…to my dog. I then have to fully power off using the remote or say “Hello Sky…Goodbye” to shut it properly.
If there’s no movement detected for one hour, Glass will automatically go into standby mode but that’s a bit too long for me so I’ve switched this feature off in settings via start-up and standby. It’s handy to put back on in the day but I would definitely switch this off at night time, especially if you’re a light sleeper.
Sky Glass interface, Playlist and and requirements
The home screen of Sky Glass features top picks which appear at the top, containing a mixture of Sky channels, like Sky witness, Atlantic, along with programmes from Amazon, Disney+, BBC and Netflix.
The TV guide sits under this bar, followed by other recommendations and then the Playlist. Playlist has replaced the ability to record on Sky. Sky Glass cannot and doesn’t record like Sky Q can.
For me this isn’t something that bothers me, because I’m a new Sky customer so I haven’t used this feature before, however I know for some, this missing feature will be a deal breaker. On the remote the record button has been replaced with the + button, and this allows you to add things to your Playlist that you want to watch later.
Tapping this button will add a series, episode, film, concert or match to your playlist. The software in Playlist will also look through Sky boxsets as well as the libraries from any synced streaming services – like Disney+ and Prime Video – to bring together previous series and episodes too.
I’ve already added a host of shows and films to my Playlist, and my recommendations are now tailored to more of the same genres that are featured in there. The downside is it means that certain shows, like those on the BBC will only be available for a certain period of time because you can no longer record.
If you’re buying Sky Glass you’ll need to make sure that you have a good internet connection too. The minimum internet speed required for Sky Glass is 10Mbps, our broadband gives us a normal available speed of 74mbps, with a minimum guaranteed download speed of 34mpbs.
Internet speeds will need to be at least 25Mbps if you want to watch Sky Sports, Sky Cinema or TV shows in ultra HD to be able to take advantage of Sky Glass’s 4k resolution.
There’s also the need to have a Sky subscription of some sort. Sky Glass requires its Ultimate TV offering, which pairs Sky’s signature offering with Netflix at a price of £26 per month, as a minimum. There are other packages you can get – see a range of them here.
Sky Glass is a visually attractive and appealing TV to have in your room, regardless of the size you go for. The colours and the new fascias added to the sound bar really make it a beautiful piece of technology.
The picture quality for watching films is captivating and the sound quality is greater than any TV I’ve had. Paired with the ability to turn on while you’re in the room and to adjust sound in terms of the type of content you’re watching makes it a TV that stands out from the rest.
There’s room for improvement though, there always is.
To take it to the next level Sky needs to fix some of the issues with the voice control, the sensitivity of Glance Motion technology, in terms of recognising humans and not other unnecessary movements in the room, and to scale it back ever so slightly on the recommendations, making the interface less cluttered and more smoother to use.
To find out more about Sky Glass visit the website here.