British satellite broadcaster Sky is moving on from satellite dishes that have dominated its TV service for decades. Sky Glass, a bold attempt to sell TV sets that stream Sky TV content directly to consumers, is being launched today. No external box, satellite dish or soundbar are required. Sky calls this all-in-one TV "no fuss".
Sky announced today that it will be launching Glass TV in the UK, although this was only for the UK. However, Sky is aiming to launch Glass TV globally using technology borne out of the Comcast Corporation's collaboration.
Sky Glass TVs are available in three sizes: 43" x 55", 65" x 65". The 4K TVs will stream Skys TV channels and integrate voice control (Hello Sky), and 21 apps to access additional content such as Netflix, Spotify, and Disney Plus. Sky has not yet revealed the name of the TV manufacturer that it partnered with, but the specifications include a UHD Quantum Dot screen, Dolby Vision support, HDR 10, HDR 10 and three HDMI 2.1 ports. There is also a single USB C port. The TV is quite small and can hold six speakers to deliver up to 215W Dolby Atmos surround sound. There are 3 outward firing speakers, 2 upwards, and 1 central subwoofer. You will have five color options, including black, white, pink and green, as well as blue and blue.
Sky Glass TV's price is included in a Sky Ultimate TV monthly subscription. However, you can pay upfront to reduce your monthly costs. Sky Ultimate TV offers access to Netflix and basic Sky channels. Sky Sports and Sky Cinema add-ons are available separately. The size of your TV and the spread of payments will affect how much you pay.
You can pay 649 upfront for the smallest model, which is 43 inches in size, or spread your payments at 13 per monthly over 48 months or 26 per months over 24 months. The 55-inch model costs 849 upfront. That's 17 per month for 48 months and 34 per monthly over 24 months. Sky Glass TVs 65 inches and larger are 1,049 upfront. That's 21 per month for 48 months and 42 per months over 24 months.
The cheapest Sky Glass TV model is the smaller 43-inch model at 39 per month, unless you are willing to pay upfront and then pay the 26 per monthly subscription separately. You can find all pricing options from Sky here.
Sky also offers Sky Stream pucks for 50 upfront. These can be used in other rooms to stream Sky content onto existing TVs. These seem to be add-ons. Sky's multiscreen offering is similar, so you won't be able to purchase a Sky Stream puck if you don't have a Sky Glass TV. Sky Steam pucks require a 10-month subscription.
Sky calls its new Glass TVs a voice-first platform. There is no separate remote but Sky is pushing voice commands more than ever. Hello Sky activates Sky's voice commands much like a digital assistant. You can even use it to switch HDMI ports, by saying Sky, Xbox, to switch to an Xbox console, if you already have one.
Sky will also launch a 4K smart camera in 2022. It is very similar to Microsoft's Kinect camera and even has motion controls and body tracking. Sky claims that it will revolutionize how we chat, exercise, and play games at home.
Skys collaboration with Microsoft is the most exciting aspect of this camera. This allows you to view TV with other people. Sky showed a software experience that lets you watch TV channels together and compare your reactions to sports in real-time. This is something Microsoft has always wanted to make possible through its Kinect work. It's interesting to see Sky with Sky.
The motion controls allow Sky Glass owners access their family games and to control them with their bodies. Sky Glass TVs will bring this dream to life.
Sky has today described its hardware, but we are still waiting for more information on how it streams its content over the internet. It has been difficult for TV providers to stream live TV over the internet without any delay. This is especially frustrating when you are watching live sport, cheering your neighbors or following the scores on Twitter.
Sky states that you will need to have a minimum connection speed of 10Mbps in order to stream HD content via Sky Glass TVs, and 25Mbps for 4K. Sky says the minimum connection requirements for Netflix are identical, but has not yet specified what streaming protocols and bitrates it uses.
Sky claims it will also be the first TV manufacturer to offer a swap program that allows customers to trade in old Sky Glass TVs to get newer models as soon as they become available. It is not clear exactly how this will work but will be available to customers who pay Skys monthly subscriptions rather than buying the TV outright.
Sky Glass will not be restricted to the UK. These TVs were built by Sky so that other telcos or television operators can also launch Sky Glass TVs. Sky Glass will be launched by Australia's Foxtel Group at some point in future. Sky claims this is just the beginning of many collaborations, as Sky Glass is being scaled globally.
Sky Glass TVs could also be the basis for Comcasts XClass televisions. Sky noted that its TVs were built on technology borne out of the Comcast Corporation collaboration. Rumours suggest Comcasts upcoming TVs may run Comcasts X1 operating system.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investment in Vox Media, The Verges parent firm.