Sky Glass (Sky TV via internet)

Sky have release its new “Streaming TV”, Sky Glass. The TV comes in 3 sizes, Small (43″), Medium (55″) and Large (65″). It is available in a number of colours. I opted for the 65″ Glass in Ocean Blue and 4 Streaming Pucks to replace my Sky Q set-up.

I have had the system 2 weeks and my experience has been largely trouble free. There is a lot of negative press online and people having a plethora of issues on various forums, but I can honestly say it hasn’t been that bad for me at all. There are some bugs and minor issues, but nothing that I would consider a show stopper, we also had a software update and a number of additional apps added on the 15th of December. More on that below.

Sky Glass: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:43in (small)
55in (medium)
65in (large)
Panel type:Quantum Dot LCD with local dimming
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)
Refresh rate:60Hz
HDR formats:HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Audio enhancement:Integrated Dolby Atmos 3.1.2 speakers
HDMI inputs:3 x HDMI 2.1 (inc 1 x eARC) 
Freeview Play compatibility:No
Tuners:Terrestrial, streaming
Gaming features:None
Wireless connectivity:802.11ax (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Smart assistants:Hello Sky
Smart platform:Sky Glass

Delivery & Set-up

After waiting several weeks after registering for my email invitation, subsequently checking the website, not having the colour I wanted and waiting for Sky to get more in stock, I received an email on Wednesday lunchtime to say they were back in stock. I placed the order immediately and the Sky Glass and 4 Streaming Pucks were delivered by Sky’s partner Panther Logistics, on Saturday the same week.

Panther text the night before and called me when they were about an hour away, all as Sky claimed they would. The TV was brought into my living room, unboxed and installed on the stand, and the box and other packaging taken away. The TV was left for me to set-up as were the Streaming Pucks.

Installation was a breeze and the TV and pucks connected to the wifi and the internet and downloaded the latest update as expected. This was completed on the 1st attempt without the need to power cycle any device, unlike other reports on the internet. Setup is as simple as plugging it in and connecting it to your home Wi-Fi (or hooking up via Ethernet). Unlike Sky Q, Sky Glass doesn’t set up its own wireless network; it simply connects to your network like any wireless device.

Using Sky Glass and the differences to Sky Q

Using Glass is very similar to Q, and has an air of familiarity but is new and takes some getting used to at the same time. The content is arranged in hierarchical order with a selection of recently viewed items displayed in the top rail, including a thumbnail of what’s currently being watched. Below this is a list of overarching categories – TV Shows, Movies, Sports, Kids, News, Audio and Music, Fitness and International – and there’s a now and next rail underneath that, with a shortcut to a TV guide to the left of it.

Next up is a rail containing shortcuts to your HDMI-connected devices and all of your installed apps, and further themed rails live beyond, with a list of Sky channels below that, your Playlist and other curated lists. To access Sky Glass’ settings you have to scroll right down to the bottom.

The TV guide works as you might expect it to, listing channels vertically, and you can see what’s on now and in the future by navigating to the right. The list of channels isn’t as extensive as it is on Sky Q but the list of apps is decent enough and covers a reasonable selection of the main providers in the UK – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Discovery+, BBC iPlayer, All4, ITVHub and YouTube.

Below is a list of channels currently missing from Sky Glass (please note +1 channels aren’t available on Glass either):

The big difference between Sky Glass and Sky Q is that you can’t record programmes. Instead, you click the “+” button to add the programme you’re interested to your Playlist. This works well with Sky shows, but content from other providers is more hit and miss and depends on their particular content policies. BBC programmes, for instance, aren’t always available immediately after they’re broadcast and are only available for a specific amount of time

Improvements since having the system

I have had Sky Glass for two weeks. On the 15th of December we were given an update to resolve some issues as well as another of other improvements, however as of the 18th of December the software has been rolled back to the previous version, presumably due to a large number of complaints, however other improvements below remain in place:

  • Apple TV+ is now available on Sky Glass and has integration with the playlist and voice features
  • Peacock is now available on Sky Glass
  • The correct ITV region is now available (up until this date only a small number of ITV regions were available, for example I live in Wales, but was getting ITV Central and therefore Birmingham related news)
  • BT Sport content can now be added to the playlist
  • Global (Radio) Player was added

Overall verdict

I like the Glass proposition, the ability to have a TV and Pucks with full UHD in all rooms is better than Sky Q. The functionality is different than Q and if you recorded a lot of content this might not be the device for you. If you consume a lot of content via streaming apps and services, the ability to aggregate content into a single list is great.

Unlike a lot of people complaining on the Sky forums, I have had very little issues with the system. I do feel that this is down to broadband speed. I have BT Ultafast (Fibre to the Home) and get circa 1.2 Gbps down. Remember this service streams all content via the internet. There is a normal aerial socket, however the Freeview tuner only works if the tv cannot connect to the internet. This is a limitation, but not one I see changing anytime soon. For me this is easily resolved by having a Freesat box as a backup, given I don’t have an aerial.

The systems is a primum one and I don’t think that it would be suitable for everyone. Overall I am happy with the system and pleased I have avoided a number of issues that others have had. Also pleased that missing content has been added relatively quickly since I have had the system, I hope that some of the missing channels above come to Glass, and feel that Sky could have done a better job in highlighting that these channels are missing.

Overall if you have Sky Q and are happy with it and not in the market for a new TV, I would most likely say stick with what you have got until Sky have spent some more time ironing out the bugs.

Some more information on the playlist feature and how it works can be found here: Sky Glass Playlist explained