Sky Stream: 5 details that Sky never told you about its newest TV box

a hand holds the sky stream tv box on a colourful background

All products are independently selected by our experts. To help us provide free impartial advice, we will earn an affiliate commission if you buy something. Click here to learn more

SKY TV PRESS OFFICE | GBN
Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown


Published: 15/04/2024

- 13:45

Updated: 20/05/2024

- 15:53

Sky Stream is the broadcaster's latest set-top box, launched on October 18, 2022 in the UK. As the name suggests, Sky Stream ditches the traditional satellite dish in favour of streaming live television via Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet cable. It's also available with a 31-day rolling contract, so you can cancel at any moment — something previously only possible with Sky TV's sister service NOW, formerly known as NOW TV.

With Sky seeking to wind-down its satellite dish operations, and those stuck with Sky+ boxes required to upgrade their hardware or face losing access to all Sky TV channels, Sky Stream is the most affordable way to start watching the 100+ paid-for live channels you won't find on Freeview ...or its successor, Freely.


Just make sure you secure one of the best Sky Stream deals before you sign-up for a new contract.

Sky Stream prices typically start from £26 per month, with next-day delivery included for free with all orders. Unlike every other Sky TV box, you can order Sky Stream from branches of Currys nationwide too.

Since there's no need to organise an engineer appointment (you'll only need to plug the Stream box into power and your telly via HDMI and follow the on-screen instructions) you could be bingeing a new boxset, watching a Hollywood blockbuster, or streaming Premier League fixtures within 24-hours of placing an order.

There's plenty of information about Sky Stream on the UK broadcasters' website ...but it hasn't revealed everything about this diddy box. We've got a rundown of 5 things you probably didn't know about Sky Stream.

sky tv shown with playlist feature on-screen and a remote control with the + button

Pressing the + button on your remote control will add a programme, film or entire series to your Playlist — a one-stop-shop for everything you want to watch from across the TV Guide, catch-up services, and streamers

SKY TV PRESS OFFICE

1. None of your recordings are actually recorded

Sky Stream is a major departure from earlier set-top boxes from the company since it doesn't sport a physical hard drive for your recordings. Unlike Sky Q and Sky+ HD, which committed the episodes, films, and documentaries you wanted to record to a spinning hard drive inside the box ...that isn't how Stream works.

Instead, Playlist brings together all the programmes you’ve added from the TV Guide, catch-up services, and streaming apps. You'll be able to watch shows from the Playlist menu as soon as they are available to catch up.

With a mind-boggling number of catch-up and streaming services available, Playlist is designed to simplify everything by focusing on the shows themselves. For example, if you add next week's Grand Designs to your Playlist, you'll find all previously aired episodes instantly accessible from the menu. If you click on one of these shows, Sky Stream will automatically pull from the on-demand libraries you have access to — whether that's Netflix or Channel 4 — to let you binge-watch and catch up on what you've missed.

Without recording anything, Sky Stream avoids some of the pitfalls of earlier hardware efforts from Sky — you'll never need to worry about running out of storage, you won't need to worry about clashes in the TV Guide blocking you from saving any of your shows, and poor satellite signal or other broadcast glitches will not appear in the on-demand version of the show on your box.

Unfortunately, Playlist is at the mercy of on-demand services like BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4, Netflix, and others, so programmes with complicated rights agreements might vanish sooner than you'd like. For example, Match of the Day doesn't appear immediately on BBC iPlayer — usually appearing from midnight the day after it has been broadcast as part of the agreement between the BBC and the Premier League. It will also vanish next episode is broadcast or after a seven-day window, whichever comes first.

In contrast, recordings burned onto the hard-drive inside your Sky Q or Sky+ HD would be available until you decided to delete them.

sky stream box in a bedroom with the remote on a bed

Sky Stream is much smaller than previous set-top boxes from the satellite broadcaster, fitting into the palm of your hand and only requiring a power and HDMI cable to get up-and-running

SKY TV PRESS OFFICE

2. Watching in HD doesn't cost anything extra

Sky Stream is already the most affordable way to watch exclusive live television from the paid-for provider — starting from just £26 per month, in comparison to the £31 per month for Sky Q. But the price difference between these two boxes is even more impressive than it first appears.

That's because Sky Stream offers High Definition (HD) as standard. That means you'll be able to watch live channels – like BBC One HD, Sky Max HD, Sky Atlantic HD, MTV HD, Comedy Central HD – as well as on-demand boxsets like House of the Dragon, The White Lotus, Gangs of London, and Succession in 1080p picture quality.

If you have a Sky Q box nestled under your telly, you'll need to spend an extra £9 per month (generously discounted to £8 per month for a limited time) with Sky to unlock the same picture quality. That means you'll be spending at least £39 per month to watch the same 100 live channels and 500 on-demand boxsets from Max (née HBO Max), Peacock, and Sky Originals in High Definition.

That's £156 extra every year.

Sky Stream does require an extra £6 per month to unlock 4K Ultra HD, which offers 4x the resolution of standard HD picture quality. You'll also get Dolby Atmos sound quality included with this optional extra too. It costs £13 to enable the same quality on Sky Q boxes — an extra £84.

3. Sky had help from Sonos, Google, Samsung, and Starbucks designers

Sky Stream hardware was developed alongside Sky Glass, an all-in-one television that bundles a QLED panel, Dolby Atmos-certified soundbar, and everything you need to stream Sky TV into a single package. The Stream box was initially launched as a way to enable multi-room viewing for those with Sky Glass before being sold separately for Sky TV viewers who didn't fancy upgrading to a new television.

To develop Sky Glass, Sky Stream, and its upcoming "hardware roadmap", Sky Group Design Director Anthony Davies turned to East London industrial design veterans Map Project Office. Even if the name isn't familiar, you've likely already interacted with some of their previous work.

The firm has worked with companies like Google and IBM. It's behind the interiors of the new Elizabeth Line tube trains for Transport for London (TfL) and the design of the Sonos Amp and packaging experience for US audio brand, Sonos.

a woman holds up the redesigned sky stream remote control pointed at a television

Sky Stream and Sky Glass are both powered by EntertainmentOS, a new operating system built from the ground-up to make watching live television, catch-up, fitness apps and streamers as seamless as possible

SKY TV PRESS OFFICE

The design studio is contracted for several confidential projects with Jaguar Land Rover, Starbucks, and Samsung.

The collaboration between the teams at Sky and Map Project Office resulted in the appearance of Sky Glass, Sky Stream, and the redesigned remote control that ships in the box with both. All of these products have a focus on sustainability too — with Glass being the first carbon-neutral television from any major brand. It ships in plastic-free and 100% recyclable packing as part of Sky's pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.

4. Fast-forwarding through the adverts will cost you extra

Sky Stream viewers need to pay an extra £5 per month to skip the ad breaks. Unlike spooling through recordings stored on the physical drive inside your Sky+ HD or Sky Q box, all on-demand content is streamed from the cloud on Sky Stream. That means you're subject to the fine print of the catch-up and streaming services providing the content, including Channel 4, ITVX, and Netflix, to name just a few.

Many of these streamers now charge an additional fee for those who want to fast-forward through adverts. ITVX Premium, which removes adverts and unlock access to exclusive shows from BritBox, costs £5.99 per month or £59.99 a year. Meanwhile, Channel 4+ removes ads for £3.99 per month or £39.99 a year.

With "Ad Skipping" added to your Sky Stream account, you'll be able to fast-forward through adverts in the following scenarios:

  • When you pause live television, up until you catch up with the live broadcast
  • When you hit "Watch From Start" to restart a programme that's currently airing
  • When streaming on-demand shows from Sky, HBO, or Peacock in your Playlist
  • Watching on-demand shows streamed from ITVX
  • Watching on-demand shows streamed from Channel 4
  • Watching on-demand shows streamed from STV Player

If you're already paying for Channel 4+ and ITVX Premium (£9.98), then you'll save almost £5 each month by switch to the Ad Skipping add-on for Sky Stream, which removes adverts from both services — as well as everything you watch on-demand from Sky TV, HBO, and Peacock.

The £5 optional extra will not let Sky Stream viewers fast-forward adverts in the following scenarios:

  • When watching live television
  • In streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video
  • When watching content on YouTube
  • When listening to music or podcasts from Spotify
sky stream remote control in a circle in all five colours options, Ocean Blue, Racing Green, Dusky Pink, Ceramic White, and Anthracite Black

The latest remote control from Sky comes in a range of bright colours ...but you won't be able to pick between them when you order Sky Stream, you'll need to order one at a later date

SKY TV PRESS OFFICE

5. Colour comes at a cost

Sky Stream and Sky Glass both ship with a redesigned remote control with several clever features, including backlit buttons that illuminate automatically when you raise your remote, so navigating menus and adjusting the volume in a dark room is a cinch. There's also a microphone for built-in voice controls.

But while Sky Glass customers will find a remote control that's colour-matched to the all-in-one telly — which is available in a choice of Ocean Blue, Racing Green, Dusky Pink, Ceramic White, and Anthracite Black — the same choice isn't afforded to those who pick a Sky Stream box.

Out of the box, you'll find an Anthracite Black remote to match the diddy TV box.

Thankfully, it is possible to add a splash of colour to your set-up with one of the four other possible colours for the redesigned Sky remote control as the UK broadcaster sells all colour variants via Amazon. Buy the Ocean Blue, Racing Green, Dusky Pink, or Ceramic White remote separately for £29.99 and you can pair it with your existing Sky Stream box to wave goodbye to the dreary black finish.

You may like