What is Sky Stream? The Ultimate Guide For 2023
Sky Stream could well be the future of how Sky’s TV offering works in the UK – it’s simpler than Sky Glass and has all the features of Sky Q…
Sky Stream Key Takeaways:
- Ease of Access with Sky Stream: Sky Stream is the most straightforward way to get Sky TV services. It runs over broadband, eliminating the need for a satellite dish. Plus, it comes with a 31-day rolling contract, making it easy to opt-out if you’re not satisfied.
- Netflix Included: Both Sky Stream includes Netflix, adding value to their offerings.
- Broadband Dependency for Sky Stream: The performance of Sky Stream is directly tied to your broadband speed. While it offers a seamless experience for those with decent-to-good broadband, those with slower connections may face issues.
- Full Suite of Services: Sky Stream offers all the features you’d get with Sky Q, including recording programs and series record, all over an internet connection.
- Sky Stream and Broadband Package: If your current broadband isn’t up to the task, Sky offers a combined Sky Stream and Sky Broadband package starting at £43 per month.
- Commitment Levels: Sky Stream is for those who want a laid-back, commitment-free experience. Sky Glass, on the other hand, requires a more significant commitment, both to the service and the hardware.
Check out our ultimate getting started with Sky TV in 2023 for more details about Sky’s current packages and options.
The first and most important thing you need to know about Sky Stream is that, like Sky Glass, you do not need a dish to run it in your home; everything works via broadband.
This means there is no need to book an appointment and have a Sky engineer come round to your home to fix a dish on the side of your house. All that’s required is a broadband connection and a TV.
To say that people have been hoping for something like Sky Stream for a while now would be the understatement of the century. No one liked the old dish-based system and while Sky Glass was a step in the right direction, it didn’t quite hit the mark for a lot of potential users.
In this respect, Sky Stream is basically the perfect solution. It doesn’t need a dish, it has more or less the same features-set as Sky Q, and, unlike Sky Glass, the cost of getting up and running is pretty cheap, even compared to Sky Q.
What is Sky Stream?
Sky Stream is currently the cheapest and easiest way to get Sky’s TV services in your home. Unlike Sky Q, Sky Stream runs over broadband which means there’s no need for a dish. Netflix is included for free and it comes with Sky’s latest voice control remote.
Sky has already begun its migration away from dish-based delivery to internet-based with the release of Sky Glass. Glass is impressive, no doubt, but many people do not want or need a new TV, most people are either happy with the one they have or have their eye on a particular model.
If you go with Sky Glass, you have to commit to Sky, of course, but also to one of Sky’s 4K TVs. They’re not bad TVs by any stretch but they’re also not quite as good as the ones you can get for much the same price via Samsung and LG either. Glass has its place in Sky’s product range but it is still a very niche product.
Sky Stream could not be farther from Sky Glass. Where Glass is restrictive and expensive, Sky Stream is laid back, simple, and doesn’t really require any kind of commitment. If you don’t like it, you just cancel your 31-day rolling contract and stop using it. Sky has never made it this easy to stop its services.
The main USP of Sky Stream, however, is that you get the full suite of Sky services over an internet connection. That includes all the channels, all the apps, and all the abilities you have on Sky Q – things like recording programs, series record, and more.
Of course, because Sky Stream runs over the internet its performance is dependent on your broadband speed. If you’re running ancient broadband in your home, you’re going to have problems. But for those of us running decent-to-good broadband, the experience should be seamless.
And if your current broadband isn’t up to task, Sky even has a Sky Stream and Sky Broadband package – prices start from £43 per month.
Sky Stream Puck
- Size: 108 x 18 x 108mm
- HDMI output, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6
As you can see from the dimensions above, Sky Stream is a very small puck-shaped device. It reminds me of a Mac mini or a slightly larger Apple TV. I think Sky’s designers have been borrowing heavily from Apple’s design playbook in this regard.
The puck itself is so small, in fact, that the Sky remote it comes with is actually longer. This means the Sky Stream puck can be tucked away under your TV or inside your TV cabinet and/or stand and most people wouldn’t even know it was there.
With I/O, Sky Stream comes with a HDMI output for connecting to your TV, an Ethernet port for main-lining it to your router, and a power port for connecting it to the mains.
Sky Stream also supports WiFi 6 too, handy if your router is installed upstairs, although we’d advise you connect the puck directly to your router via the ethernet cable for optimal performance.
With the internal spec of the puck itself, Sky hasn’t confirmed what kind of silicon it is running. But the fact that it can run 4K HDR (Dolby Vision) and Dolby Atmos audio tells us that it has more than enough grunt under the hood to be considered fairly future-proof.
Sky Stream Features & Specs
- Device Cost: £39.95 / £20 (depending on contract length)
- Size: 108 x 18 x 108mm
- Video Quality: 4K / HDR – HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
- Audio: Dolby Digital (Dolby Atmos passthrough)
- Storage: None (only for system use)
- Apps: Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+,
Paramount+, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, YouTube and more
- Connectivity: HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, WiFi (And an Aerial port which is deactivated for now)
- Extra Features: Voice remote with basic voice commands and search
Sky Stream Prices
When it comes to prices and Sky, things are never simple. There’s a million and one combinations for how much your system will cost. If you want Sports, that’s extra. Ditto Sky F1. Or Sky Movies. Or the ability to fast forward through adverts.
The difference here is that Sky will not lock you into a yearly contract, although it definitely would prefer it if you did. The basic and lowest commitment contract for Sky Stream is a 31-day rolling contract that starts from £26 per month.
Sounds cheap, right? That’s because it is. But if you want anything else on your plan, save for Netflix and some basic Freeview channels, you’ll have to pay more. And the price rackets up quickly too, so make sure you think long and hard about what you want and need from Sky Stream.
If you want to keep things as cheap as possible with Sky Stream, you basically have two options when it comes to contacts:
- Rolling Contract (£39.95 p/m) – if you go for the rolling contract, Sky wants you to pay for the puck. This is what is meant by the “set-up fee”. The rolling correct runs 31-days, meaning you get a window to cancel your subscription every 31 days.
- 18-month Contract (£20 p/m) – if you decide to go with an 18-month contact for Sky Stream, Sky waves the “set-up fee” and you can get started for just £20 a month. Again, neither plan requires an engineer to come to your home to set it up.
Sky Ultimate – The Basic Sky Stream Package
In order to run Sky Stream or Sky Glass, you have to pick at least one package and the cheapest one on offer right now is Sky Ultimate. This package includes channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky Max, Eurosport and others, Freeview channels, and the basic Netflix plan which only has SD content.
But to keep things nice and confusing, the price of the Sky Ultimate package varies depending on your commitment level to Sky. If you go with the rolling Sky Stream contract, it costs £29. If you’re on the 18-month plan, it costs £26 p/m.
That’s the most basic of basic packages you can get from Sky. If you want to add more channels and packages, here’s a quick overview of how much some of the most popular Sky packages will cost you:
Popular Sky Packages & How Much They Cost
- Sky Cinema (includes
Paramount+): £13 p/m on the rolling contract, and £11/ p/m on the 18-month contract.
- Sky Sports: £27 p/m on the rolling contract, and £25 p/m on the 18-month contract.
- Sky Kids: £6 p/m on the rolling contract, and £5 p/m on the 18-month contract.
- BT Sport: £30 p/m (same price on both contracts)
- Add 4K: £6 p/m
- Add Dolby Atmos: £6 p/m
- Multi-room Support: £12 p/m
As I said, with Sky everything costs money. It’s a bit like Centre Parks in this regard. You can fast-forward through advents, though, which is a nice touch but, again, there is a fee for this – five of your English pounds a month. But if you go with an 18-month plan, advert skipping is included for free.
But if you’re familiar with Sky, none of this pricing malarky should come as a surprise. This approach to tiered pricing is basically how Sky has done things for years. But at least you can now get Sky services without the long-term commitment. That’s something, right?
Sky Stream Existing Customers – Can You Switch?
If you currently have Sky Q or any other form of Sky TV, you can easily switch to Sky Stream. All you need to do is order the device, probably speak with Sky customer support, and then switch over to Stream. Once you get the puck through in the mail, sign-in with your Sky ID and you should be good to go.
But this is ALL predicated on your NOT being embroiled in one of Sky’s long-term contracts with your current Sky setup. If you have just started a 12 or 18-month plan with Sky Q or Sky Glass, you can’t just dump the service and switch to a 31-day rolling contract with Sky Stream.
This would tank Sky’s share price overnight. But there are options in place for current Sky users to make the switch to Sky Stream (in a safe and highly planned manner, so Sky doesn’t lose any money). Here’s the official line via Sky’s customer support channel:
If you’re already under contract with Sky Q, you can’t, unfortunately, break the contract and switch to Sky Stream’s 31-day rolling contract. However, Sky Q customers who are currently in an 18-month contract can opt to start a new 18-month contract with Stream, in place of their Sky Q contract.Sky’s Customer Support
Interested in Sky Stream? You can check out all the latest deals and packages right here.
I’m currently a Sky Q user and, given that I barely use it, I think I might switch over to Sky Stream later this year. I think it fits my usage habits a bit more snuggly than my current, rather pricey Sky Q plan.
If you’re currently weighing your options about which Sky package is best for you, make sure you check out how Sky Q compares to Sky Glass first – it’ll save you, potentially, a lot of headaches down the line.
Richard GoodwinRichard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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