Sky announces its plans for 2016: New free-to-air Now TV box, Sky Q and changes to Sky+
The pay TV giant laid out its plans for 2016 as part of its latest financial trading statement, issued to the stock exchange today, in which Sky confirmed it has added 205,000 retail customers in the UK (337,000 across all countries) during the latest quarterly accounting period.
New Free-to-air and pay TV hybrid box
Sky is taking on Freeview Play and YouView, with a new Now TV box due to launch later this year: it will combine seamless access to over 60 free-to-air channels alongside Now TV's usual pay TV content and catch-up TV apps. Sky promises that the new box "will be our most advanced Now TV product to date and will offer a streaming service to customers who want to access live free-to-air television alongside some pay content, all in one integrated offering."
Additionally customers with the current Now TV Box will see new a brand new interface (UI) roll out to their TVs from February. The new-look UI will include a number of great new features including a content-rich homepage offering editorial recommendations of what to watch across catch up TV apps and pay TV content from the service. A new ‘Best of Catch Up’ section, curated by content partners, will also arrive showcasing all the best shows our customers may have missed in one place.
Sky Q from February
Revealed with great fanfare late in 2015, Sky Q will officially launch in February and will contain Ultra HD content from later this year. Sky Q features also include pausing viewing on one TV screen and picking up in another room, saving recordings onto a tablet to watch anywhere, and watching different programmes on up to five screens simultaneously whilst also recording four other channels. Controversially, the service requires a new LNB for your satellite dish, so it's difficult to combine the original Sky service or Freesat once you've upgraded to Sky Q.
Sky Q can be ordered from 9th February.
More about Sky Q prices and customer support...
From February, Sky+ users in the UK and Ireland will receive the latest software update to their EPG, which promises to give customers "an even easier way" to consume TV box sets as a full series can be downloaded into their planner in one go. Later in the year Sky will launch a brand new homepage, showcasing more of our best content and providing customers with an easy place to continue watching programmes they have yet to finish. There's also changes to the Sky Go service, previously announced here...
Over in Italy, Sky will launch our full Sky Box Set service in March, whilst Sky Adsmart will be introduced later in the year.
A new Sky+HD box will be launched in Germany and Italy later this year, which will be compatible with Sky Q functionality, giving access to Sky Q features from a later date.