Sky to replace satellite dishes and boxes with smart TV sets

Sky is launching a new smart television called Sky Glass which aims to declutter homes by binning set-top boxes and satellite dishes while giving customers access to their favourite films and shows.

The streaming TV integrates all of the hardware and software otherwise spread out across living rooms, including sound-bars, into a device with just a single wire and one plug.

It comes as the company moves to solve what it sees as a consumer frustration with content as well as hardware being spread out across numerous gadgets and digital platforms.

Image: Sky Glass will aggregate content from digital platforms

Available in five colours and three sizes (43″, 55″, and 65″), Sky Glass is the first major product launch from the company since it was acquired by Comcast for £29.7bn in 2018.

It has a 4K UltraHD Quantum Dot display, using nano-crystals that offer an upgrade on the range of colours (over a billion shades according to Sky) and brightness available on the screen.

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Brian Roberts explains the new viewing experience from Sky.

In keeping with the move to declutter, Sky Glass also does away with the need for a nest of electronics cables for their audio, with six integrated speakers and a sub-woofer.

The launch comes as companies like Sky figure out how to manage the competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Disney.

To this end the company expects to invest in more Sky Originals such as Gangs of London and Chernobyl, and is building a new 32-acre TV and film studio at Elstree in Hertfordshire.

But it’s also making it easier for people who want the content available on competitors’ platforms to access that programming though its own devices.

Image: Sky Glass is available in five colours

This began with Sky Q, a box that aggregated terrestrial and subscription broadcast content alongside digital streaming services.

That same capability is now inside Sky Glass, allowing consumers to access content from Sky, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, Netflix, Disney+, ITV Hub, All4, Spotify, Peloton and others using a single remote or its voice-activated interface.

Speaking at an event to mark the launch of the device, group chief executive Dana Strong said: “Sky Glass is the streaming TV with Sky inside, providing the total integration of hardware, software and content.

“Built on over 30 years of understanding what our customers want, this is a TV that only Sky could make. We believe this is the smartest TV available, and that customers will love it.”

The company also plans to launch a 4k smart camera next year that will pair with Sky Glass and allow people to watch films together, play games, workout and join in calls.

Sky has committed to being Europe’s first net-zero carbon entertainment company by 2030, and Sky Glass is the world’s first television to be certified as carbon neutral.

It also has energy-saving features including auto-switch-off and has completely recyclable packaging, according to the company.

Consumers will be able to either buy it in one go or to spread the cost with interest-free monthly payments in the same way they do when purchasing a mobile phone.

Image: Sky Glass is the new smart TV being launched to replace set-top boxes and satellite dishes

Sky Glass will be available from £13 per month for the 43″ screen, but consumers will also need a Sky TV subscription, taking the cost to £39 per month.

The 55″ screen is available for £17 a month, and the 65″ screen for £21 a month on top of the Sky TV subscription, and all three will begin retailing from 18 October.

The full price is £649 (43″), £849 (55″) and £1049 (65″).

The company says that all of the Sky Glass models come with a full two-year warranty and a free delivery service that includes unboxing and packaging removal.

It was separately announced that Australian pay TV firm Foxtel would be the new system’s first syndication partner.

Asked whether this was an attempt by Sky to muscle in on the TV manufacturing market Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chief executive and chairman, told Ian King Live: “We’re going to be able to licence our technology all over the world.

“We are pleased to have Foxtel joining on this launch date.

“It’s a journey we’re on but it’s more than just the actual physical television.

“In fact that’s what’s so great about the product is, the physical television is maybe the smartest in the world, but it’s what’s behind it that makes that claim so true and that we can do with others over time as well.”

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