Sky is slowly rolling out its hotly-anticipated Sky Glass 4K TV to select customers, starting with those who have been with the satellite telly company for eight years or longer. Anyone can register their interest right now, with Sky promising that its custom-designed QLED television will be available to more customers in the coming weeks. However, with the first Sky Glass sets arriving in homes around the UK, we’re starting to hear about the response from customers. And it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
While some are incredibly impressed with Sky Glass, which offers the same experience as Sky Q – including broadcasts in crisp 4K Ultra HD picture quality, HDR support, integration with Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and (very soon) Apple TV+, the ability to pause and rewind live television, voice control, and more – without the need for a satellite dish.
Instead, Sky Glass relies on a Wi-Fi connection to beam live terrestrial channels, on-demand boxsets, and more. It uses a QLED display for boosted colours and deeper blacks and incorporates a Dolby Atmos-approved sound system in the chin of the design.
It even has sensors that detect when you walk into the room, so it will switch on the screen and display its latest suggestions based on your viewing history, pulling from its own channels and boxsets as well as those available via any paired streaming services, like Netflix.
Sky Glass also builds on Sky Q by offering hands-free voice controls and reinvented the much-loved Series Link recording feature as Playlist, which pulls together previously aired episodes from on-demand catalogues available from Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video as well as new episodes recorded from live channels. In a nutshell, there are a lot of changes in Sky Glass.
And it seems some of these cutting-edge new features aren’t performing for everyone as expected. Sky’s Community Forums, which are designed for subscribers to share their experiences and message other users and experts to solve any issues, have a number of growing threads about issues with Sky Glass.
A number of early adopters have complained about delays with recorded shows becoming available to stream. As mentioned above, Sky Glass doesn’t record the show to a hard-drive inside the gadget …but instead, like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, it streams a copy of the show over the internet. It’s unclear why shows that viewers have added to their Playlist don’t immediately appear to stream from Sky Glass as soon as the episode finishes. Others have reported that shows added to their Playlist have failed to record and never appear on their telly.
Other Sky Glass viewers have complained that shows, films, and sport fixtures in the Playlist don’t disappear even after they’ve been deleted.
Channel 4 and Channel 5 do not appear in the TV Guide, some customers have noted in the Sky Community Forums. While others have voiced complaints about the Stream Puck, which enables multi-room viewing with Sky Glass. These small Apple TV-like set-top boxes plug into other TVs around your home and stream live television channels, anything stored in your Playlist, and on-demand and Sky Store content over broadband. Unlike the Q mini set-top boxes that offer similar functionality for Sky Q viewers, the Stream Puck does not communicate with Sky Glass directly but instead pulls everything from the cloud.
According to a number of complaints, Sky Stream Pucks can be a little unreliable after the set-top boxes drop into standby mode. Even after disabling the overnight power-saving feature, some Sky Glass customers claim that the only way to raise the Stream Puck from the dead is to unplug it from the mains, wait, and plug it back in again. Some customers claim they’re doing this every single time.
Sky is believed to be looking into the issues highlighted by customers. Although Sky Glass has undergone internal testing, secrecy and capacity means these tests are much smaller than a full-fledged product launch, so it’s pretty usual to see an uptick in the number of problems and quirks when a new product rolls out to customers. In fact, we saw the same thing with the arrival of Sky Q.
Software updates could fix some of the issues, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. With prices starting from £13 a month, but rising to over £100 a month for the 65-inch QLED TV with Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, a few Sky Stream Pucks and other extras, customers should rightly expect a slick experience from these new kit.
Speaking to Express.co.uk about some of the complaints around Sky Glass, a spokesperson for the company said: “We’ve seen huge demand for Sky Glass since it launched and we’ve had fantastic feedback from many customers. A very small number of customers have reported some flickering and we have a software update scheduled this week that will resolve this. We’ll be following up as always with regular releases to add features and fix any other issues.
“For any customers who need assistance with their Sky Glass, we recommend calling our customer helpline so that our team of experts can help find the best solution as soon as possible. Only a very small number of customers who have opted to return their Sky Glass.”
We’ve shared our initial thoughts on Sky Glass, based on a short time with the custom-designed QLED TV during the launch event, but will share a comprehensive in-depth review of the all-in-one 4K TV in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
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