Sky launches new Q platform with whole-home the target
With today's launch of the new Sky Q platform, set-top box and home hub, designed to move content around the home and facilitate access on the go to multiple devices, we take a look at the device landscape inside Sky households. Sky homes are more likely than average to own a DVR, tablet, games console, OTT set-top and Blu-Ray player and favour Apple, Samsung and Sony brands. Device penetration among current Sky pay TV customers is one of the highest in the UK. Smartphone penetration among Sky pay TV customers is at 91% with tablet uptake not far behind on 81% and games console penetration is also high, coming in at 74%.
Sky Q will be available to UK and Ireland customers at the beginning of 2016. With 12 tuners it will allow five programmes to be watched on different screens while simultaneously recording four other programmes. It also features UHD capability.
The suite of products consists of Sky Q or Sky Q Silver, the new main set top box with a touch pad remote; Sky Q Mini, a plug and play box which facilitates multi-room access to Sky content; a Sky Q app which enables tablet devices; and the Sky Q Hub which has the ability to turn the other boxes into Wi-Fi hotspots. They system also features built-in powerline support to facilitate content transport around the home. In addition to these products, Sky also announced that the set-top-box is UHD ready, with 4K channels to follow later in 2016, as well as a Sky Q smartphone app.
Many of these features are particularly relevant for households with many connected devices. Sky will now look to target these homes with the roll-out of Sky Q which offers the functionality to combine these devices into one TV viewing experience. Sky Q will also help Sky compete with the growth of online players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime whilst mitigating the cannibalisation of its own customers through its own Now TV offering. No details of the business model regarding Sky Q were revealed, although the product set appears to be aimed at the premium end of the market. Many of the features of the new system make use of technology and innovation that Sky has developed in partnership with the tech start-ups it has recently invested in, including a new app from Whistle Sports.