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Through what Hi-Fi? November 16 21
Set your price expectations, Sky Glass does a great job-but it's still not for everyone
Set your price expectations, Sky Glass does a great job-but it's still not for everyone
Speaking of which, you must have heard of Sky Glass. This is the power of the Sky marketing machine. Even Sky Sports football commentators had to mention it in their speeches.
However, you may be forgiven because you still don’t know what it is—that’s because it is actually two things at the same time. First of all, it is a brand new Sky TV platform, which is completely transmitted over the Internet, so there is no satellite antenna. But at least for now, it is also a TV, because the only way to get Sky Glass service is to buy a TV with built-in Sky Glass.
For some people, this is a big stumbling block; for others, it is heaven. No need for an extra box or extra remote control-just a neat TV with a pest killer, no overhanging cables, and no dishes. You shouldn’t need a soundbar either, because the Dolby Atmos speaker system is also integrated into the TV’s chassis. Most importantly, Sky insists that Sky Glass TV can provide the content it deserves.
Of course, the question is whether Sky Glass TV has fulfilled its lofty promise. But first, does it really cost 13 pounds a month?
The Sky Glass TV is available in three different sizes-small, medium and large.
Small is a 43-inch package, if prepaid, the price is 649 pounds. The mid-size 55-inch model costs 849 pounds. The large size is 65 inches and the price is £1,049.
But Sky Glass can be paid monthly, and this is where things get interesting.
The jaw-dropping figure of £13 per month is for the Small Sky Glass model, which has been paid for over 48 months. The mathematical genius may have noticed that 13 times 48 does not equal 649. There is an advance payment of £10, but even so, the total price paid is actually £634. This is not a mistake: In the long run, paying for TV every month is actually cheaper than paying for it all at once.
If a four-year contract feels too much, you can choose to pay for the Sky Glass TV within two years, £26 per month and £20 upfront. This will bring the total price paid to £644.
The medium and large versions of Sky Glass can be purchased under the same conditions. Therefore, the medium-sized £17 in 48 months (plus £10 in advance) or 34 in 24 months (plus £20 in advance), and the large-scale £21 in 48 months (plus £10 in advance) or 24 months later 42 pounds a month (20 pounds upfront).
The following is a breakdown of Sky Glass packaging in a more understandable format:
But this is not the whole story, it is inevitable. Because these payments only include the cost of the TV itself, not Sky subscription fees. You also need to subscribe to at least Sky Ultimate, which will cost you £26 per month. So this means that the cheapest Sky Glass is 39 pounds per month, not the headline figure of 13 pounds per month.
We are not done yet. Although the TV supports HDR and Dolby Atmos, you need to pay an extra £5 per month to add them to your Sky subscription. It seems absurd that these are not part of the core Sky Glass service.
Although Sky Ultimate includes Sky TV channels, such as Sky Atlantic and Sky Max, it does not include Sports or Cinema, which will cost an additional £25 and £11, respectively, if you need them. Sky Kids also charges an extra £5.
If you want to install Sky Glass in multiple rooms, you need to pay an additional £10 per month, plus a one-time payment of £50 per Sky Stream Puck-this is the equipment required to add Sky Glass to a standard TV. You can of course choose multiple Sky Glass TVs instead of taking the Puck route. But no, you can't buy Puck without a Sky Glass TV-it is purely as a multi-room solution, although we doubt (and hope) that it will change in the future.
One of the main selling points of Sky Glass is that it integrates the content of many other streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, but (except Netflix, which is included in the Sky Ultimate package) you must pay for these subscription services separately. Just like you use any other TV.
In short, although £13 per month will attract many people, it is completely different from what someone actually pays. After testing (we have a 55-inch "M" TV with a full Sky package), Sky Glass actually prepaid £10, £89 a month (before adding additional streaming services), assuming a 48-month contract TV.
You may be wondering what happens if you own a Sky Glass TV but decide to cancel the Sky TV service. This is something you can do. It’s a bit surprising that the TV does have an antenna socket that can receive Freeview channels. If you cancel Sky, these channels and any individual streaming services you subscribe to and any external resources connected to the HDMI socket will be available for subscription.
As an object, the Sky Glass TV is really good. Instead of using an extremely thin design, Sky chose a thicker, more angular and stylish industrial chassis. Because it combines a direct backlit LCD screen and a six-speaker Dolby Atmos sound system (see more below), the device is always thick, but Sky wisely chose to accept this and produce a smart photo frame Exterior.
The wall-mounted installation will obviously further enhance the appearance of the photo frame, and the Sky Glass TV actually has an integrated installation solution that can make the TV almost flush with the wall. Those who put the TV on furniture will like the low-key base, which occupies a relatively small footprint. Regrettably, the hidden "neck" of the stand does not allow the device to rotate, which is what the design implies.
The chassis is made of anodized aluminum and is available in five different colors-white, black, green, blue or pink. The woven acoustic net that covers the speakers below the screen can be matched with the color of the metal frame, or you can buy a contrasting color. Patterns with various bright colors will also be provided later.
Sky Glass TV panels are supplied by TPV, one of the world's largest panel manufacturers. It combines the quantum dot technology known for Samsung QLED TVs and direct LED backlighting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sky will not draw on details, such as the number of dimming zones of Sky Glass or its peak brightness figures.
However, we can confirm that the TV has a 60Hz refresh rate, so it cannot handle 4K@120Hz games, even though the three HDMI ports are clearly HDMI 2.1 certified. More importantly, all other noteworthy next-generation gaming features—VRR (variable refresh rate), ALLM (automatic low-latency mode), and HGiG—are also missing. In fact, Sky Glass TV doesn't even have a dedicated game mode that reduces latency, which is what all other TVs we have tested in the past few years have. Even so, although the input delay is certainly not ultra-low, it is not particularly high, and casual gamers should not lack responsiveness. On the other hand, hardcore gamers may stop reading at the beginning of this paragraph.
It’s kind of interesting that although the TV’s integrated speaker system is clearly designed to make the external sound system unnecessary, one of the HDMI sockets does support eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) for easy and high-quality connection to sound bars Or AV receiver.
The integrated sound system consists of six speakers-a forward-launched center speaker, a forward-launched subwoofer, two side-launched speakers installed at the bottom of either edge, and two upward-launched speakers at the end of the top edge. Dolby Atmos support is built-in. However, the lack of headset support — no physical headset socket or support for Bluetooth headsets — seems like a very strange oversight.
In terms of Dolby, Sky Glass also supports Dolby Vision, as well as HDR10 and HLG. HDR10+ is gone, but we can't imagine many people will cry over this news.
In the past few years, Sky Q has become the center of other streaming media applications and their content, and Sky Glass has adopted the same approach. These include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Spotify and BBC Sounds. Our review sample can also access Apple TV+, which will be launched to owners in the near future.
Of course, this is a very reliable choice, but there are some inconsistencies in cross-application format support. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are presented in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos (where content is allowed), but Disney+ and Apple TV+ are inexplicably presented in HDR10 and 5.1 sound.
Even more strange is that Sky Glass does not have a Sky Store, so it is currently not possible to rent or purchase movies on a pay-as-you-go basis through the TV itself. You can make purchases through skystore.com on your computer and then access them through your TV, but this seems to be an unnecessary embarrassment, especially considering that Sky Q has a built-in Sky Store.
One of the most controversial features of Sky Glass TV is that when you enter the room, the TV will automatically turn on and display full-screen posters of recommended shows and movies. This is not a feature we are particularly interested in-the living room is not just for watching TV, so the fact that the Sky Glass TV immediately draws your attention when you walk in seems unpleasant. Sky said that in the future, this feature can be used to display works of art, photos, etc., just like Samsung's environmental model, maybe we will appreciate it more. At the same time, this feature can at least be turned off-in fact, it doesn't seem to work at all in our review samples.
In addition to the motion sensor, there are two far-field microphones built into the chassis of the Sky Glass TV. These allow completely hands-free operation of the TV. It will open the "hello Sky" wake-up phrase, and then you can perform various functions via voice, including pausing and rewinding content, searching for specific shows and movies, changing the volume, and finding all matches involving your favorite football team. If you don't like the idea that the TV always listens to you, you can turn off the integrated microphone of the case, and then just use the buttons built into the remote control to operate the microphone.
Regardless of which microphone you choose to use, voice control is good, but not perfect—about nine out of ten of the suit understands commands, but those commands that need to be repeated occasionally are undoubtedly frustrating. Maybe this is a thing of the times, but we finally find that we only use voice commands occasionally to find specific shows or movies, and rely on the buttons of the remote control for daily operations. It is also a very good remote control, with a pleasant soft touch, satisfactory click buttons and good ergonomic design. It is combined with a responsive menu system to make navigation agile and intuitive.
Sky wants the setup of Sky Glass to be as stress-free as possible, so your device is not simply delivered-it is unpacked, assembled, placed and inserted. You can sit back and relax, and soon you will be happy to go. Unless you ask them not to, the driver will even take the box away.
When you start to use it, you will notice that the user experience is very similar to Sky Q, but smoother and more stylish. Recommendations are still located at the front and center of the main screen. These recommendations are selected based on a variety of factors, including general popularity, your viewing history, and the time of day. To be honest, during our use of the set, it mainly feels as if Sky is really just launching its new large-scale show here, but once Sky Glass is used for a longer time, these suggestions are likely to be improved.
As you scroll down, you will see more "tracks" such as "Now and Next" (live TV broadcast), "Continue Watching", "TV Shows", "Movies" and "Sports", as well as every Each of these has at least a certain degree of personalization. You can of course also use the traditional EPG (TV Guide). Technically, this may be a streaming, but if you want, the live TV experience is still there.
Like Sky Q, the recommendations to you come not only from Sky itself, but also from all the apps you have installed, whether it's Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, etc. The provider of the content is irrelevant-you just saw something worth watching, and you can click on it to crack it. That is, in most cases, the app that provides the content will open before you start playing the game-it's not just provided as Sky's own show. Even so, the thoroughness and fair presentation of this content aggregation is impressive.
A new feature of particular interest is the "playlist". If you find something you are interested in, please press the "+" button on the remote control, and it will be added to the dedicated playlist section for you to view at your leisure. If it’s a TV series, each episode will be gathered in one place-even if some are hosted on one service and the rest are on another. This is a great feature, but let's face it, a feature that should already be on Sky Q. It sounds like it will actually appear on the old Sky platform, and Fraser Sterling, the company's group chief product officer, suggested that it will definitely be added to the Sky Go app.
Although the playlist is very good to a large extent, it provides you with a dedicated area to store all the content you are watching and marked as watching, but it is worth remembering that it is different from the recorded content. In many ways, it's better — such as the aforementioned collection of episodes from various services — but it’s not entirely without problems. The biggest problem is that continuous access to certain content in the playlist depends on its continuous availability on the service hosting it. For example, if you put a BBC show on your playlist, but it is removed from iPlayer after a month (very common), you will no longer be able to watch it. At the same time, BT Sport content cannot be included in the playlist at all. On Sky Q, programs are recorded or downloaded to the built-in hard drive, and if you don’t delete them manually, they will basically remain there forever.
By default, the Sky Glass TV will be set to automatic image mode, which is designed to automatically select the correct image settings for the content you are watching. This is by no means the first TV to provide this feature, but Sky's proposal is particularly compelling because the company is responsible for creating such a wide range of content.
The point of contention is that the production standards of TV shows and movies are different from those of sports, and Sky's unique positioning is to provide the best and most accurate settings for each show and movie. The company calls this the glass-to-glass approach—from the glass of the camera lens to the glass of the TV screen.
All of this is good in theory, but in reality it is far less intelligent. Essentially, TV has three picture presets-entertainment, sports, and movies. Entertainment and film are the same in all intents and purposes, and are only significantly different from sports in terms of color temperature: entertainment and film have a typical cinematic warmth, while sports white is cooler and purer.
In short, you can boil it down to a TV with two picture modes (warm and cool) and leave it as an automatic setting, just apply the most appropriate of these modes to the content you are watching. How much intelligence does it use when deciding which mode to use? There seems to be almost none: any live TV on a dedicated sports channel will get a cool setting, and everything else will be warm. Even Sky Sports’ own on-demand content, including football matches in the playlist, has obviously incorrect warm filters applied. This is zero points for effort.
In other words, the only real frustration here is Sky’s false promise, because the preset itself has been well judged, and the only picture setting that needs to be adjusted is the automatic backlight adjustment, which is enabled by default and will hinder the setting. Peak brightness. You should definitely turn off this feature (you currently have to manually adjust the backlight slider by one point for the change to take effect, but this may be a mistake), but most people think that there is no need to touch any of the other settings. Those who are eager to make further adjustments can delve into the dedicated custom settings menu, which makes changes to individual custom presets, but we don't think it is necessary. Our recommendation is to use automatic settings if you occasionally need additional sports content, or use movies for all content if you want everything you watch to be consistent.
So, now that we are all set up, how does the picture behave? In short, this is fine, as long as your expectations are under control. Paying too much attention to Sky's promotional materials, you may start to think that Sky Glass provides flagship TV performance-the kind of performance you expect from OLED or top Samsung QLED. But this is marketing to you, and expectations should really be calibrated based on price.
Let us remember that you basically get a TV and a Dolby Atmos soundbar in one package, and in the case of our "medium" review sample, it only costs £849. Considering that the cheapest Dolby Atmos soundbar we recommend (four-star Sony HT-G700) is £299, and you only have £550 left to buy a TV. For any type of 55-inch TV, this is not a lot of money, and there is still a long way to go from the money of OLED.
Of course, these are rough numbers, and we are not saying that the Sky Glass sound system is "worth" £299; but they roughly represent the cost of buying a TV and a Dolby Atmos soundbar separately, and they help set expectations .
With this in mind, we launched "Lost in Space" in Dolby Vision on Netflix and were very impressed with the images provided. The dark scenes are surprisingly good: the blacks obviously don't have the ink depth of flagship TVs, but they are deep by budget LCD TV standards, and they contain a lot of detail. The deep sky scene proves that the sky glass does not have much contrast, because the stars lack the bright sparkle that one might hope, but they do not bloom as commonly seen in this end of the market. In fact, the overall backlight is very consistent, and the viewing angle is also good. You lose a bit of vitality when you leave the axis, but this is far from a sharp drop, and in general, everyone in the room will get the same viewing experience.
As the action on the earth gradually enters the day, the sky glass TV looks a bit faded and lacks the vitality that some affordable TVs can gather, which proves that it has some difficulty in combining bright and dark image elements. It is also a bit softer than the standard, and combined with limited contrast, this makes the image slightly flatter. In other words, the clearer and more dynamic TVs within the budget tend to look a bit exaggerated and exaggerated, because their ambitions often exceed their quality. On the other hand, Sky Glass seems more suitable for working within its limits. So, although the picture is not spectacular, it is quite balanced, and you rarely question its interpretation of the source material.
Switching to Sky's own COBRA 4K HDR, this overall balance continues. The warm color balance provided by the entertainment presets looks cinematic, but not too yellow, and the colors look correct overall. The complexion is particularly natural, with beautiful, rather subtle shades.
Sky Glass TV can be said to be the best state of SDR content, it does not extend between light and dark. In this contrasting midrange, it is a very reliable performer, providing natural and convincing performance. At resolutions lower than 4K, it no longer looks softer than the competition.
However, one area where Sky Glass does have difficulties is motion processing. There are no obvious motion processing options to adjust. Everything we watch, from on-demand streaming to live TV, and even Blu-ray, will at least occasionally appear stains, the most common being on the face when the character turns his head. This is a typical feature of cheap LCD TVs, but now many brands have designed them. Fortunately, Sky Glass gets rid of the terrible soap opera effects that aggressive motion processing can add, but on the other hand it's a bit too much.
It is worth pointing out that the image quality of the Sky Glass TV may change over time. In fact, this review is based on the software version QS001.16, which was applied to our samples during testing and changes the brightness and contrast compared to starting the software. This update will be pushed to customers soon, but don't expect it to have a huge impact on image quality.
Compared to most TVs, and even many TVs cost much higher, Sky Glass TV sounds very good. Most TVs under £1,000 sound like fragments of two wasps in a Sprite jar, but the sound provided here is more similar to the sound of a decent budget soundbar.
You will naturally want to go straight to some Dolby Atmos content. In doing so, you will find that although the sound does not surround the listening position in the manner of a real Atmos speaker system, it has a good width and height to fill the part of the room where the TV is placed.
The bass also has good depth and weight, but without any artificial rumble, all you get from the TV is just too hard. The Sky Glass woofer is quite clear and blends smoothly into the midrange. At the high end, a little extra flash would be nice, but the treble has no brightness or aggressiveness, for which we are very grateful.
Most people's biggest concern about TV sound is the clarity of the dialogue. Hearing Sky Glass is very good here, and projecting the sound into the room well and having a natural tone, these people will feel relieved. Only when there is a lot of action in the soundtrack, the dialogue will be lost a bit, and even so, it is much less than that of ordinary TV.
One real problem with Sky Glass TV audio is the lack of dynamics. The effect has a reasonable impact, but the volume does not change significantly, whether it is a single sound or a broader increase in the intensity of the sound track, which means a lack of impact and drama.
So, for TV, Sky Glass sounds very good-but a decent budget soundbar will still beat it, which may not be surprising considering the price you pay.
Ultimately, how much you like Sky Glass depends on your expectations. If you expect the image performance and sound of flagship TVs to be comparable to Sonos Beam Gen 2, you will be very disappointed. However, the cost of this setup is less than half that of that setup, and given its limitations, it performs well. Sky should be particularly satisfied with the balanced picture performance. It avoids the temptation to show off and adopts a more subtle approach that is more suitable for its abilities.
In other words, blurred motion is annoying, and although the sound is usually very good, it lacks a truly exciting dynamic range.
Sky Glass is very good as a platform, especially in presentations and content aggregation. Unfortunately, you have to buy a TV to get it, but some people suspect that this will not last long. If Sky Glass Puck can be used as a standalone device (preferably with a hard disk for proper recording), we will go all out. In fact, for those who value style, cleanliness and convenience rather than pure performance, Sky Glass TV is a solid but niche proposition.
Read our Sky Q review
This is the best TV you can buy right now
You can also consider the TCL 55RP620K Roku TV
What Hi-Fi? Founded in 1976, it is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning Hi-Fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests can help you buy the best products for your money, and our recommendations section will provide you with step-by-step information on how to get more from music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of internal auditors in our custom test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and awards are recognized worldwide as the final seal of approval, so you can buy with confidence.
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