When Sky launched its new Q service, it was only a matter of time before it became the default option for new and upgrading subscribers -- we just didn't expect it to happen so soon. As of today, Sky Q is no longer positioned as the premium offering, with Sky+HD packages now notably absent from the provider's online store. And to make the transition from old to new that bit easier to swallow, Sky has added a cheaper, basic Q bundle to lower the cost of entry.
This means there are now three different channel packages to choose from. The new Original bundle is the cheapest at £20 per month, and includes 270 channels. The £32 Variety bundle ups that to over 300 channels and adds on-demand kids content, while the £38 Box Set bundle improves upon that with more than 350 channels and access to roughly the same number of TV box sets. Only the most expensive package includes HD channels, by the way. Right now, opting for any of these bundles will also get you a free 32-inch LG TV, a Lenovo laptop or £100 cashback in the form of a pre-paid card or Amazon/Tesco vouchers (this offer might not be around for long, though).
Optional extras include Sky's movies and sports channels, which go for £18 and £27.50 per month, respectively, or £36 for the pair (though you need to add £6 to that if you want Sky Sports in HD). If you thought things couldn't get any more complicated, let's move onto hardware.
The 1TB Sky Q box demands a one-off payment of £15, which jumps up to £199 if you want the 2TB version. The two aren't separated just by HDD capacities, though. The 2TB model supports 4K, can push broadcasts to more rooms and tablets than the 1TB version, and is now the only option that includes the fancy touchpad remote. If £199 is a bit too steep, you can reduce that to £60 if you add Multiscreen to your package for £12 per month.
You actually need Multiscreen to access Ultra HD broadcasts -- and the right bundle, like Sky Sports. It's also required if you want to watch TV in other rooms via a Sky Q Mini box, or stream/download recordings to tablets. Your first Sky Q Mini box isn't free anymore, either, instead costing £30 with additional boxes still £99 thereafter.
If your brain hasn't melted already, what Sky is trying to do here is make the 1TB box an attractively cheap option while keeping the 2TB box on a pedestal, thanks to value-adding features like 4K output, the touch remote and broader multiroom capabilities. In this way, the 1TB model is a replacement of sorts for Sky+HD, which is all but retired at this point.
Sky is keen to allay any concerns current Sky+ subscribers might be feeling, however. Their boxes will still be supported and updated with new features; plenty of boxes are still around to replace faulty ones; and in the niche instances where Sky Q is just not an option (such as in a block of flats that's not Q-ready), Sky+HD boxes will be available as a stop-gap solution.