Ever since Sky first started talking about its next-gen TV service, Sky Q, voice search was pitched as one of its fancy features, though clearly labelled as coming eventually. A year and change after Sky Q launched, it's finally arrived. Subscribers can now -- or, by the end at spring of the latest due to a staggered rollout -- pick up their glossy Touch Remotes, hit the dedicated voice search button, and well... you get the idea.
Similar to the voice search features on Rokus, Amazon Fire TV streamers et al, Sky Qers can search through live TV and all on-demand content simply by speaking the names of actors, shows, films and directors into the Touch Remote's microphone. You can also search by genre, age rating, average reviews and other descriptors, as well as compound these for more specific searches -- Sky gives examples such as "Tom Hanks' movies rated five stars" and "films with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone."
It gets a little bit smarter than that, too. Phrases such as "live cricket on this weekend," "what's on Sky Atlantic tonight" and "Liverpool game" should turn up the search results you're after, so there's some contextual leeway. Sky has even thrown a bunch of easter eggs, letting you to track down classics by reciting popular lines. Give "you had me at hello," "show me the money" and "say hello to my little friend" a go, for instance.
As part of the update that enables voice search, Sky has also improved the My Photos app so it can play your Facebook videos, and notably, done away with the Sky Q home screen. The personalised My Q tab, complete with recommendations from across the service, takes its place -- which is exactly the kind of curated home screen MPs are thinking about regulating, potentially forcing pay-TV providers to do more to promote the efforts of public service broadcasters.