All of a sudden, Sky has become the prize in a bidding war between US media giants Fox and Comcast, but for now, it's business as usual on the ground. The pay-TV provider has today announced a number of new features coming to its Sky Q service, primarily focused on making the user experience more personalised. Machine learning will begin to play a more important role throughout -- surfacing different TV shows depending on the time of day, for example. The sports tab is also becoming better tailored, assessing your viewing habits and liaising with the Sky Sports app so it knows your favourite events and teams.
These updates will feed into a "brand new widescreen user interface" that blends personal recommendations with a selection of on-demand TV curated by Sky. New 'most recent recordings' and 'favourite channels' sections on the homepage are intended to connect people with what they want to watch quicker. Additional voice commands that reflect the personalisation push are also coming to the service -- "show movies for me," for instance. Moreover, voice control will be extended to certain apps, meaning you'll be able to ask your Sky Q box what the weather's doing that day.
To complement the Sky Kids mobile app, set-top boxes are getting a new "kids mode." It sounds like a walled garden for the little ones to bounce around in, letting you plop them in front of the TV and know they aren't going to stumble upon a rerun of Dexter or something. Other, top-level updates include HDR support on Sky Q -- the amount of 4K content on the service will also double this year, apparently -- and letting users stream TV to more devices than before (two is the current maximum) via the Sky Q app. Related to that, Sky is releasing Q apps for smart TVs and other "third-party devices" (we imagine this means Apple TVs, Rokus, Fire TVs etc.). Not only will this make multiroom simpler, since Sky Q Mini boxes won't be a necessity, but it's also Sky following through on its plans to offer Q without a satellite dish.
Lastly, Sky Q will be getting its very own Spotify app this spring -- much to the chagrin of MTV and the seven music channels it somehow manages to keep on air. It'll end up being the first high-profile app to come to the platform since it launched two years ago. The aforementioned updates won't be hitting set-top boxes all at once, but Sky's effectively laid out a roadmap of new features it'll begin drip-feeding into the system from next month onwards.