Sky's first smart TVs point to Comcast's box-less future

It's likely to provide the basis for Comcast's XClass TVs in the US.


Sky’s long journey to move beyond satellite TV is finally over, as the company launches its brand new internet-only TV platform. Sky Glass is the company’s first own-brand Smart TV, one which ditches the home-mounted satellite dish and set-top box in favor of pulling all of its content from the internet. The company’s pitch is to centralize not just its own content inside the one box, but to act as a universal platform for every streaming TV app currently available on the market. Not to mention that putting it all inside a single piece of hardware reduces the clutter that builds up underneath the family TV.

On the hardware front, Sky Glass comes in three sizes, 43-, 55- and 65-inch displays, all of which have 4K Quantum Dot LED screens with 10-bit HDR+ and Dolby Vision. It ships in five colors: Blue, White, Green, Pink or Black, with matching remote controls, speaker fascias and stands. On the audio front, Sky says that you won’t need a soundbar with this kit, since the hardware comes with six-speaker Dolby Atmos sound, as well as a subwoofer, built-in.

(The company added that, consequently, Sky Glass is up to 50 percent more energy efficient than your current set-up since you’ll not be powering a discrete set-top-box and soundbar.)

Image of the new Sky Glass voice remote

But Sky’s value proposition isn’t just that it’s selling a fancy TV with some streaming bits inside, but a whole new way to end the infinite scroll. With Sky Q, the company already positioned itself as a curation layer between you and the content you want, but this takes it a big step forward. It’s designed to aggregate all of the catalogs from all of the streaming apps available and let you pick and choose what you want from one centralized location. That means you can watch episodes of the same TV series, in order, even if they’re hosted on different streaming platforms.

Sky Glass is also voice-activated, with the wake word ‘Hello Sky,” and you should be able to access all of your favorite shoes, live TV and play listed content with it. But if you’d prefer, you can use the new remote, which is a simplified version of the touch remote already available for Sky Q, albeit with backlit buttons for better night-time operation.

At the same time, Sky also announced a 4K webcam which it is planning to release at some point in the future which will sit on top of the TV and offer Portal-esque video calls. This system also offers motion-tracking and skeleton tracking for both motion gaming and customized workouts, and it even looks like a Kinect. When this hardware is available, you’ll also be able to have watching parties for live TV even when you’re not in the same location.

Image of three sizes of Sky Glass TV

Of course, given that Sky is owned by Comcast and the company is rumored to be working on its own TV platform, you can assume for yourself that a rebranded version of Sky Glass is coming to the US. Protocol reports that Comcast has been working on a product, dubbed the XClass TV, for the US market. In addition, Sky says that Glass will not just be available in the UK and Europe, but also in Australia and other markets across the next year or so.

Price-wise, Sky Glass will cost £649, £849 or £1,049 depending on if you opt for the 43-, 55- or 65-inch version. It will be available in the UK on October 18th. But the company says that it expects more people to buy it on a monthly subscription contract, much as it does with phones via Sky Mobile, for a minimum contract term. In that instance, the hardware will set you back £13, £17, or £21 per month, depending on which size you opt for.

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