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Sky TV UK Finally Goes Live with Delayed 4K HDR Video Support UPDATE

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 27,807
sky q tv 2016

Customers of Sky’s (Comcast / Sky Broadband) Pay TV service – Sky Q – will be pleased to know that the broadcasting giant will today finally add High Dynamic Range (HDR) support alongside the launch of their new 4K (UHD) Sky Nature channel, but it will gradually be made available for other content too (movies, sport etc.).

The technology, which particularly complements Ultra HD resolutions by enabling video content to contain even more colour and vibrancy, was originally due to launch by the end of last year but at the last minute Sky warned that customers would instead have to wait until “late” 2020 “at the earliest.

NOTE: Sky will use the BBC and NHK developed Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) standard for HDR, which will be added via a Sky Q software update.

Mercifully that turned out not to be the case (much as we indicated last week), which is good since most of their rivals have had HDR for awhile now and a growing number of people also own supporting TVs. But the fact that Sky have been so late to this particularly party has caused a fair amount of frustration within their customer base.

In order to benefit from this you’ll need a Sky Experience or Ultra HD subscription, otherwise no HDR. We should add that the Sky Nature channel is otherwise included for all Sky TV customers. Initially, three brand new Sky Nature shows will be available in HDR on demand – Gangs of Lemur Island (five 60 min episodes), Pridelands: Wilderness reborn (one 60 min episode) and Malawi: Wildlife Rescue (five 60 min episodes).

Fraser Stirling, Sky’s Group Chief Product Officer, said:

“We’re really excited to be launching HDR on Sky Q. We’re starting with some of our brilliant new Sky Nature shows on demand, with loads more fantastic HDR content coming throughout this year, like Sky originals and movies, followed by live HDR sport in 2021.”

The catch here is that only newer Sky Q 1TB and 2TB set-top-boxes are compatible with the HDR upgrade (older 1TB units are a hard NO), although anybody with a 2TB box (even older models) might be fine. Customers who don’t already have a UHD (4K) subscription can get around this by upgrading, but if you happen to have such a subscription and an older box then Sky don’t currently have an HDR upgrade process (it’s hoped this will come later).

We suspect that the COVID-19 crisis may have disrupted Sky’s hope of having a Sky Q box replacement service ready for the launch. Unfortunately nobody seems to know quite how long they’ll have to wait before this is introduced, but some indications suggest it may occur toward the end of summer.

A related FAQ page for HDR is expected to go live sometime today, which will include more details about box compatibility as, for some reason, Sky couldn’t confirm a full list of devices to us directly: https://www.sky.com/help/ . On top of all this we note that some older HDR TVs don’t support the HLG standard.

What Sky HDR content is coming in the future?

• Sky will increase the VOD HDR range in 2020, with the following coming before the end of the year:

· More Sky Nature shows

· Must-watch Sky originals

· And in time for Christmas, a selection of the blockbuster movies on Sky Cinema

• HDR will also launch on third party apps over the coming months, including Disney+ and Netflix.

• In 2021, live HDR broadcast is planned to start with the pinnacle of sport, the 2021 Summer Olympics.

UPDATE 11:57am

Virgin Media has also added Sky’s latest channels to its TV platform: Sky Nature (channel 279) and Sky Documentaries (channel 277). Both channels will be available in HD to all Maxit TV (previously named ‘Full House’) customers at no extra cost.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
37 Responses
  1. jd says:

    I think if you check the forums HDR isn’t working for those of us with an older V1 2TB box

  2. John says:

    I have the first 2tb skyq box that came out will I need to upgrade it and will ther be a charge?.because I want HDR..

  3. Robert says:

    What are the channel numbers please I have been searching for two hours

  4. RR says:

    I’ll be phoning Sky then, these boxes are rented, ive been in this since day 1, paid full wack for the boxes, this isnt good enough.

    1. Corry says:

      I’m with you there. I’m in the same situation.. Upgrade my rented box now please…

  5. Steve says:

    @RR Calm down, honey. Give them a call first, then get angry if you have to not the other way around. Please also bear in mind there is currently a global pandemic so any shipments of new boxes will be impacted. Whilst Sky is very keen for you to experience HDR, the safety of their staff is far more important than your faux rage. Have a good day.

    1. RR says:

      OK hun, cool as a cucumber here.

  6. J says:

    Sky Documentaries is meant to be on channel 114, advertised on Sky Sports News as available now but guess what, it is not available. I thought upgrade to boxes was done overnight?

    1. Ram says:

      Starts at midday.

  7. Dave says:

    What broadband speed Is needed to stream Sky HDR, please?

    1. Random Precision says:

      It isn’t streamed, you have to download content to a SkyQ box.

  8. Anonymous 1 says:

    Certainly much better picture quality, on Sky Nature. It’s taken Sky an age to sort out HDR.

  9. J says:

    Are there specific HDR channels? Sky Nature and Docs are on now in HD but I have no on demand for these channels and I can’t see a Sky Nature or Sky Docs Ultra HD channel?

    I thought this was meant to be some magnificent upgrade to our boxes????

    1. John says:

      I’m guessing that the UHD HDR content will have to be downloaded to sky q box

  10. Kevin says:

    Had to do a manual update as no update was done by sky through the night,now have the extra channels,sky documentaries 114,sky nature 130,
    but dont appear to have hdr,downloaded the Gangs Of Lemur Island episode 1 inuhd 4k but no hdr,looks like my stb box is not compatable,typical…
    So if you do not have the new channels then manually do an uupdate.go to
    Settings,System Info,highlight Software Version,Choose Setup,then Software Download,
    takes a while,dont turn off box…

  11. Matthew says:

    They have all been added to NowTV as well now plus they added Sky News into the TV Guide which is a nice addition wonder if they will be dropping the Sky News App

  12. Mark hunt says:

    Will the sky nature and sky documentary be available on virgin

    1. Matthew says:

      They already should be

  13. Graham spires says:

    Good news I went to software download on my sky q box was successful as I have 4k oled ultra HD TV and ultra HD on sky q box when said successful switched off my av receiver and TV then had update message so downloaded and updated software that should solve problem I hope I have new channels good luck hope solves the problem for everyone who has sky q 2tb box with uhd and 4k oled TV with uhd

  14. DiFiasco says:

    Sky TV: experience 10-year-old technology today!

    1. Richard says:

      What, supporting a standard (HLG) which was only agreed in late 2016 is 10 year old tech?

      I guess if you own a DeLorean, maybe.

  15. Richard says:

    No idea why anyone’s trying to force software updates – it’s completely unnecessary. If you’ve got a v2 (silver trim, external power supply) or v3 (black trim) 2TB box, or the newer 1TB UHD box, then these on demand items will play in UHD HDR (HLG) if your TV supports it.

    1. Sheepdog says:

      The reason for forcing download is like me the new Nature channel was not there at all. So forcing download made it appear and as compatible box hdr on downloading content. Picture wise rich colours etc than normal sky uhd so can’t wait for content…but in meantime lemurs will do.

    2. Richard says:

      Just rebooting the box would have caused the channel to appear – although it appeared automatically on mine at midday, as expected.

      The software update doesn’t do anything anyway, unless Sky have transmitted the enabling signal. it just takes a while, restarts and doesn’t change the software at all.

  16. Paul says:


    Posted by a sky employee:

    As some of you have found out we’ve not been able to build the 2TBv1 upgrade journey. A few weeks ago we had a decision to make to either further delay or try and push ahead. We went with the latter on the basis that we’ve only released a very small library of content and our intention is to build the upgrade journey in the coming months as we increase the content.
    There’s little point to phoning us looking for an upgrade until the journey has been built and I know it’s been mentioned in passing but we swap like for like boxes when doing service visits. At the moment it’s a case of waiting it out as annoying as it is.
Community Manager

    1. Wally1 says:

      Many thanks for this information. I’m a V1 box user so unable to get HLG
      at present. As you are probably aware, other forums are “very busy” discussing this situation.

      It’s good that Sky have introduced HLG even with the existing issues.

      I do think that a Sky webpage with all the relevant information would have helped quell the endless speculation now running elsewhere. At one point there seemed to
      be some confusion even within Sky.

      Anyway I hope that HLG capable boxes become available soon.

  17. Trevor Harris says:

    Sorry to see that Sky have chosen the inferior HLG system. Netflix, Amazon and blu-ray use HDR10 or the compatable Dolby Vision. Many 4k tv’s do not support HLG including my 55LG950v. I also don’t want to get a new tv as they don’t support 3D.

    1. DTH engineer says:

      It’s not inferior. It’s the same standard however it allows live broadcasting where hdr10 and the others is for streaming. So better for skys live broadcast of sports and next years Olympics

  18. Matt says:

    This information is incorrect. I have an incompatible 2tb sky q box… Anyone else with the version 0 box WILL NOT BE ABLE TO VIEW ANYTHING IN HDR… Very disappointed.

  19. Stuart says:

    Does anyone know why sky’s website is so bad for existing broadband customers.
    Sorry for hijacking this thread but I’m sick of trying to upgrade my broadband and I always get a technical fault/system timeouts/ etc

  20. mark wooster says:

    I do not have HDR on my skyq box

  21. mike crowe says:

    You failed to identify that many customers with the tb2 boxes will not benefit from hdr and that there is no explanation or timetable from SKY.

    Uncritical news reporting such as this helps companies like sky to get away with poor customer care.

  22. Paul Cummings says:

    I have an old sky 2tb ox and ultra hd TV I have spoke to several advisors and have had different advice I know my box is not compatible I need a new box and also told my current box would be upgraded. Which is correct and how long will it take l have been with sky over 20 years and feel disappointed and feel like joining bt

  23. Jim says:

    The point of HLG is so it can also be displayed on existing equipment without any alteration, so point in worrying about older TVs “don’t support the HLG standard”.

  24. Adam Welch says:

    I seem to have a compatible box and the right package but not sure if I’m actually getting HDR content. Not sure how I confirm on my Samsung TV.

    It has the latest Tizen OS

  25. Francis vella says:

    To whom this might concern.

    I’m an avid watcher of your program, but I find it very disturbing as to the fact that the background music, at times, it’s louder than the narration, it’s very annoying that one has to listen to the narrator while such music is overpowering the narrator.

    This is solely my opinion.

    Thanks for everything.

    A follower Frank.

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