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Sky UK Denies Plan to End Satellite TV Dish Installs in 2023 UPDATE

Friday, Sep 23rd, 2022 (1:15 pm) - Score 47,560

Sky (Sky TV, Sky Broadband etc.) has denied a recent report claiming it had informed its trade suppliers that they would cease installing “newsatellite TV dishes on customer homes by the end of 2023, which was believed to reflect their increasing adoption of broadband internet based IPTV (video streaming etc.) delivery methods.

At present most of Sky’s TV services are still being delivered via their digital satellite services, but that began to change last year with their broadband-based Sky Glass product, which made it possible to stream their TV channels and content over a UK broadband ISP connection (here). Since then the company has also announced that they’ll soon make TV streaming via their Sky Stream pucks (boxes) a standalone product (here).

The pucks are currently only being sold as part of the Sky Glass product and are designed to work with your existing TVs (i.e. adding Sky TV via streaming for a multi-room solution). The pucks originally attracted a £50 upfront cost, as well as a £10 monthly subscription, and required a slightly faster minimum download speed of 15Mbps (vs 10Mbps on Sky Glass). Each box includes an HDMI v2.1 and 100Mbps LAN (Ethernet) port.

The pucks support many of the same features (4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos etc.) and apps as the full Sky Glass product, albeit lacking in local video recording capabilities. But they can create a Playlist that brings together cloud-based recordings and favourites from the TV guide, on demand, and apps into one place. However, we don’t know what kind of prices and packages will be available alongside the standalone pucks, which are due to launch before the end of 2022.

The vast majority of UK premises (around 97%) are now estimated to be within reach of a “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) connection, while gigabit-capable broadband lines are expected to reach around 80% of premises by the end of 2025. Suffice to say that such coverage, when combined with Sky’s new internet-based TV distribution products, is rapidly expected to reduce the need for satellite dishes.

In keeping with that, a new report on Advanced Television, which has now been removed, claimed that Sky had already briefed their suppliers on a proposal to end the installation of new satellite dishes on homes by the end of 2023. The move was NOT expected to impact customers who already have such a dish installed, since satellite-based distribution and hardware support for those users would continue for years to come (they recently renewed their agreement with satellite firm SES Astra).

The above report did not include any reaction from Sky itself, thus we contacted the operator about this and were told that the story was in fact “not true“. Admittedly, there may come a time when satellite dish installs no longer make sense, but we’d expect that to occur much further into the future than late 2023. The new Sky Glass and future puck products are still very new and have to prove, as well as refine, themselves a bit more first.

UPDATE 24th Sept 2022

Sky finally responded to our hails and has confirmed that the Advanced Television report is “not true … we will be selling Sky Q for the foreseeable future,” said a Sky spokesperson, much to the relief of those who have been less than impressed by the bugs and certain limitations of its Sky Glass product.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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60 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Matt says:

    If they can do a puck which lets you actually record to it, and stream the channels then I’d be all over it. You’d think they’d also manage to stamp out some IPTV users as people have an easy / no installation option (potentially connection portable)

  2. Avatar photo Vince says:

    That’d go down with the not-inconsiderable number of people who can’t get good enough broadband for that kind of use but would like Sky/Sports etc. Presumably the reality is they’re intending to massively reduce the amount they buy.

  3. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    Hopefully they have something in place for addressing the latency on live sports

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      No, they don’t. It is in IPTV nature to be 30-45secs behind. Is it a massive problem? Satellite compared to terrestrial is also slightly behind.

    2. Avatar photo Scott says:

      Latency can be a shocker, however the work BT TV have done shows it can be overcome.

      BT Sports, Sky Sports through the proper channels (not apps) are on a par with traditional broadcasts.

    3. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      Well BT TV are now making Freeview channels available to stream for customers without an aerial and reports are that there’s no conceivable delay, so it seems possible to do. Perhaps Sky can’t do it when you’re not using them as an ISP but I would expect them to have something in place for on-net customers.

    4. Avatar photo In my day things were better says:

      Terrible innit. Watching something 1/2 a second after the fact. I’d be demanding my money back if t’were me. Fancy t’internet rubbish it is.

    5. Avatar photo John says:

      “No, they don’t. It is in IPTV nature to be 30-45secs behind.”

      A few seconds delay is necessary because of the encoding required, but that goes for most mediums.
      It’s why Freebie HD is a couple seconds behind Freebie SD.

      There is no need for a 45 second delay on IPTV. None what so ever.
      It ruins live sports, particularly anyone who places the odd bet.

    6. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @John, Nothing to do with it being IPTV, being digital is mainly the reason for the delay as it has to be encoded and then decoded for you to see it, so even terrestrial have a delay. Satellite have a more of a delay than terrestrial for obvious reasons. Saying all that, I wonder if IPTV does have more of a delay, I suppose it depends on what servers it is going through, how many and where. But everything is so quick that I doubt anyone would even notice

  4. Avatar photo Awelshman says:

    Does this mean you MUST have sky broadband for it to work , bttv only works with bt broadband

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      No, SKY glass doesn’t require sky broadband.
      The standalone pucks aren’t out yet – but it’d be dumb for them to require Sky BB for the same product in a different format.

    2. Avatar photo John says:

      No, why? It is a stream like any other.

  5. Avatar photo John says:

    I’d like to see faces of those who thought it will be cheaper because it is independent from huge satellite capacity costs. It will be even more expensive but there will be no choice.

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Why would this ever be cheaper though? it’s just going to increase profit margin, they’ll eventually drive out sat dish users and then margins will look even better.

      They’ve already set the level people are willing to pay, they’re not going to drop the price out of the kindness of their heart… its Sky.

    2. Avatar photo John says:

      Because satellite platform operators were always using this as an argument.

  6. Avatar photo mike says:

    They should rename themselves to Land

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      Well played Mike. Made me Chuckle.

    2. Avatar photo Kenneth says:

      or Duct

  7. Avatar photo RaptorX says:

    This sounds good, assuming one has a decent enough internet connection for it. However, what I’ve noticed about all the streaming services, including Netflix, is that the back / forward navigation isn’t as good as on a DVR. You can only skip backwards or forwards 5 or 10 seconds at a time depending on the streaming service, rather than the much finer control on a DVR recording or live broadcast in chase play.

    Also, streaming services don’t give consistent video quality, often starting noticeably blurry at 480p or so and then slowly improving over the next couple of minutes which I find annoying. That doesn’t happen with a DVR.

    So, is the Sky streaming service gonna have these limitations too? I rather suspect it might and that will be a big retrograde step.

    Finally, will this mean the end of the one minute ad skip feature on Sky boxes?

    These are all important questions that should be considered.

    1. Avatar photo Me says:

      You must have a slow broadband connection if that happens to you. Streaming here is UHD HDR from the first second, when available.

    2. Avatar photo Nate says:

      I believe Sky will offer the ability to skip ads as a add-on. It seems to be free in first year on Sky Glass contracts.

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      i agree with you about the navigating though the video, it is certainly not as smooth as DVD/blue-ray, sometimes it takes a bit of time for it to catch up and that have been the same in all the streaming services I have used. I have a pretty good 36Mb/s, so that is certainly not the problem, just the nature of the beast I suppose.

      But I don’t normally get any other problem, quality wise is fine, even in 4K most of the time unless there is a bit of a slow-down somewhere.

      I don’t watch any TV as it is broadcast these days, 99% of what I watch is streamed, and I like it like that as I can watch what I like when I want, just a shame I have to pay a subscription, but still not paying for the TV licence give me money to do it.

      oh yeah, the other 1% is via optical disks.

  8. Avatar photo Pezza says:

    Will they still also charge you extra for HD and then extra again for UHD! Like they do now. Sky are as out of touch with the marketplace as you can get. With unreliable equipment to boot. Also their business model is confusing as with Sky Q you do not own the equipment but you rent it, yet with Sky Glass you do own the equipment.
    This model will still cost you the same if not more, especially if they do not lock it down to requiring Sky broadband to work.

    1. Avatar photo Mark says:

      Sky have always been greedy like that, you’d think in this day and age, HD would be a basic right but apparently not! Don’t get me started on the rented equipment! When I had Sky Q, I paid nothing for the setup. But when I enquired about upgrading from the 1TB box to the 2TB box, I was told I would have to pay £199. Apparently this was a charge for the installation and not the box itself (which would still be rented) – I did explain to them that I was more than capable of unplugging 4 wires (2 satellite cables, HDMI and a power cable) out of my current box and plugging them into a 2TB box but they refused. I believe this was nothing but a hidden charge for a 2TB box that you don’t even get to keep!

    2. Avatar photo Pezza says:

      @Mark, isn’t that the truth. Just this week I renegotiated the Sky package, I don’t use it and wouldn’t have it if I had the chance, but others in the house use it and I can’t figure out a reliable way to get the channels they watch on streaming. I cut it right back to no UHD sports or Cinema. On one of the TV’s we have a Apple 4K TV box, the new one, and Sky have released their Sky Go app onto it, the picture quality is just laughable though and it lags and breaks up, it’s awful and poor like an alpha test version. Sky said they will improve the quality going forward. Like everything they do it’s rubbish, the only reason people use them is because if the monopoly they hold on content.
      I used to watch F1 on it but scrapped that and use a VPN and the F1 TV app and it’s much cheaper and better and the commentators are much better, I can live pause it rewind it etc too, can’t do that on Sky Go on live broadcasts.

  9. Avatar photo Matt Baker says:

    DVR isn’t possible on streaming services on a hardrive due to agreements needing to be in place with all rights owners. For broadcast channels via satellite, cable, DTV etc permission isn’t required because it is covered by law

    1. Avatar photo Scott says:

      Well that’s not true. BTTV uses iptv for its subscription channels and I can record from them.

  10. Avatar photo Chris says:

    This is a bad move on Sky’s part. The glory of sky is that it allows you to control what and how you watch, and IPTV goes some way to stripping that out. Want to skip ads? Fine on a DVR but just wait until sky decide you can’t on their IPTV products. Poor broadband speeds? No TV for you. Same with big downloads – now you have to time when you do them to save bandwidth unless you have a router capable of QoS. It’s like going back to dial-up days.

  11. Avatar photo Mrs j mccarthy says:

    Cant wait to get rid of sky this is just a money making process for them. Not interested in what they offer now too expensive and useless equipment.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Of course, it is a money making process, that is what they are there to do, but sky is way overpriced, certainly when it comes to films and sport, but then when they pay stupid amounts to show some people kicking a ball around, you can’t expect anything else.

      Things may change soon, as the cost of living is going up, people may decide that they are paying out too much on their sky TV and decide to either cut down or scrap it. I know one of person who is not going to renew their contract, and they spend a small fortune with Sky, only one person maybe, but how many other people are thinking the same thing ?

  12. Avatar photo Martin says:

    Sounds like Freesat may not have long left then, as when Sky eventually complete the transition I don’t see many channels paying for a transponder just for Freesat. I wonder how long the transition will take

    1. Avatar photo Margaret says:

      I really hope you’re wrong. Freesat has the advantage of reliability, which neither broadband streaming or TV Ariel’s have. If the broadband goes down then so does your TV streaming. If it’s windy your TV Ariel signal breaks up. Freesat signals are never lost, possibly only breaking slightly during extreme winds, making it the most reliable service now that Sky is gradually removing it’s services from the satellite. For me Freesat wins hands down and I hope it’s here for many years.

    2. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      I suspect Freesat will still be around for at least a while once Sky decide to ditch satellite broadcasting. Many of the niche broadcasters that while broadcasting FTA are largely there for a Sky EPG number will themselves either close or go online only (this has already been happening), but the bigger broadcasters will likely still have some presence available (especially the PSB broadcasters). Freesat estimate that they currently have over two million “customers” so as long as the likes of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Viacom, UKTV, Warner Bros/Discovery etc. are happy to continue running “linear” channels then Freesat will have a place, especially if next year’s ITU World Radio Conference allocates more UHF broadcasting spectrum to mobile comms in Europe, squeezing even more space out for terrestrial broadcasting reducing the amount of multiplexes that can be accommodated for Freeview.

  13. Avatar photo Tedjrr says:

    You can see this calling the time for Sky+, but assume SkyQ has at least 10 years of life..

  14. Avatar photo Rik says:

    I would rather keep my Sky and broadband services separate.

    If my Sky box breaks, I can entertain myself with a streaming service via the Internet.

    If my Internet goes down, I can entertain myself via Sky (through my dish).

    Under the new system, if my Internet goes down it takes out Sky with it. I am not entertained!

    Also, if you think Sky will continue to let you skip ads on shows recorded on the cloud, think again! Then again, I guess a software update to a traditional Sky Q box could easily kill that.

  15. Avatar photo Jon says:

    I think this will save me a lot of money on my sky subscription. On 3mbs download speed I doubt I’ll need the UHD package!

  16. Avatar photo Bob says:

    Does not seem to be a sensible move. Satellite is far better for brodcasting TV. If you stream TV particularly in HD it uses a lot of bandwidth. If you start getting lots of people streaming TV it will cause problems with the network

    1. Avatar photo spurple says:

      They have calculated that provisioning adequate network capacity is considerably cheaper than maintaining a fleet of satellites.

    2. Avatar photo XGS_Is_On says:

      Put caches close to customers, which they already do, and streams don’t traverse much of the network where customers use Sky broadband.

      They have caches for some content in exchanges right now. The rest in sites that collect together groups of exchanges and in data centres.

      The rest of their customers they can lease capacity from third party CDNs or offer other ISPs their own caches. Sky won’t be serving all the streams for the entire nation from their network and other ISPs won’t want to have to go to Sky for it.

    3. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      With IP delivery, most of the bandwidth cost is carried by the customer, who is already paying separately for their broadband connection.

      All Sky have to do is to dump the streams into the right networks – via peering, private interconnects, or putting boxes inside the networks of larger service providers.

  17. Avatar photo Me says:

    Not the best idea. Sky glass doesn’t allow you to record, it also has on demand rights so if you like something and want to keep it 6month later. You’re screwed.

    Also if they are dipping into those realms their pricing needs to come down significantly to match their competitors.

  18. Avatar photo Johnson says:

    Absolute nonsense.

  19. Avatar photo Jose M Carbajosa says:

    I’ve got a holiday home in Spain , please can you tell me will I be able to buy a sky glass tv in The uk and use it in my home in Spain ? Thanks for your help.

    1. Avatar photo joshe says:

      never, especially after the UK left the EU

    2. Avatar photo Anthony says:

      Probably VPN or SmartDNS. It will be very simple if so.

    3. Avatar photo EU sucks says:

      Yes. But. You’ll need a VPN.

      Oh and waaah muh EU .. yeah cos EU have figured out global rights issues and the catalogues of streaming sites like Netflix/Prime etc totally don’t change from country to country within the EU.


    4. Avatar photo EU amazeballs says:

      The EU did this to help member states, the EU doesn’t “suck” just because the UK chose to leave!

      Just another benefit we’ve now lost, ahhhhhh well, another brexit bonus (rolleyes)

  20. Avatar photo MilesT says:

    Re the standalone pucks. Sky’s junior brand, NowTV, offered a white labelled range of devices from Roku (basic HD streaming then, Roku can do better now) but gave it up.

    Maybe a bit ahead of its time?

    Makes sense that Sky would want to sell it’s own device, controlling the service completely, rather than just market someone else’s device.

  21. Avatar photo Andrew says:

    Sky’s current contract with Astra is ending 2027, so I believe there might be a little more to this than sky are letting on.
    IPTV is hugely cheaper than satellite TV, and ultra fast broadband should be ubiquitous by then.
    Back in the late 90s sky were paying £30 million a year for satellite capacity, as they’re building streaming capacity anyway they’ll surely want to exit satellite asap?
    Interestingly sky broadcast on 3 satellites, Astra 2e (launched 2013), Astra 2f (launched 2012) and Astra 2g (launched 2014), each of these satellites have A planned life of 15 years, so roughly tying into the end of sky’s contract (2027-2029).

  22. Avatar photo Rab C Nesbit says:

    Sky dishes make your house look like a council house. Disgusting things. Look, we watch mass produced rubbish TV that costs us tons a month lets adorn our house with a £1 rubbish looking dish. Worse than telegraph poles.

    1. Avatar photo barry says:

      Rubbish I sold my house for £10 million with 2 Sky dishes on it

    2. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      It only really seems to be in Britain that within Europe this snobbish attitude regarding satellite dishes appears to exist. On the continent almost all dishes installed are solid reflectors as opposed to the perforated surface that adorns “Sky Digital” dishes, while in most of Eastern Europe a satellite dish is seen as a status symbol.

      That’s not to say however that satellite dishes, where no though being given to its placement on a property, can look ugly on some occasions. For that you can blame (mostly) Sky installers that’ll stick up the receiving dish in the handiest place for them to make their job easy. They could in most cases site the receiving dish in a more sympathetic location but time & money is normally the deciding factor and if you’ve a list of installations to do in a day then you’ll want to not sped too long on each of them – and most customers aren’t willing to spend additional money to site the dish in an alternative location.

    3. Avatar photo XGS_Is_On says:

      I’ve seen a number of developments where dishes are either out and out against covenants or there are restrictions on where they may be sited.

      Of course whether the property owners obey the covenants is a different matter entirely but they are a thing.

      I see the point. It’s one of those strange things where some people object to any infrastructure being above ground but have no problems attaching a dish to the front of their home. Never had a problem with them but wouldn’t and indeed haven’t had one for a while.

      I wonder what proportion of dishes on the front of properties are actually active and how many have been supplanted either by cable or a combination of IPTV and Freeview?

  23. Avatar photo Boomer Zoomer says:

    Only boomers watch Sky.

  24. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

    My prediction – once Sky have released their “Puck” to the masses without the required Sky Glass service being tied to it, I’ll give it about two years before Sky will start to sell their service mostly only via IP/internet with new satellite reception installations only being done for properties which either haven’t got a fast enough broadband connection (with 24Mb/s+ connections now at 97% of all UK premises and still increasing) or where the customer specifically insists on it, keeping a very small team of installers/technicians for this.

    However I don’t see Sky’s actual satellite service actually closing down before the end of this decade unless the numbers watching it suddenly falls off a cliff. The current Astra 2E/2F/2G satellites Sky use are good enough to run until at least 2028-30 and in an extended scenario a spare bird in the SES fleet could be brought in to provide a reduced Sky satellite service in its potential last few years. Another thing to point out is that Sky (UK/IRL) still use an awful lot of satellite transponders broadcasting in DVB-S/MPEG2 only whereas most providers in Europe & elsewhere have moved on to at least DVB-S2/MPEG4 only transmission even for SD channels, suggesting that a lot of early Sky Digital SD boxes that are at least 12-15 years old are still being used by a notable percentage of subscribers – that suggests to me that their is a big enough refusnik group that may be hard to change over from Sky’s satellite service to an internet based service.

    As always, time will tell.

    1. Avatar photo XGS_Is_On says:

      ‘suggesting that a lot of early Sky Digital SD boxes that are at least 12-15 years old are still being used by a notable percentage of subscribers – that suggests to me that their is a big enough refusnik group that may be hard to change over from Sky’s satellite service to an internet based service.’

      Fair comment. Sky managed to get that group off of analogue and onto digital however this is a different matter entirely. Sky and VMO2 may both find themselves having to fight against people wanting to keep their existing wiring.

  25. Avatar photo Kevin Kinsella says:

    Sky in NEW ZEALAND have already made the kit available, it’s the replacing an earlier IP service. Here’s the link:-H T T P S etc -advanced-television.com/2022/09/23/sky-pod-from-sky-nz/

    1. Avatar photo joshe says:

      Sky new zealand is not related to Sky Group, a better example would be Sky.de, or Sky.it as they are owned by Sky Group and use the Stream puck already, but with Q software.

  26. Avatar photo Oo Interesting says:

    One area which has not been reported is the massive layoff in Sky engineers which started last year. They are not calling it redundancy but a voluntary leave Programme but then a car is the same as an automobile.

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