From August 13, Sky Q Silver customers will be able to access what Sky claims is “the UK’s most comprehensive Ultra HD service”, with 4K sport to be available live and all other 4K content accessible on-demand.
Sky will offer sport including 124 live Premier Leaguefootball games and every 2017 Formula 1 race in UHD; it will make more than 70 movies available in the format, including premieres of new films like Spectre, The Revenant and Bridge of Spies. It will also offer 30 hours of UHD natural history and documentaries.
“This is just the start, with more sports, movies, documentaries and drama, in spectacular Ultra HD, to come soon,” said Sky.
Sky Q Silver customers with a compatible Ultra HD TV will be able to access Ultra HD sports content by clicking an on-screen prompt when a UHD feed is available, by clicking the sports red button app or by selecting Ultra HD from the Sky Sports Home Page on their Sky box.
For movies, documentaries, drama and entertainment, subscribers can select on-demand content by clicking on relevant Ultra HD categories from their set-top box’s Sky Home Page. There will be no dedicated ‘Sky UHD’ linear channel.
“With Sky Q, we created the world’s best TV experience. Now with the introduction of an unrivalled line-up of Ultra HD TV, the service is going to get even better, truly enhancing customers’ viewing experience,” said Sky’s director of TV and content products, Luke Bradley-Jones.
Sky’s UHD offering will initially offer resolution of 3840×2160 pixels at 50 frames per second. A Sky spokesperson told DTVE: “We will always aim to offer customers the highest possible picture quality, and we’ll take a view on high dynamic range [HDR] once the standards are finalised by the industry.”
Commenting on the UHD launch, Strategy Analytics’ principal analyst – digital consumer practice, David Mercer said that Sky has “leapfrogged BT back into top spot with its Ultra HD launch, which is the most comprehensive Ultra HD service available in the UK, if not worldwide.”
“While audience numbers are likely to be low in the early days, since Sky Q has only recently launched, this is an important statement from the UK’s leading pay TV broadcaster that Ultra HD is here to stay and represents the future of television viewing.”
CCS Insight’s director, multiplay and media, Paolo Pescatore, predicted that Sky’s UHD launch “will kick start consumer appetite for 4K in the UK.”
“Though BT was the first provider to launch 4K in the UK, it has failed to see any meaningful uptake to its BT TV service. Despite a huge investment in 4K, BT has failed to build upon its early mover advantage.”
Strategy Analytics estimates that around 1.7 million UK homes, representing 6% of the population, currently own an Ultra HD TV.