Sky Cinema: 7 reasons why the channel formerly known as Sky Movies is SO HOT RIGHT NOW!

More films, more premieres, "better HD" and audio, Yakuza rap battles, all at no extra cost

Sky Cinema, unveiled today and launching July 8, is the new Sky Movies. And it's very much like the old Sky Movies, but better.

It's got 12 permanent channels of new and themed filcks (action, classics, films about horses etc) plus pop-up channels (Star Wars, Superheroes, black and white films about horses, etc).

• Read our in-depth Sky Q review - it'll have 4K "by the end of the year," we learned today, too…

Sky Movies was already the UK's number one movie channel in terms of new films shown, and also its biggest on-demand service. So how has Sky improved things with Sky Cinema? Let's find out…

"Better HD" and audio are promised

Technical details are scarce at present but a new video master format will be used with "a third more pixels and four times the number of colour shades" of Sky's current HD offerings. That won't necessarily mean you actually see 33% more pixels, but it should mean more detailed and vibrant pictures overall.

Similarly, audio is getting a boost on "selected movies on demand", giving, and we quote, "louder bangs and quieter whispers." Do you necessarily want whispers to be quieter? There'll be aa wider dynamic range, is what we think they're saying.

It'll have more new films

Sky is promising a premiere every day from July 8. This does raise questions of quality control, but it's still cool, and could lead to less celebrated, but still worthy, films scooping more of an audience, once all the month's blockbusters have been used up.

For instance, Sky Cinema kicks off with Spectre on July 8, with Ant Man and Minions Movie (ugh) hot on its heels.

By the end of July, however, we're onto arguably more interesting flicks, such as Guillermo del Toro's masterful Crimson Peak and indie fodder likeMe, Earl and the Dying Girl - which, despite its awful name, is a very good film.

Incoming! It'll have more BIG films

A full 45 of the top 50 films of 2015 will be on SC including, of course, The Force Awakens. Among the few from the top 50 not included are Tom Hardy as both Kray twins in Legend, which is a shame, and the Divergent sequels, which frankly we can live with.

It'll have more 'small' films as well

A new 'world cinema' channel arrives, boasting a premiere each Wednesday. These include Tokyo Tribe, quite possibly the best Yakuza rap battle musical ever made. Films run the full gamut, from multi-award winning film festival favourites to, well, Yakuza rap battle musicals.

Sky is also at pains to stress that more indie and "local" films (so British and European ones over here, presumably) will feature in general. The message: this is a classy, curated experience, not just a blockbuster fest.

Pop up channels? Yep, there'll be more of them too…

At least one a month is planned, with channels devoted to Pixar, Star Trek and the works of Tom Hanks among the early offerings - at last a chance to see Joe vs the Volcano again!

Finding and watching movies you want just gets easier

There'll be 20% more movies available on demand, giving 1,200 in total. That's important because the viewing split is now 55% to 45% in favour of on demand.

There'll also be better recommendations, and Restart, which lets you watch live movies from the beginning even if you tune in late. This is already "working great in Italy," according to Ian Lewis, director of Sky Cinema, Europe.

With Now TV, viewers will also be able to enjoy all this on their mobile and other devices, without even needing a Sky subscription.

There's no extra cost

We don't want to get bogged down in Sky's pricing, which is only slightly less complex than quantum physics, and can never quite be described as 'cheap'.

However the headline news is that costs will remain the same as for Sky Movies, so at present, a basic movies bundle costs £38 per month, and will continue to do so.

For some users it might actually be cheaper; whereas on certain Movies tariffs before there was an additional charge for HD, it's now included as standard across the board on Sky Cinema. As indeed it should be, what with it being 2016.

• You'll be wanting one of the best 4K and HD TVs to watch all this on, of course…

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."