Now that Sky has got around adding Netflix, making more box sets available and revamping its mobile apps, it's going to need some new targets for the next 12 months... plus there'll be the usual procession of new shows, movies, and sports matches to look forward to as well.
If you own a Sky Q system and you're wondering what exciting new features you can expect in 2020, this is the guide for you – the value-for-money of a Sky Q subscription just keeps rising.
HDR picture quality
Sky has been teasing the arrival of HDR (High Dynamic Range) for a long time now, but 2020 might be the year we see it at last. Originally supposed to launch in 2018, then delayed to 2019, now we've arrived in 2020 and we still don't have HDR on our Sky Q boxes.
High Dynamic Range has been available on rival services, including Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video, for years: it offers brighter whites and deeper blacks, so that details don't get lost in the brightest and darkest areas of a frame. It can make a big difference to movies and shows, if you've got content and a television set that supports HDR as well.
What seems like a semi-official forum post has suggested late 2020 (opens in new tab) could be the time when HDR finally arrives on Sky Q, though Sky itself as said it's still committed to launching HDR "as soon as possible" – so make of that what you will.
A more personal experience
One of our biggest gripes with Sky Q at the moment is that it has no concept of the fact that multiple people watch the television in the living room. So, while its personalised recommendations work very well, the Sky Q box does seem to think that whoever watches bloodthirsty horror movies like Hostel also has a penchant for back-to-back episodes of Peppa Pig first thing on a Saturday morning...
This was another problem we were expecting Sky to solve in 2019, but no joy – we're hoping that the update finally turns up in 2020. Individual profiles for Sky Q, the broadcaster says, are going to allow the satellite box to recommend shows and movies to individual family members based on their unique tastes.
Sky has also pledged to "enhance the platform’s data-driven recommendations" so you can find new shows you'll love, more easily. Exactly what this looks like remains to be seen, but we're hoping that it shows up sooner rather than later.
Improved voice control
The last couple of years have seen the arrival of some basic voice search capabilities for Sky Q, but we're hoping that improvements are in the pipeline – something more akin to the smart speakers that are taking up space in all of our homes.
You can now use your voice to look for particular shows, movies and actors, and to play your saved recordings, and to change channels. Voice commands can also be used to pause and resume playback, and to skip forwards and backwards. Apps can be launched using voice control too.
Sky hasn't specifically confirmed that any upgrades are on the way, but an experience more like Google Assistant, Siri or Amazon Alexa would be nice – perhaps the Sky Q boxes will one day support one or more of those digital assistants.
Ditching the dish
Sky first revealed plans to allow its television service to be beamed into homes without a dish strapped to side of your house back in 2017, enabling Sky to target more than six million households across Europe and two million in the UK who don't own – or don't want to own – a dish.
In the latter half of 2019 this started to roll out in Italy on a trial basis, but we're yet to see such an option appear in the UK. We know it's coming, we just don't know exactly when (it's possible that Sky is waiting until it can reliably stream 4K content over the web before it launches this dish-free alternative).
While we wait for news on being able to subscribe to Sky Q without a dish here in the UK, your best bet is Now TV if that's something that you're after – though it doesn't quite offer the full Sky Q experience.
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