Is Sky Q Too Expensive? – UPDATED
Update: Since the announcement of Sky Q, Sky have made a number of important tweaks to the pricing structure of Sky Q. Most notably, Sky have made Sky Q their standard option for all new and upgrading customers. Today, you can land a Sky Q box with the Original bundle for just £22 a month, the Variety bundle & Sky Q costs £32 a month and the Box Sets bundle costs just &38 a month. With each of these bundles, the cost of the box is included, and you can add Sky Fibre broadband for another £20 a month. To upgrade or sign up, call the Sky helpline.
Ever since the launch of Sky, the company has been a high end proposition for TV fans. Requiring dedicated hardware and a significant monthly outlay, Sky TV has remained the preserve of those who are really interested in TV. That became all the more true when Sky launched their Sky + service 15 years ago, it came with high set up costs, expensive boxes and expensive plans. Needless to say, it didn’t instantly set the market alight. Over the years though, the cost of the service fell, its quality improved and slowly, it became the premier TV watching experience in the UK.
Now, with Sky Q launching across the UK, the company look poised to make the same mistakes again. It’s an undoubted leap forward in TV watching, but is it simply too much for the UK market in a time of steep competition and ailing economy?
Let’s start by looking at the service itself. Sky Q is positioned in a price bracket above Sky +, which is now the mid-tier service above Now TV, which sits right at the bottom. Justifying this price is a series of new technologies, like 4K support, the ability to record four channels whilst watching a fifth, Powerline technology for sending internet signals through your home wiring and much, much more. Indeed, there’s no doubt that Sky Q enters the market as the most advanced TV service around, but its cost might be somewhat more difficult to swallow.
Sky are keen to position the service as a small step up for existing customers, saying that its base service will cost just £12 more per month compared to their existing package, though that does add up to an average increase of £216 across an 18 month contract.
Thankfully, Sky have moved to simplify their packages for Sky Q. There’s now just one package, and it features over 300 channels, 3D on demand, over 50 HD channels and access to all of Sky’s box sets on demand. It costs £42 a month for the Sky Q basic box and £54 a month with the Sky Q Silver box. For new customers, the monthly cost starts at £42. Sky Movies can be added for an extra £17 a month and Sports added for £25.50 a month However, the real cost is in the boxes themselves.
If you aren’t taking Sky Sports, Sky Movies or Sky Broadband the cost of the base Sky Q box is £249, whilst the Sky Q Silver box costs £299. A Sky Q Silver Box and Sky Q Mini box is also £299. Those costs fall to £99, £149, and £99 respectively if you take out one of the aforementioned services, but remain high nonetheless. There’s also the £99 set up cost to take into account.
All in all, for a customer taking out the basic Sky Q package for the minimum 18 month contract, they’d pay a £99 installation fee, £249 for a Sky Q box and £42 a month. All in all, that comes to £1,104, and that’s without adding things like Sky Sports or Movies in to the mix.
Sky are sticking to their guns though, and say that as a premium customer, you’ll get access to premium customer service. For the first time ever Sky Q customers will get servicing and mechanical fault repairs at no extra cost, and will have access to a dedicated UK based call centre as an alternative to the Sky customer services phone number.
So, you’ve got to ask yourself, is all of this worth the money? At the moment, it’s hard to conclusively say it’s a worthwhile step up from Sky+. Yes, having move space, more tuners and access to things like YouTube are nice additions, but they don’t completely revolutionise your TV watching experience.
The real game changer would, of course, be 4K TV. Whilst the box has been designed with 4K content in mind, the company are keeping quiet on when this content will arrive, let alone how much it will cost. Should Sky choose to include 4K content for free on Sky Q though, it would make the service suddenly seem that much more affordable. Not only that though, it would give all those new 4K TV owners an extremely compelling option for their home, outside of BT TV. Of course though, since Sky are opting to keep their plans silent, we can only deal with what we’ve been given, and for now, Sky Q doesn’t look like brilliant value.