Recent years have seen Sky take the visual aspect of television to a new level for UK based customers with the launch of broadcast 4K TV, but for many of us, the audio aspect remains frustratingly limited.
Although Sky do send audio in high bitrates for HD and 4K customers, the vast majority of homes make do with the standard audio of their televisions, which are typically thin and lacking in quality. That’s a shame, because with programming like Game of Thrones currently airing, audio has rarely been more important to the television experience.
That’s why Sky have teamed up with the French audio company Devialet, one of the most innovative and exciting names in audio, to create a new all-in-one sound system that’s designed to push television audio up a few notches.
Designed to fit in one single compact speaker unit, the speaker – known as the Sky Soundbox – delivers loud and immersive sound that (Sky promise) will surpass “many of the best home cinema systems available today”.
The Sky Soundbox combines Sky’s knowhow in television with Devialet’s well-reviewed audio technologies for the first time. Devialet, who produced the stunning Expert Pro amplifier and Phantom wireless speaker, have never partnered with another brand before, speaking to the level of risk in the partnership – it’s also the first time Sky have ever launched a home audio product before.
The speaker itself will combine six woofers (for low frequency sounds like bass or explosions) with three full-range speakers (which will handle all other sounds) into a single device. Devialet and Sky are promising that the speaker will bounce the sound around your room, delivering spatial surround sound. It’s worth noting that though Sky and Devialet are promising 360-degree sound, that’s simply not possible without a number of speakers around you. Nevertheless, an approximation of surround sound can be made with a single speaker.
The speaker has a number of benefits for Sky customers, with the speaker automatically reconfiguring its sound profile for Sky Q customers watching a variety of entertainment or sports programming. Additionally, the Soundbox will analyse incoming audio in real time, helping to adjust audio levels to better realise vocals or explosions.
Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, Sky UK and Ireland, commented: “Sound is a vital part of visual storytelling – whether you’re watching the season finale of your favourite drama, or an epic Premier League clash. That’s why we’ve partnered with audio industry leaders Devialet to launch Sky Soundbox and take the TV experience to the next level for our customers. Great TV deserves great audio – we believe Sky Soundbox is the Ultra HD of home audio.”
Quentin Sannié, Chief Executive, Devialet, said: “Sound is the future of television. We are very proud to be partnering with Sky, to help them to unleash the full emotional impact of their content, through powerful, immersive, fully integrated sound. This first partnership illustrates our ability to pursue Devialet’s vision to enable revolutionary experiences through audio, and bring them to the widest number of people through partnerships with like-minded companies who are looking to challenge the status quo.”
Sky are encouraging customers to avoid using the contact details for Sky to book, instead recommending that they go to sky.com/skysoundbox to register their interest. The speaker will go on sale in the Autumn for £799, but current and new customers can get the box at £299, whilst Sky Q multiscreen customers can pick it up at £249. Time will tell whether it’s worth that money, but with two giants of home entertainment behind it, we’d suspect the speaker to live up to the hype.