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How to watch HDR on Sky Q: what do you need? What HDR shows are available?

How to watch HDR on Sky Q
(Image credit: Sky)

It's been a long time coming, but finally Sky Q customers can now now watch stunning 4K content in HDR (High Dynamic Range).

Sky's plan to bring HDR support its Sky Q platform was floated way back in 2017. The upgrade suffered several delays in the months (indeed, years!) following, but Sky has now made good on its promise: HDR is, at long last, available to Sky Q customers.

Not familiar with HDR? It essentially improves picture quality by offering a much wider and subtler range of colour and contrast; HDR pictures colours look even more vibrant, and shadows even more detailed. It's arguably the best technology to come to TVs since high definition.

So, without further ado, what HDR shows are available on Sky Q? How do you find them? And what kit do you need to enjoy them? The answer is just a scroll away...

(Image credit: Sky)

What HDR content is available on Sky Q?

In May, Sky launched HDR on Sky Q with three on-demand Sky Nature documentaries:

Gangs of Lemur Island (five hour-long episodes): A natural history docu-soap following the lives of four rival gangs of lemurs in one of their last wild sanctuaries on the planet.

Pridelands: Wilderness Reborn (one hour-long episode): Follow the Hutchinson family and some amazing elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards, as they attempt to turn a derelict farm in South Africa into to a wildlife sanctuary.

Malawi: Wildlife Rescue (six hour-long episodes): Join head Vet Amanda Salb and the team at Malawi's only animal rescue centre as they save injured and orphaned animals and return them to the wild.

In August, it expanded that HDR offering to:

Britannia (season two): The second series of the unique Sky original from acclaimed writer Jez Butterworth and starring David Morrissey and Mackenzie Crook arrives on Sky Atlantic. Rome may have arrived, but Britannia isn’t about to start acting civilised. 

Cobra: Starring Robert Carlyle as Prime Minister Robert Sutherland, COBRA is a new Sky original production set in the heart of government during a major crisis.

The following are due by the end of September, too:

Bulletproof (season two): Picking up a year on from the events of Series 1, the bond between Bishop and Pike remains, yet it’s impossible to mask the damage caused by some of last year’s testing cases. In this job it’s up to those left behind to pick up the pieces and put them back together again, which is exactly what ‘best mates’ Bishop and Pike are now trying to do

Save Me Too: Lennie James and Suranne Jones return in the critically acclaimed Sky original. Nelly’s desperate quest to find his daughter has potentially terrible consequences. From the makers of Line of Duty.

A Discovery of Witches: Closet witch Teresa Palmer and centuries-old vampire Matthew Goode are drawn into a deadly mystery and forbidden romance when a magical book shows up in an Oxford library. Adapted from Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls trilogy.

Brassic (season two): Co-created by Joseph Gilgun and BAFTA-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst, the action picks up a few months after the events of the series one finale. Together the friends embark on even bigger and bolder misadventures around the fictitious rural Lancashire town of Hawley.

You can search for all these shows in the Sky Q search bar or find them in the Ultra HD rails and sections within Sky Q Home and On Demand.

What about HDR sports and movies on Sky Q?

Not much of a nature buff? By the end of 2020, Sky has promised to release more HDR content, including Sky Originals as well as a selection of blockbuster movies on Sky Cinema.

Sky also plans to bring HDR support to the Disney+ and Netflix apps over the coming months. 

As for sport, Sky intends to enable HDR for the BBC iPlayer app in time for live HDR broadcasts of the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo next summer. Sky has live broadcast football and other sports in 4K Ultra HD for years, so we'd naturally expect HDR support for such programming to follow.

How to watch HDR on Sky Q

(Image credit: Sky)

What do I need to watch HDR on Sky Q? 

You need three things to watch HDR content on Sky Q:

1. A HDR-capable Sky Q box (see below).

2. A TV that supports the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) HDR format (see below).

3. A Sky Q or Sky Q Ultra HD subscription.

If you have all three, you should be automatically set up to watch HDR on Sky Q, with no updates or setting adjustments required. Congratulations, you're ready to dive straight in!

How to watch HDR on Sky Q

(Image credit: Sky)

Is my Sky Q box HDR-capable?

The majority of Sky Q boxes now support HDR, but unfortunately for some users some older models do not. To determine whether your Sky Q box is compatible with HDR, you'll need to check it against the list below.

To find out the hardware version of your Sky Q box, press Home on your Sky Q remote, then select Settings followed by System info. 

Sky Q 2TB boxes:
32B1xx (yes)
32B205 (yes)
32B206 (yes)
32B0xx (no)

Sky Q 1TB UHD boxes:
32B203 (yes)
32B204 (yes)
32B205 (yes)
32B206 (yes)

Sky Q 1TB boxes:
32C0xx (no)
32C1xx (no)

Sky Q Mini boxes:
32D0xx (no)
32D1xx (no)

As you can see, while Sky Q 2TB boxes with '32B1xx' model numbers support HDR, '32B0xx' variants don't. It's the older Sky Q boxes that miss out. While all versions of Sky's 1TB UHD boxes support HDR, standard Sky Q 1TB and Sky Q Mini boxes do not.

How do I upgrade my Sky Q box?

Customers with incompatible Sky Q boxes can upgrade to a HDR-supporting version for £50 (based on self set-up; additional costs may apply for an engineer install). 

Sky customers can register for an upgrade here.

How to watch HDR on Sky Q

(Image credit: Sony)

Is my TV compatible with Sky Q HDR?

Most big-name brands support HLG - the HDR format specifically designed for broadcast TV - and have done so for the past few years. Not sure if your TV supports it? Check its manual or the TV manufacturer’s website:

Sony: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/support/articles/00163663
Samsung: samsung.com/uk/support/
LG: lg.com/uk/support
Panasonic: Panasonic.com/uk/support
Hisense: https://hisense.co.uk/support/
Philips: https://www.philips.co.uk/c-w/support-home/televisions.html
Toshiba: https://www.toshiba.co.uk/pages/uk/b2c-tv

In the market for a new 4K HDR TV? Here's our expert round-up of the best 4K HDR TVs on the planet, all of which support HLG.

MORE: The best 4K TV deals 2020: OLED, QLED, HDR