This secret Sky Q feature will save you valuable minutes every day

This secret Sky Q feature will save you valuable minutes every day
(Image credit: Sky)

5:30am is too early to be doing anything, and my Sky Q box agrees. As I've found in recent weeks, it takes ages to start up at that time every day. And it's not just mine that refuses to be an early riser; all Sky Q boxes are set up the same way. It's more than a little annoying, but thankfully I've found a way to get it up and at 'em much quicker.

Normally, I wouldn't mind it being a late starter. I would even have some sympathy for the device. After all, I'm no early riser myself. But lately, our youngest son has been waking at around 5am, leaving me scrambling for the remote so that Bing can babysit while I consume the first of the day's many coffees. Not textbook parenting, I know. But you find that a lot becomes acceptable before 6am...

The first sign I'm in trouble? The Q's light is glowing red instead of the amber you see during more civilised hours. It's like it's saying "not today, buddy". I press power and wait. It beeps. It whirrs. A message appears telling me to give it a minute, then the screen goes blank. I wait some more. I wonder if my Sky Q box is recovering after a night on the tiles with my Fire TV Stick. I can only assume it's busy cursing me and splashing its face with cold water.

Meanwhile, the toddler grows impatient. He's wondering why I've brought him downstairs to stare at a blank screen. Just as I'm about to give up and start iPlayer on my phone, we have a breakthrough – the Sky Q home screen appears. The TV guide still won't work, but I don't care about that. I eventually find Bing in recordings and commence staring into space.

Sky Q Eco mode

This is as good a photo as I'm capable of taking at 5.30 in the morning. (Image credit: Future)

Why is this the case? Because it's in Eco mode. As this Sky Q page explains, Eco mode is the recommended (and default) setting for Sky Q boxes and puts it into low power mode between 2:30am and 5:45am (unless you're recording something between those hours, in which case it dutifully waits until the recording is finished). Hence the red light, the wait, the "not today, buddy".

There is a way around this: change your standby settings. To do so, press the Home button on your Sky remote, scroll down to Settings in the menu and select Setup. Click Preferences, followed by Standby mode, then select the setting you want. Active mode sets the Sky Q box to work as it does the rest of the time, meaning that it will only go into standby after a period of inactivity during which time it will show an amber light. When you want to kick it back into gear, it will start up in the usual comparatively quick time. Alternatively, you can select None, in which case the box won't even go into standby unless you press the remote's power button.

There's obviously a reason Sky has included an Eco mode: to save energy. Now, I am all for saving energy – it's a good thing for both the planet and my bank balance – and as soon as my son starts waking up at a more civilised hour, I'll be switching my Sky Q box straight back to Eco mode. But if you're in a similar situation to me and too could do with saving a few minutes in the (very early) morning, even if just for a few months, you now know how to.


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.