Sky delays HDR video update until late 2020

Sky Q HDR delay update
(Image credit: Sky)

Bad news for Sky TV customers waiting for HDR video: a Sky employee has confirmed the long-rumoured HDR update won't arrive until "late next year [2020] at the earliest".

The Sky Q service currently delivers 4K UHD video content but doesn't offer HDR support, unlike many rival TV services. An update to bring HDR video to Sky was first mooted back in February 2017, but that upgrade has never arrived.

Now, as spotted by Forbes, a Sky employee has taken to a long-running thread on the Sky Community website to break the bad news that it's not coming any time soon. 

The user, listed as Kei+M, a community manager and Sky employee, posted the update on 24th December: "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's unlikely that the UK will be seeing HDR until late next year at the earliest. We've pushed it back whilst we work on other priorities."

HDR video is currently available via the likes of Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, BT Sport, Netflix and Virgin TV, and indeed in some other Sky territories in Europe, which makes the UK HDR omission all the more galling.  

HDR is now seen by some video professionals as more important than 4K resolution when it comes to delivering the best possible picture, with the likes of Dolby and Samsung delivering 4K content in a variety of HDR formats, from HDR10+ to Dolby Vision.

So what are those "other priorities" that Sky is focusing on instead? Well, Sky has recently launched a new Sky Q box and a redesigned Sky Go app, while it's promising to ramp-up investment in its own programming through Sky Studios. Spotify and BBC iPlayer have also been added to Sky's EPG over the last 12 months. Is Sky going for quantity over quality when it comes to content?

Regardless, it's fair to say that Sky Q still leads the way when it comes to the ultimate at-home and on-the-go TV experience - 4K video, Dolby Atmos, Sky Sports, Sky Movies, and more. The content offering remains unrivalled. For now.

As the TV landscape continues to change at a rapid rate, it's only getting harder to keep customers happy – and it seems Sky either doesn't see HDR as crucial to paying punters' happiness, or just can't quite dot the i's and cross the t's when it comes to the getting the tech up and running. Either way, it's now official that HDR on Sky isn't happening any time soon.

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).