Sky Q to get HDR update, double 4K offering and Spotify

It has taken a little longer than the "weeks" it was supposed to, but today Sky Q has announced some very worthwhile upgrades to its user experience.

Beginning next month, Sky Q will become a smarter and more intuitive service.

Among the developments are a new, wide-screen user interface intended to make it easier to navigate between personalised ('Most Recent Recordings', 'Favourite Channels') and curated ('Box Sets', 'Movies', 'Catch-Up TV') sections of content.

Voice functionality will be extended, so vocalising instructions like "show movies for me" or questions like "how's the weather today?" will result in personalised answers.

Some 4K content will be available in HDR - arguably as big an improvement to the viewing experience as 4K itself. And the amount of 4K programming is set to double.

The Sky Q app will be available on third-party devices (including smart TVs), while the sports section of Sky Q will integrate with the Sky Sports app - so you can always keep abreast of the latest relevant sports news.

Customers with multiple devices will be able to stream Sky content on the Sky Q app to more devices at the same time.

And in Spring, Spotify will launch on Sky Q in the UK and Ireland - owners of both Sky Q and Sky's Soundbox soundbar will, according to the company, be able to enjoy "a simple set-up for a high quality home music solution".

Meanwhile, Comcast (owner of NBCUniversal and, by revenue, the largest broadcasting and cable TV company in the world) has made a £22.1bn bid for Sky. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has already agreed an £18.5bn deal to buy the 61% of Sky it doesn't already own.

Murdoch's bid for the remaining portion of Sky has not gone smoothly with the Competition and Markets Authority, and the waters have been further muddied by Disney's agreement to buy the bulk of 21st Century Fox (including its 39% stake in Sky).

Comcast has indicated it is prepared to co-own Sky with either Fox or Disney, so long as it holds the majority stake.

Sky's shares were up over 18% this morning as the news of Comcast's bid broke.


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Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.