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Recently, you might have seen those swanky Sky adverts with The Avengers turning into liquid and sloshing from screen to screen. It’s a cool marketing campaign, I like it. But... what does it mean? What is “fluid viewing” and why should we care? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not exactly the most technologically advanced person in the world, so come with me on a riveting journey as I try to understand exactly what Sky Q has to offer that our existing packages don’t already.
Well, the reason that Sky has gone for the water metaphor here is pretty self-explanatory - because of the fluidity offered by its new Sky Q viewing system. The big selling point here is that you’re no longer confined to one room to watch TV, because you can stop and start from whatever point you left off at, on whatever device you might have handy. All you need for this seamless experience to work is another screen (either TV or tablet) and an internet connection. It also might help if you’re not too fussy about the size of the screen you watch on.
A welcome feature the Sky Q system offers is the ability to record more than two shows at once. Currently, Sky+ allows you to record two shows, and you have to be watching one of them, which almost completely defeats the purpose of recording in the first place. This new ability is definitely a winner in my eyes, as we’re constantly battling in my house over who’s recording needs to be cancelled (I tend to lose because apparently MTV reality shows are “trashy” and not worth the hard drive space? Okay, whatever...). This seems like a great feature to me and honestly, if you’re frequently trying to record more than three or four things at once then I’m seriously impressed at your dedication to television.
It’s not just TV either! Sky seems to understand the importance of the whole entertainment system, as Sky Q boasts the ability to store photos, music, and other media, so you can have all of your favourites available to you throughout the house at any time, accessible through an easy to navigate sidebar on the screen. Convenient, isn’t it? And, as a bonus, this is all done wirelessly, which is just fantastic news for people like me who get nervous and agitated at the sight of tangled wires. Oh, and if you’re using a tablet for your viewing, then lucky you! This means that, via the Sky Q app, you can also take your recorded and downloaded content with you wherever you go, even without an internet connection. There’s no need to steal WiFi from coffee shops in this case, and say goodbye to buffering! Now they really are mobile devices in a much broader sense than ‘I can watch TV in the bath’ (now THAT’S fluid viewing! Ha-ha... get it? Because... fluid? Bath? Water? No? I'll see myself out.)
In terms of equipment, Sky Q has two boxes on offer. Both act as WiFi hotspots, and the main differences between them are that the Silver Box offers twice as much storage space, the ability to record more shows at once and more multi-device streaming capabilities. The standard box has all of these features to a lesser extent, but has the benefit of a smaller price tag. The Sky Q Mini box is the device that allows you to watch your programmes and recordings on different devices. Each box comes with a new “touch remote”, which is a pretty standard remote really, but with a touchpad, Bluetooth capabilities, and a search button. It also has a ‘find my remote’ function, so if you press a button on your box the remote will start beeping. At first I laughed at this, but it’s actually so practical I’m beginning to wish that everything in life came with a ‘find’ function.
So, those are my initial thoughts on Sky Q and Fluid Viewing. It does seem like a really interesting concept and I think it has the potential to really catch on, once the price comes down a bit. It’s certainly another step toward ultra-convenient TV watching and total viewer control, which is definitely the route most viewing platforms are heading towards.
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