Sky Q and Sky Glass have plenty of hidden tricks, here are the essential ones you need to master
As Elton John predicted, we’ve now stepped into Christmas. That means you’ll likely be spending the day gorging on roast spuds, sprouts, pigs in blankets, boxes of chocolates and breaking up the marathon of food with board games and loads of telly. If you’ve got Sky Q or Sky Glass at home, there are hundreds of on-demand boxsets, new blockbusters, sports and exclusive shows and films from streaming services all waiting for you this Christmas.
Whether Sky’s engineers setup your set-top box a few days or you’ve been watching for years, there are plenty of tricks and shortcuts packed into this clever kit – and chances are, you’re not familiar with all of them. To help you master the Sky Q box – and get you to the next episode of your favourite show or the classic Christmas movie on the schedule, Express.co.uk has put together a list of five essential tricks that every Sky Q owner needs to have in their pocket.
So, without further ado, here are our essential Sky Q and Sky Glass tricks and tips…
Sky Q and Sky Glass remote controls handle fast-forwarding very differently
1/ Skip The Adverts
There’s nothing like an advert for viagra, fast food, or replacement boilers to ruin the mood when you’re engrossed in a film with the family over Christmas. Of course, even newcomers to Sky Q and Sky Glass will know how to fast-forward through a recording. However, sometimes pressing-and-holding that fast-forward button isn’t quite fast enough.
Thankfully, there are a few speedier options for those who want to skip to a particular scene in a movie, or catch up on the final few moments of a film or episode.
If you’ve got Sky Q, there are two fast-forward speeds programmed into the remote. While pressing the ▶▶ button on your remote will start to zoom through your show, pressing the right arrow on the directional pad will actually jump forward faster in time. Two or three taps on this button should skip an entire advert break, for example. Unfortunately, Sky Glass arrives with a simplified new remote control, which always uses the directional pad to fast-forward or rewind.
Fortunately, the best option to skip the adverts is relying on voice controls, which are available on both Sky Q and Sky Glass. Pressing the microphone button on your remote, you can say “Go To 45 Minutes” or “Skip 30 Minutes” to immediately race to a certain point in the show. For those who owned a Sky+HD box in the past, this is the closest that Sky Q has to match the “Start From…” feature which let viewers type in an exact time to start playback of a recording. It also means that it takes a few seconds to skip an entire advert break (usually around the four minutes long on ITV and Channel 4, if you’re wondering).
Better yet, Sky Glass includes hands-free voice controls, so you won’t even need to bother digging around the cushions at the back of the sofa to find your remote control. Instead, you can use the wake phrase “Hello, Sky” to alert the all-in-one 4K TV that you’re about to issue a voice command. Then, ask to “Skip Forward Four Minutes” and you’ll be right back into the film or show.
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2/ Find New Shows To Watch
The dizzying number of streaming services – each launching new must-see films and boxsets every few weeks – can be a little overwhelming. If you find yourself longing for the days of three terrestrial channels, Sky can help cut through the noise. With support for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+, Sky Q and Sky Glass now boasts support for the most popular streaming services around. Signing into your existing account (Sky also lets you bundle a subscription to Disney+ or Netflix with your monthly Sky TV bill for ease) on your box will let you search through the catalogue of shows and films included with Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+ whenever you start a search with Sky.
First off, this means you’ll never accidentally pay to rent a film on Sky Store that’s included as part of your subscription plan. It also means you won’t have to keep jumping between different apps to compare movies or series before making a commitment.
But the really clever bit is that Sky keeps tabs of your viewing history and makes intelligent suggestions based on your tastes. You’ve probably already noticed the boxsets, movies and sporting fixtures that appear on the main menu whenever you turn-on Sky Q or Sky Glass. But until you sign-in to all of the streaming services available from Sky, these recommendations with only be from Sky’s own selection of shows, films, sports and channels.
If you follow this tip, you’ll soon see the most talked-about boxsets from Netflix and Academy Award-winning films available from Prime Video side-by-side with live shows coming up on Sky channels that evening all presented on the main menu when you switch on the television. Sky Glass refreshes these suggestions six times a day, so while there’s likely to be more family-friendly recommendations early in the morning, you’ll see the likes of Squid Game, Se7en, and the new Chucky series behind to trickle in as the watershed approaches. Not all of Sky’s intelligent recommendations will be winners, but it’s a great way to cut through the mind-boggling number of options out there.
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3/ Boost The Quality
Sky Q and Sky Glass are both brilliant options when it comes to watching the latest movies in the best quality available. Sky has been a vocal proponent of 4K Ultra HD picture quality for years and recently added HDR into the mix. Provided that you have an HDR-compatible telly, the latter brings more accuracy for scenes with tough lighting conditions. If you’re watching a gloomy horror movie or a vividly-lit Christmas wonderland, you’ll notice the upgrade.
And it’s not just the picture, Sky Q and Sky Glass also support Dolby Atmos surround sound. Dubbed Dolby Digital Plus in the Sky Q settings menu, this format is designed to create a cinematic experience in your living room – with rumbling bass and surround sound to truly immerse you. Unfortunately, it can be a little tough to work out exactly which titles support Dolby Atmos. Thankfully, you can ask your remote.
Holding down the microphone button on your remote control and saying “Show Me Dolby Atmos Content,” will load a separate menu filled with all of the latest shows and Hollywood blockbusters that support the immersive audio format for your surround sound system.
If you watch on Sky Q, you can find a lost remote by pressing on the Q logo at the front of the box
4/ Find A Lost Remote
If you’re struggling to find your Sky Q remote under the piles of discarded wrapping paper, there is a quick-and-easy way to locate it. Pressing the Q on the front of your Sky Q box will start a repetition beeping sound from a small speaker on the remote (a bit like a car alarm, but for your remote).
Sky included this feature to help you quickly find a remote lodged between two cushions down the back of the sofa …but it works equally when the remote is hidden by Christmas detritus. To stop the beeping, press any button on the remote to signal that you’ve found it.
Unfortunately, there’s no equivalent feature built into Sky Glass. So, if you misplace your brand-new remote, then you’re going to have to start taking apart the sofa, moving cushions, and looking under tables the old fashioned way. Thankfully, the hands-free voice control built into this clever 4K TV means you’ll always be able to control what’s happening on screen. Use the wake phrase “Hello, Sky” to kickstart the feature, then ask the telly to change channels, pause a recording, navigate to a streaming app, like Disney+, or turn off.
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5/ Avoid Expiry Dates
Sky has a pretty phenomenal on-demand library – even the entry-level Ultimate TV bundle arrives with 500 on-demand boxsets, including critically-acclaimed hits like Game of Thrones, The White Lotus, Mare Of Easttown, Chernobyl, The Wire, True Detective and The Sopranos. However, the box sets and movies that are available in its library aren’t available indefinitely. They have expiry dates, so you’ll need to make sure you watch before they disappear from the catalogue.
Fortunately, there is a clever workaround to avoid this issue. If you download any movie or box set to your Sky Q box, it will available for as long as you have your set-top box plugged in underneath your telly. So, while a particular film or show might’ve left the on-demand library… you’ll still be able to watch as many times as you like without any issues.
Just make sure you have enough space on your Sky Q hard drive to store dozens of episodes of TV shows or 4K movies.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work on Sky Glass in quite the same way. That’s because this all-in-one QLED TV doesn’t have a spinning hard drive tucked inside. Instead, Sky streams shows that you’ve added to your Playlist from the cloud, including catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. That means you’ll be at the mercy of these ever-shifting catalogues. If you’ve got Sky Glass, it’s best not to delay picking up a series you’re really interested in for months and months as there’s no guarantee that it’ll still be available to stream when you get around to it.