Sky Q viewers who were hoping to see HDR (High Dynamic Range) support roll-out to the award-winning set-top box will be disappointed. Despite first confirming plans to support the picture quality back in February 2018, it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to tune into HDR content via your Sky Q box anytime soon.
According to a message posted on the Sky Community forum by a Sky employee, the launch date for the feature will be late 2020 – at the absolute earliest. That’s almost two and a half years after Sky first touted the idea of bringing HDR to its movies and box sets. If the comment on the Sky Community forum, which was first spotted by the eagle-eyed team at Forbes, is accurate, it’s possible HDR won’t be available on every box nationwide until 2021 since Sky typically favoured a staggered roll-out with new features on this scale.
According to Community Manager Kei, Sky has “pushed [HDR] back whilst we work on other priorities.” That shouldn’t fill viewers with HDR10-compatible televisions that they will be able to take advantage of everything their set is capable of anytime soon.
Quite why HDR has dropped down the list of priorities is unclear, although it’s possible that a lack of user interest has pushed Sky to prioritise other features that have attracted more interest.
For those who don’t know, HDR (High Dynamic Range) can plunge to deeper blacks and flash much brighter whites than a standard picture. It is also designed to stop colours from becoming too washed-out in brighter scenes, or being lost in the gloom in darker parts of the frame. While 4K Ultra HD is all about the sharpness of the image – by packing in four times as many pixels as standard 1080p High Definition, HDR is all about boosting the colour performance across the image.
Current-generation consoles support HDR output, as well as a number of popular streaming services, including the likes of Netflix. Sky already has a huge library of Ultra HD content – from live sport fixtures to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. However, the lack of HDR content is starting to become a glaring omission. It also means that streaming Netflix through the satellite set-top box, which has been possible since an update in late 2018, won’t be the maximum possible quality – since it will lack HDR support.
So, if you’re looking to watch The Irishman as Martin Scorsese intended – you might want to switch over to the PlayStation 4 or Chromecast Ultra to load-up your Netflix.
Sky Q’s plans to bring HDR to its box was first announced by Sky alongside Spotify integration and more Ultra HD content around the start of 2018. While all of those features have now landed on set-top boxes nationwide… we’re still waiting on the HDR.
However, there are still plenty of features to look forward to coming this year. For example, Sky Q could finally ditch the satellite dish and work over the internet instead, meaning those who live in high-rise flats or rented accommodation without the provision for a dish on the outside wall will still be able to tune-in to Sky content. As it stands, those viewers will have to resort to the company’s contract-free video on-demand service, NOW TV.
Sky first announced the news that will allow its service to be beamed to homes without a dish back in 2017. At the time, Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said it would allow Sky to target up to six million households across Europe and two million in the UK who can’t or don’t want a satellite dish.
Unfortunately, since then, there’s been no new UK updates although Sky is slowly rolling out some customers in Italy and Austria. There’s still no official word on when British customers will get this option but speaking to Pocket-lint, a Sky spokesperson said: “There is scope for [Sky without a dish] to be rolled out across all key markets in future, although we don’t have any further information on details or timings at this time.”