Ultra high-definition is seen as the next wave of TV viewing, and comes around 10 years after Sky introduced high-definition broadcasts. The number of pixels in any one space is typically four times more than HD, meaning colours, light and small details are much more vivid. (For detailed information, please visit What is 4K.)
As to the detailed 4K content that would be available from Sky Q after August 13, the company's "Ultra HD" service will show 124 live Premier League games, all upcoming Formula 1 races and over 70 movies in the new format. As well as football and Formula 1, Sky said it would have the UK TV premiere of James Bond's Spectre in Ultra HD, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant and Matt Damon’s The Martian.
It will also show natural history shows, documentaries and dramas, including Sky's David Attenborough catalogue.
Instead of having separate Ultra HD channels, as Sky did when it launched high-definition broadcasts, viewers will be prompted to watch a show in Ultra HD with a message asking if they want to switch. Both live satellite broadcasts and on-demand downloads will be available in the format, although Ultra HD recordings will take up around 3.5 times as much space on viewers’ hard disks as HD ones.
In addition to the new TV format, Sky is introducing some smaller updates for all Sky Q users. These are auto download, which will make the Sky box automatically download the next episode in a series, auto play, which will prompt viewers to watch the next episode of a show at the end of a programme, and next episode series record, which will automatically record the next episode of a series being watched.
What is the charge policy?The launch of 4K broadcasts comes after Sky Q – the company's next generation TV service – launched in February. Sky is not charging extra for Ultra HD, although subscribers do have to have chosen the 4K-compatible Sky Q Silver set-top box when they set up the service – which costs £54 a month and upwards.
The launch comes before the start of the new Premier League season and the start of Sky’s new £4.2 billion deal to screen 126 live matches a year – 10 more than in previous years.
How to activate Sky Q Ultra HD?From the end of July, viewers with a 4K-compatible TV and a Sky Q Silver box will be able to activate Ultra HD.
To activate it, go to "Settings -> Set-up -> Audio Visual" and select the 2160p format.
Viewers will then be able to find Ultra HD downloads and broadcasts through special "Ultra HD" sections of the Sky Q menu, as well as being prompted when a programme is available in Ultra HD.