Sky Q vs Sky Stream – which TV box to buy | The Sun

SKY is one of the leading providers of top-notch TV, with some of the best range of devices going – but which is best for you?

We've compared two of the most popular devices: our Sky Q vs Sky Stream head-to-head explainer will help you decide.

  • Sky Q and Stream deals – shop at Sky

TV has come a long way in the last decade, with providers constantly coming up with new ways for viewers to enjoy their favourite shows.

The largest and most popular of these providers in the UK is Sky, which has over 350 core channels, plenty of customisable extras and one of the best ranges of devices.

Its traditional device, the Sky Q, requires a satellite. Alternatively, you can ditch the dish for Sky Stream: a plug-in box connecting you to Sky's entertainment packages over wi-fi.



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In this article, we're taking an in-depth look at both products in order to help you choose which is suitable for you.

We take into account everything from price to installation to what content and channels you'll get access to.

You can get the verdict on the new plug-in device from our Senior Tech and Science Reporter Jamie Harris in his Sky Stream review.

We've even rounded up all the best Sky deals so you can see the telecom giant's current offers.

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And November always sees cheap and cheerful Sky Black Friday deals to pick up, with deals on TV, broadband, and mobile contracts.


You can get the next generation Sky Q box with Sky TV & Netflix for just £31p/m right now, getting you a traditional box set up and access to thousands of titles on Netflix.

  • Sky Q, Sky TV & Netflix, £31p/m for 18 months – buy from Sky


Those switching to Sky can enjoy Sky Stream with Sky TV & Netflix for just £19p/m, so its never been a better time to sign up to the streaming platform.

  • Sky Stream, Sky TV & Netflix, £19p/m for 18 months – buy from Sky

Sky Q vs Sky Stream: Differences at a glance

While Sky's offering of devices is impressive, choosing between set-top boxes, plug-ins, wi-fi or smart TVs can quickly get confusing.

The major difference between the two are:

  • Sky Q is a traditional device you'll likely be familiar with, using a set-top box alongside a satellite dish on the outside of your property.
  • Sky Stream is a plug-in device that works via your home's existing wi-fi connection, so no need for a dish.

There are also some minor differences in price and content, but it is largely due to what subscription you opt for, so read on to find out more.

Sky Q vs Sky Stream: Price

Sky Q and Sky Stream come at very similar price points and you can opt for a huge range of added extras to tailor your subscription to you, at extra cost.

Sky Q starts at £31 per month on a fixed 18-month contract, but you also need to factor in the setup fee for professional installation, which Sky says can be anywhere between £20 and £49.

The basic package includes Sky Entertainment and standard Netflix, which you can watch on one device at a time.

Sky Stream is close in price at £26 per month for an 18-month contract; again, it comes with Sky Entertainment and Netflix but no setup fee.

If you don't want to be tied into a contract you can opt for the 31-day rolling contract at £29 per month – perfect for those looking to watch one particular show and with the flexibility to cancel any time.

Stream also gives you the optional add-on of UHD and Dolby Atmos for an extra £6 on a 31-day rolling contract, while Sky Q offers a similar UHD and HD option for a pricier £13 on a 31-day rolling contract.

  • Sky Q: from £31 per month – buy from Sky
  • Sky Stream: from £26 per month – buy from Sky

Sky Q vs Sky Stream: Installation and setup

It will come as no surprise that of the two devices, Sky Stream is the clear winner when it comes to ease of installation and setup.

Sky Q is the brand's original offering that connects you to your TV channels via a satellite connection.

You'll need a professional to come and install the satellite dish outside your property though, and not all properties will have the requirements for one.

The answer to this is Sky Stream, which was released late last year and makes things a whole lot easier.

Stream uses a plug-in box that sits under your TV to connect you to Sky's channels over the internet, via Wi-Fi or an ethernet connection.

This makes Sky Stream much easier to set up and means it will work straight out of the box, whereas Sky Q will take longer and need a professional to get you up and running.

Sky Q vs Sky Stream: Can you record?

Sky Q and Sky Stream use different approaches when it comes to recording content, and which is better depends on your needs.

Sky Q uses 12 tuners to record multiple programmes on either a 1TB or 2TB storage drive, depending on which you choose. Which is great for anyone who wants to record live TV or numerous content at once.

On the other hand, Sky Stream has a 'Playlist' feature, which is essentially saving content to the cloud until you are ready to watch it.

You aren't actually able to record on Stream as it's essentially a streaming service, so content can't be downloaded.

This is one of the major disadvantages to Sky Stream, as content expires and not all content such as sports or live events can't be saved.

Sky Q vs Sky Stream: Content and channels

Both devices offer a similar amount of content as you'll get the basic Sky Entertainment package on both Q and Stream.

The basic package comes with 100 channels that aren't on Freeview, over 500 boxsets, 30,000 shows and the Netflix add-on (which of course is a huge amount of content in itself).

You will get more channels however if you opt for Sky Q, including standard definition channels and the HD equivalents, as well as BoxNation, FreeSports, Al Jazeera and international channels that you won't find on Stream.

But while Stream has fewer channels, they stream exclusively in HD, saving you the trouble of sifting through the same channels in SD and HD.

There are plenty of customisable add-ons with Sky, such as Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, or BT Sports, which makes it so popular with customers.

Sky Q vs Sky Stream: Which to choose

Overall, there's no clear winner between the Sky Q and Sky Stream: both are excellent devices from a company that dominates the UK TV-watching market.

Ultimately, the better product will come down to your needs and expectations. Here's a quick comparison of the two:

Choose the Sky Q if…

  • Can record multiple shows on one hard drive
  • You prefer to be on a fixed-term contract
  • Smoother streaming

Choose the Sky Stream if…

  • You want a simpler set-up
  • You want the option for a rolling contract
  • You don't rely on recording
  • Sky Q: from £31 per month – buy from Sky
  • Sky Stream: from £26 per month – buy from Sky

Our Tech Editor Sean Keach also looked at Sky's smart television, one that comes with built-in Sky TV: read his Sky Glass review to find out more.

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We've got more on Sky's all-in-one television covered in our can you record on Sky Glass? explainer.

If you're still shopping for a new way of watching telly, it's worth looking at Amazon's latest product, the Fire TV, a direct rival to the Sky Glass.

Discover more top deals and savings at your favourite tech retailers by heading to Sun Vouchers. Sun Vouchers is the one-stop shop where you can find hundreds of discount codes for top chains including Currys, Argos, AliExpress, and more.

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