Dan Howdle | December 13th, 2022
Sky, as its name implies, delivers most of its TV services by satellite dish and has done so since it launched in 1989. Though the majority of its competitors offer TV services by cable, Sky didn’t start offering broadband-based TV services until the launch of Sky Glass in 2021. The provider has now launched Sky Stream, expanding its range of TV services without a satellite dish, with a compact streaming device that packs a punch.
Where Sky Glass service requires an investment in a brand new TV, which might not appeal to every customer, Stream is Sky’s answer to plug-and-play devices like the Amazon Fire Stick, and Virgin Media’s identically named Stream service. The Sky Stream puck is lightweight, connects wirelessly to your home broadband and gives you access to the full Sky TV experience without the need for an engineer visit or dish installation.
|£23 per month
|Set up cost
|£20 upfront, £39.95 per additional Stream puck
|Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, BT Sports, Sky Kids
|Netflix (included), Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Peloton, etc.
|Stream puck resolution
|Up to 4K UHD, with £6 add-on
|Additional Stream puck cost
|18 months, 31 day rolling
Sky Stream, simply put, is Sky without a satellite dish. The service combines your Sky TV subscription, alongside apps like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video and catch-up services like iPlayer, all in one place. The Stream puck device is tiny compared to the Sky Q set-top box, making it easy and convenient to install in multiple rooms, and it can be connected to any TV with an HDMI port, making it a great alternative to Sky Glass.
With movies and shows available in 4K, and all the same add-ons available to Sky’s satellite customers, including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Sky Kids bundles, Stream is the perfect blend of package TV and subscription content. One step beyond services like Stream by Virgin Media and the Amazon Fire Stick, Sky Stream is perhaps the best broadband and TV solution on the market right now.
You might think that you would need Sky broadband to access Sky Stream. After all, Virgin Media’s comparable Stream service is only available to Virgin Media broadband customers. But this isn’t the case. The device will work on any broadband supply, though Sky does offer discounted bundles if you are in the market for a new broadband deal.
To experience Sky Stream’s services, you’ll need the Stream puck. This little black box looks a lot like competitor Virgin Media’s Stream box, which itself resembles the Roku TV and Apple TV boxes that came before. In short, the device is designed to not take up too much space on your TV unit.
You’ll also receive the dinky Sky Stream remote with the puck, which comes with built-in voice control to make finding your next episode a breeze. You can pair Sky’s remote with your TV, allowing you to control your TV’s volume and power, as well as your Sky Stream puck. Pairing is done during Stream’s step-by-step set up process.
One potential downside is that you can’t record TV with a Sky Stream puck. This feature is reserved for the Sky Q box, with its huge built-in hard drive. The Stream puck has no storage capacity, so you are limited in most cases to what’s available to watch on demand and catch-up. However, with the vast amount of catch-up and on demand content available at your fingertips on Sky TV, whether this is a downside or not is totally dependent on your viewing habits.
Currently, you can have up to six Stream pucks per household with the Sky Whole Home add-on. What takes Sky Stream to another level is that you can watch TV on all of these devices at once. Where Sky Q customers can only watch on two of the four Sky Q Mini boxes they can have at home, at once, the only limit you’ll face with Sky Stream is your broadband speed.
Sky recommends at least 15Mbps of bandwidth per Stream puck. Some content, especially 4K movies and shows, need even higher speeds than this to stream at a consistent quality. If you reckon you will have several Stream pucks in your home, it’s worth checking your current broadband supply can handle multiple streams before purchasing. If not, you may want to consider upgrading to a faster download speed.
Sky Whole Home costs an extra £12 per month, and any additional Stream pucks you buy will cost £50 upfront, plus a £39.95 set up fee. You might wonder why the puck has a set-up fee, since the device can be set up easily at home without an engineer. This is more accurately an administration or activation charge, which Sky charges to add the puck to your account.
Sky Stream pucks are compatible with Sky Glass too. If you start off with Sky Stream but eventually want to upgrade to a Glass TV in future, you can use your existing puck in another room with Sky Whole Home. You can have up to three Sky Glass TVs, in addition to your six Stream pucks limit, and watch them all at once.
If Sky Stream is the right fit for your next TV package, switching is simple. With next day delivery included and simple self-install, you can be streaming TV from Sky without a satellite dish in no time at all.
Signing up for Sky Stream is straightforward, and Sky is transparent about its additional charges. The core Sky TV bundle comes with over 100 channels, and you can add additional TV packs to boost your sports, cinema and kids content too. For £6, you can upgrade to 4K on applicable Sky channels, and the Ad Skipping boost lets you watch On Demand TV ad-free for £5 per month extra.
Netflix Basic is included too, and you can upgrade to Netflix Standard or Premium for a monthly surcharge. You’ll need this upgrade if you want to watch in HD or 4K, or to enjoy Netflix on multiple devices. If you already subscribe to Netflix, Sky makes it easy to link your existing account, so you don’t end up paying twice.
Once it’s delivered, setting up your Sky Stream puck is easy. Here’s a step-by-step:
The Stream puck uses the same interface as Sky Glass and the service is basically identical too. Once linked to your Sky TV account, you can add shows and movies to your custom Playlist to watch later, and can access your Playlist from any Stream puck or Glass device you have in your home. You can also manage your Sky account and see your bills from your TV in the My Sky section.
There are no user profiles on Sky Stream, so the whole family will share the same Playlist and watch history. If someone starts watching a show on one puck, and another user watches that same episode from the beginning later, the first user won’t be able to easily continue where they left off.
Netflix Basic comes bundled with Sky Stream, but that isn’t the only subscription service you can access from your Sky Stream puck.
Not only can you sign in to Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ on Sky Stream, but the puck also supports newer services like LIONSGATE+ and Peacock too. You can stream your favourite music with the dedicated Spotify app, and can even connect to services like Fiit and Peloton to stream your workout content to your TV too. That’s in addition to the usual freeview apps like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All4.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited by Sky Stream. Whether you want access to Sky’s entertainment and unparalleled sports content but aren’t interested in a satellite dish, need a multiroom TV solution without limits, or want a blended solution to access your subscriptions in one place, Sky Stream has it all. What are the alternatives, though, if you aren’t quite sure?
NOW is Sky’s subscription-based streaming service, closer to All4 than to Sky TV. With access to a number of live streaming channels, over 300 TV box sets and over 1000 movies depending on which passes you subscribe to, NOW is a good solution if you want to watch Sky’s current exclusives without taking out a whole TV package. You can install NOW as an app on most Apple and Android devices, including Smart TVs, or you can purchase a NOW Smart Stick that plugs straight into your television, with its own remote.
With the NOW Smart Stick, you can install all the usual apps, making the device a nice alternative for Sky Stream if you want something a bit more affordable and don’t need the full range of Sky Channels. The NOW Smart Stick is not a Freeview device, so the only live TV you will receive are the channels available to you through NOW TV, and via apps like iPlayer, ITV Hub, etc.
Virgin Media’s Stream service is mostly a perk for its existing broadband customers. The Stream by Virgin Media box is a broadband Freeview device, which blends live TV with content from any subscriptions you have in one bespoke interface. With just a one-off set-up fee, the Virgin Stream box is a desirable Freeview device as it doesn’t need an aerial connection.
In order to get Virgin Media Stream, you’ll need to have or take out a new Virgin Media broadband package. You can only receive one Virgin Stream box, and you are not eligible for the service if you already have Virgin Media TV, so this is not a multiroom solution or expansion to your existing Virgin TV bundle.
If a multiroom solution is what you are in the market for, one of the most affordable options is with BT TV and its Extra Box service. BT Broadband and TV customers can add one extra set-top box to their home for only £10 per month. This is far fewer devices than would be possible with Sky Stream, and you do need to be a BT Fibre Broadband customer to grab this deal, but the Extra Box service offers you the full BT TV experience in a second room.
Like Sky Stream, you cannot record on a BT Extra box, but you can pause and rewind up to two hours of TV.
Sky Stream starts at £23 per month, but you can expect to be paying closer to £40 if you select add-ons like Sky Cinema, Ad Skipping or upgrade the included Netflix subscription to Premium.
Yes, but this is a charged add-on. Upgrading to 4K picture and Dolby Atmos sound costs £6 per month on top of your base subscription cost, and only applies to Sky Entertainment, Sport and Cinema channels. This isn’t necessary for apps like Disney+ or BBC iPlayer, which will stream in 4K whether you have the add-on or not.
Each extra Stream puck you order costs you £50, plus a £39.95 set up fee. You’ll also need to pay £12 per month for Sky Whole Home, which will allow you to use extra Stream and Glass devices.
No. Sky Stream is the newest broadband-based service that offers Sky without a satellite dish. Even better, as the Sky Stream puck is so straightforward, you don’t need an engineer appointment either.
No. Unlike some of its competitors, you can subscribe to Sky Stream with any broadband supply. You just want to ensure your broadband bundle has fast enough speeds to handle your streaming TV, especially if you’ll be installing multiple Stream pucks and using them at the same time.
No. The Sky Stream puck doesn’t have any storage for recording programmes the same way Sky Q does. However, you can use the Playlist feature to mark shows you want to watch, and if they are available on catch-up or on demand after airing, you’ll find them ready to watch in your curated list. Some shows on your Playlist will be made available as a cloud recording on Sky’s servers, but this doesn’t happen with every channel, so we wouldn’t call this reliable recording.