Sky recently released the company’s latest technical solution for streaming, recording and multi- room viewing of their services. SkyQ is essentially Sky Multiroom with a whole host of new features and benefits. More details on the product itself can be found here http://www.sky.com/skyq/.
But what does this new product mean for the CI world?
The SkyQ Hub, the house router, enables the SkyQ system to create its own wireless network in the property to stream video, with each SkyQ box being designated a wi-fi hotspot. This approach will provide its own challenges for installers, I’m sure. However, they also have the ability to stream via Powerline AV1.1 and the units themselves will work out the best method to stream over. How this is integrated with other networked wireless devices remains unclear at this point.
SkyQ units are also equipped with a 10/100MBp/s Ethernet port but as yet it is not certain if this will be used for streaming between units. The SkyQ hub has two 1Gbp/s ports, two less than current Sky routers. We can safely assume that On Demand will continue to come in through this connector.
Interestingly, every SkyQ box still features two coax connections, meaning that the dish and associated co-ax cabling infrastructure is set to remain, for a while at least.
Each SkyQ box can record multiple programmes and stream to smart devices simultaneously. You’ll be able to pause a programme in one room and pick it up in another. Recordings are available everywhere. The remote control is Bluetooth and has a small touchpad. There are also noises being made about voice control in the future. That begs the question: will we be able to control the units over IP or will manufacturers provide a Bluetooth interface solution?
At the time of release, each SkyQ unit includes both HDMI in and out, but using HDMI1.4b standard. UHD will be available as a software update in the future. The new HDMI in enables another device to connect through the SkyQ box but as yet there is no information on whether control will be via the Sky remote.
So, all in all, the launch of SkyQ leaves plenty of questions still to be answered for it to be successful from a CI perspective.