Sky Q is packed with useful features – it combines dozens of live channels, on-demand series and movies, as well as streaming libraries from Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+. With the most recent update, it also packs exclusive shows and films from US streaming service Peacock at no extra cost. The Netflix rival is behind the recent revival of Saved By The Bell and Tina Fey-helmed comedy series, Girls5Eva. If you’ve owned a Sky Q for a little while, chances are, you’re already familiar with some of its most talked-about tricks, like pressing the Q symbol on the set-top box to play a sound from the remote – helping you instantly locate it whenever it’s lost down the back of the sofa. But turns out there are some useful new additions to Sky Q.
And it’s not just holidays, either. Sky also created custom homepages that aggregate content from across live channels and on-demand services for large-scale sporting events too, like the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games earlier this year. While the BBC had a number of highlights, the broadcaster didn’t secure the rights to air every discipline and event – with discovery+ becoming the only place to stream every medal.
Since Sky Q viewers can secure a one-year subscription to discovery+ for free, the Olympic Games homepage became an invaluable way to move seamlessly between live broadcasts from the streaming services and retrospectives and summaries of the days’ events on BBC, for example.
And now, Sky is sharing a number of new tricks that its customers might not be aware of. Posted on social media site Twitter with the social hashtag #QHacks, the satellite firm has highlighted functionality that we’d never heard about before.
First up, did you know that Sky Q can tell you the latest forecast? Sure, you can tune in to any of a number of 24-hour news channels and wait for the latest weather report, but like an Amazon Echo or Google Nest smart speaker, you can also ask Sky to tell you what’s going on outside. If you’re having a lazy day bingeing through that boxset that everyone has been telling you about… this could be an incredibly useful feature.
Holding down the microphone button on the Sky Q Voice Remote, you’ll need to ask “what’s the weather?” to trigger the feature. Cleverly, this works when you’re in the middle of watching a show and won’t interrupt what’s happening on screen. Instead, your content will shrink a little to make way for a small panel on the right-hand side of the screen that loads a four-day forecast with temperature and weather conditions. There are also shortcuts to tweak your location and additional settings too. If you can’t wait for the next weather report, this is a non-intrusive way to quickly get the information you need.
While you probably already knew that you can use the Sky Q Voice Remote to search for specific series, films, actors and directors, you might not realise that by saying “New Series” you’ll be able to load up a list of all of the new arrivals on Sky Q. As the nights draw in, more and more blockbuster series hit our screens, so it can be tough to stay across all of the new arrivals and returning shows. This simple shortcut means you’ll be able to see all of the freshest shows across all of the channels included in your Sky bundle. As always, you can add them to your recordings or, if they’re available on-demand, start watching straight away.
Sky Glass, the latest hardware launched by Sky, builds on the voice control functionality included with Sky Q by making it hands-free for the first time. If you’re one of the first to take delivery of Sky Glass, you’ll be able to use all of the same commands as above, but you’ll need to preface your command with “Hey Sky” to wake up the far-field microphone array and ensure the telly is listening to your instructions.