This one is a dead cert. Next month, BT will introduce BT Sport Ultra HD, which will screen games in 4K (aka UHD) resolution. Sky won't want to fall behind its rival, so will surely equip its next box with 4K. That resolution has four times as many pixels as high definition, so films, sports and even TV shows – if it follows Netflix and Amazon and starts producing some shows in the resolution – will look fantastic.
More visual user interface
According to a source speaking to the Telegraph, the next Sky box will have a more visual user interface than the current one, which is a bit text-heavy. Apparently Sky is going for an "Apple and Netflix-style experience", according to the industry insider. Which makes sense. Netflix recently rejigged its website to feel more like an app than a series of linked web pages. It ditched the carousel, letting you click to horizontally cycle through batches of titles. Hovering over a film or TV show also brings up a gallery of images. Apple TV is very visual too, with nice big pictures and that unbeatable Apple user-friendliness. In comparison, Sky's menu is a dull blue block with the only image being what's on TV in the top right. Time for a rethink.
More recording power
The new box will let you record and watch "at least" four programmes simultaneously, according to the Telegraph's source. Which should hopefully put an end to arguments about what to watch. Not only that, it will also let you watch and record using other devices, like laptops, smartphones and tablets. Sky already has the architecture set up with its Now TV and Sky Go services, so this seems like a logical next step. And anything that stops us arguing about what to watch has got to be a good thing.
Learns as you watch
Like services such as Google Now, Sky's new box will learn your preferences, and suggest other shows you might like. Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video already do this, so again, it makes sense.
A YouView-style experience?
The source also claimed the box will blur the lines between live broadcast, recorded content and on-demand offerings over the internet. Much like YouView, in fact. People don't care whether they're watching on-demand, on catch-up or live, as long as they see what they want when they want, so it makes no sense to fence off different ways of watching into different parts of the interface. Searching across all different services using one search bar would be a step in the right direction, for example, rather than having to fire up iPlayer to search for an iPlayer show. If Sky can find a way to bring it all together, it'll make things much easier for viewers.
Name and release date
The box has been developed under the name Project Ethan, and will reportedly be called SkyQ when it launches. The Telegraph's source claimed it would hit the shelves within weeks, but a source close to Sky denied that, saying it wouldn't launch any new products in the coming weeks. Our money is on a winter launch, just in time for the busy festive TV season. It would make our Christmas.
- Source : The Gadget Show