It’s been a long time coming but Sky has finally launched HDR on its Sky Q TV boxes. However, there are a few caveats and details you need to know about, so don’t get too excited until you’ve read this article.
HDR (high dynamic range) became available on Sky Q as of 27 May, but there are a series of digital hoops you need to jump through in order to enjoy the improved dynamic range and therefore picture quality.
As long as you have all the following, the upgrade to HDR is free.
How to get HDR on Sky Q
Let’s start with the tech details first as you will need a combination of things in order for HDR to work on your Sky Q system.
HDR compatible Sky Q box
The first major hurdle is having a Sky Q box that supports HDR, so you’ll need one of the following. You can check the model number in Settings > System Info > Hardware.
- 32B1xx – Sky Q 2TB
- 32B203 or 32B204 – Sky Q 1TB
- 32B205 or 32B206 – Sky Q 1TB/2TB
This means if you have one of the following boxes, it’s not compatible with HDR.
- 32B0xx – Sky Q 2TB
- 32C0xx – Sky Q 1TB
- 32C1xx – Sky Q 1TB
- 32D0xx or 32D1xx – Sky Q Mini
Other things you need
- A Sky Q Experience or Ultra HD subscription
- An HLG (hybrid log gamma) HDR compatible TV
Your box should be updated automatically to get HDR setup but if it’s not working then you can force an install by going to the ‘System Info’ page of the settings menu and clicking ‘Update’ next to ‘Software version’.
How to upgrade my Sky Q box?
Many customers on older boxes will be wondering how to upgrade to an HDR compatible Sky Q box. Sky’s HDR help page is here, but doesn’t say what customers can do to upgrade.
We reached out to Sky and received the following comment: “Regarding the upgrade, customers should speak to Sky customer services to discuss their current set up and the options for them.”
There’s now a new page – thanks for the tip Mike – where customers can pre-register interest for a new HDR compatible Sky Q box and says “we’re working hard to ensure you can upgrade to the latest box as soon as possible.”
Customers will have to pay a £50 fee for ‘self set-up’ but Sky warns that “additional costs may apply for an engineer install”. You will also, it seems, need to prove that you have an HLG enabled TV.
We’re still waiting for more details from Sky including what happens to your old box, including all the recordings stored on the hard drive. We assume that it has to go back (it’s only ever a rental situation) and you will lose anything that’s on it.
We will update further as soon as we get more information from Sky.
What can I watch in HDR on Sky Q?
For now, the amount of HDR content on Sky Q is very limited. There’s a new channel called Sky Nature, which has three shows available via video on demand:
- Gangs of Lemur Island – five 60 min episodes
- Pridelands: Wilderness reborn – one 60 min episode
- Malawi: Wildlife Rescue – five 60 min episodes
The firm said “Sky Nature has been selected to launch HDR, as it has a vast array of landscapes, settings and colours suited to HDR.”
Sky says that ‘much more’ will come throughout 2020 and 2021 for customers to watch. Apart from Sky Nature, this will include the following:
- Sky Originals
- Selected Blockbuster movies on Sky Cinema “in time for Christmas”
- 2021 Summer Olympics
What about HDR on Disney+ and Netflix? Sky says those, and other third party apps, will get HDR “in the coming months”.