Or how the launch of the Sky Q made me reconsider my options and eventually cancel the near £1100 per year fees for a satellite service I don’t really need in exchange for the rather awesome Amazon Fire TV 4K.
Look everybody, Sky Q is here!
Doesn’t it look fantastic? I’ve been very excited about this launch for some time now and honestly thought I’d probably be one of the first people to sign up to it.
If you’re looking for beta testers for #SkyQ, give us a shout! 🙂
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) July 27, 2015
Thing is, when it all came out in the open and all the features, specs, and (crucially) pricing details were released, I realised that perhaps Sky Q wasn’t for me.
What’s more, there was such a negative halo effect from this decision that it made me reconsider my subscription to Sky TV as a whole.
I’ve had a 4K TV for just over two years now and, being one of the first off the shelf, some of the apps have never, and will never, be updated to deliver the 4K content that it desires. It was entirely out of reach, I just needed a new set-top box to make it happen (eg: if I really wanted to enjoy Netflix in 4K, I’d have to drop another £350 on this stupid piece of kit and I didn’t really want to do that).
When I heard about Sky Q I thought: ‘Ah ha! This is just the ticket!’ – and so I waited, and waited… and waited.
In the interim a few things happened: I looked at the Nvidia Shield TV – a perfectly reasonable solution. You pay for the set top box, get all the 4K goodness thrown in, and hey – it doubles up as a gaming rig too. All for $200USD (about £140).
I asked my friend Matt what he thought about the Shield (sidenote: this 4K conversation has been going on for the best part of 24mths – the man has the patience of a saint) and he said ‘Sounds great but why not get an Amazon Fire TV? It’s pretty much the same but half the price’ – I checked, and Matt was right.
Well, not exactly half-price but at £79.99, it was a lot more palatable than £140. Which was nice.
‘But I really like having Sky Movies!’ – I said to myself.
And so I did nothing.
A few months later, Amazon had a special offer on: for one month only, you could buy Amazon Prime (free next day delivery + Amazon Prime video) for just £59 for the whole year. If you shop regularly at Amazon enough then saving on the delivery costs is worth that alone.
You’ll have to do the sums yourself though.
If Amazon made it easy for me to see how much I’d spent on delivery costs throughout 2015, I’d probably sign up to PRIME in a heartbeart.
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) November 15, 2015
I did said sums and for the delivery savings alone, I subscribed.
It was around this time that Sky announced the full Sky Q feature set. Key point: 4K (aka UHD) content isn’t scheduled to appear until later in 2016 (damn) and the main focus of the whole thing is/was on multi-screen viewing (not interested).
Oh, and the price? £299 up front for the set top box and then an extra £50-odd a month.
It was at this point Amazon went and knocked the price of the Fire TV 4K down to £65.
You can guess what happened next:
Finally made the jump and bought an Amazon Fire TV 4K.
So far so good…
At this rate, I think I might actually cancel Sky.
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) February 17, 2016
And five days later, I gave Sky the 31 days notice it needs to cancel a TV subscription.
And all because of Sky Q.
- My monthly package with Sky (movies, HD, 3D, family/variety packs – no sports) came to £90.65 a month. That’s £1087.80 per year. Ouch.
- Amazon Prime was £59 for the first year (normal price £79), works out at £4.91 per month (normal price £6.58).
- I’m not giving up Sky completely. I’m a Sky Fibre customer and as part of the cancellation process they sweetened the deal and I’ve now got monthly unlimited Internet for just over £20pcm.
- Also, it turns out that if you cancel Sky TV, your box will still work as a Freeview box pulling in the standard free-to-air stuff you might find on other branded TV boxes – which is handy.
- In total, I’ve dropped from paying £1087.80 per year to just over £300 per year (even with the initial outlay of the Fire TV box – that’s still a HUGE saving).
Thanks Sky Q!