Sky Glass TV (65-inch) Review
- Decent colour performance thanks to QLED panel
- Decent soundbar and up-firing speakers
- Dolby Atmos
- Neat remote control
- Good choice of designs
The Not So Good
- Only one adjustable Picture Preset for SDR, HDR, Dolby Vision
- No gamma control
- Calibration controls don't work properly
- Auto Backlight Adjustment is buggy
- Poor black levels & shadow detail
- Poor panel uniformity
- Poor viewing angles
- Mediocre HDR/Dolby Vision performance
- Dirty Screen Effect
- Chunky design
- Clunky UI system
- Not good value for money
- No gaming features and very high input lag (132ms)
What Is Sky Glass?
Sky Glass is a new streaming TV from Sky, the UK satellite broadcaster, and is a new market for the company as it enters the streaming age. Gone are the satellite dish and the set-top Q box as everything is built into the TV, which Sky sells as a no-fuss solution.
On the initial reading of the specifications, it also sounds promising as it is available in three screen sizes (43-, 55- and 65-inches) with a VA QLED panel that uses a FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) backlight, has Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10 support along with Dolby Atmos decoding and a 3.1.2 built-in soundbar with three outward firing woofers, one central subwoofer and two upward-firing drivers all boasting a power output of 215 watts in total. Plus, there is no need for a dish or box as everything is built-in, meaning you technically don’t need to plug in another source to the TV (although you can add players or games consoles via the three HDMI 2.0 ports).
Everything works via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and as long as you can match or exceed the minimum requirements of 10Mbps for HD and 25Mbps for UHD, everything should work swimmingly as you stream all your content to the TV via SKY and a whole host of other app providers including Netflix, Disney+, Apple+ and more.
The other aspect of Sky Glass that will appeal to some consumers is the ease of purchase, especially if you want to take advantage of the 0% interest by adding your TV to a monthly package. The 43-inch TV costs £649 to buy outright and then there's the Sky Ultimate TV package (including Netflix) at £26 a month minimum. Or you can buy monthly from £26 for 24 months or £13 for 48 months. The TV comes with a two-year warranty. The 55-inch model costs £849 outright or £34 for 24 months and £17 over 48 months. Finally, the 65-inch model we are reviewing here costs £1049 to purchase outright with options for £42 a month over 24 months and £21 over 48 months. Again, you also have to add the £26 minimum for the Sky Ultimate TV package.
... everything is built into the TV, which Sky sells as a no-fuss solution
In terms of recording TV or film content, there is no storage included with the Glass TV. Instead, you have a + button on the remote which adds items to your playlist. The TV then collates all the series episodes available across various platforms accepted by the TV and then lists them for you to download and watch in series order. There is no recording, everything is streamed on-demand.
The UI is also familiar to Sky TV users, especially the Q box system, but is also different enough to cause some confusion on initial use. The layout is not entirely intuitive to master and given the fact that listings are not quite in the order you expect, coming from Q, it can create some frustration. You can, of course, use the voice commands to find what it is you’re looking for, but I'm not going to lie, I found the UI cumbersome and infuriating at times. It also wasn't just me being stupid or stubborn, my partner also found the experience frustrating at best. With this product being aimed at the wider non-techy population, I can see it causing quite a bit of trouble for users given the poor design and layout, in my opinion.
As a proposition to converge your audio and visual entertainment into one neat TV package, Glass is certainly an appealing one, and the costs do, at face value, look appealing for many different types of consumers. But what about the AVForums community? Does Glass offer enough in terms of picture and sound performance to work as an all-in-one package, or if you must have Sky, is it still better to go with a Q box subscription and a TV of your choice? Let’s find out.
Design, Connections and Control
Sky Glass has certainly been raiding the fridge during the lockdown as this is one bulky TV. In a current market of mega thin OLEDs and Mini/Micro LED LCD models, this is a chunky TV with a massive bezel area as well as a large rear stand and it weighs in (for the 65-inch) at 35Kg!
You do have some options when it comes to the colour of your TV with five different finishes available. You can choose from Ocean blue, Ceramic white, Racing green, Dusky pink, or Anthracite black, with matching remotes and customisable speaker fascias for extra personalisation. We were thankfully sent the 65-inch Anthracite black for review.
Sky Glass has certainly been raiding the fridge during the lockdown as this is one bulky TV
The design is industrial and solid with the soundbar taking up a large section of the bottom of the panel and the chunky case housing the drivers behind a fabric grille. The upward-firing speakers are at the top of the panel, hidden behind the metallic grille surface which also dissipates heat away from the TV. The stand provided with the Glass TV is also a hefty affair, but Sky does send two engineers out to install the TV, including building the stand or wall mounting the set for you. There is also some cable management through the bottom section of the stand, and the TV sits just above your TV rack or stand, so cables behind the set are hidden from the front. On delivery, the packaging can also be taken away by the engineers installing the TV. It is a convenient service that saves your own back.
The connections are placed around the back of the TV and in a recessed area. Here, we have three HDMI 2.0 inputs, there is no ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Mode) or VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and this is a 60Hz panel with no 4K/120 capability. The only HDMI 2.1 feature we have is eARC on HDMI 2. The other connections are an Ethernet port, USB-C and Aerial.
The remote control is a rubberised unit that is similar to the Sky Q design but in a more simplified version. The material used attracts fingerprints and greasy palm marks which can make it appear dirty quickly. The button layout is intuitive with a logical design and with the most important keys within easy thumb reach. The remote supplied with your Glass TV will match the colour you ordered.
Out of the box
As we do with all TV reviews, we factory reset and then we measured the out of the box presets to find the closest to the industry standards so we can view the content as it was mastered and intended to be seen. With the Glass TV, we found that putting the TV in Movie mode with white balance set to D65 was the best setting out of the box to get close to the industry standards. However, if you make any adjustments to the settings it doesn’t change the Movie mode, it instead made changes to the Custom mode. Another issue is that this is universal, so you can’t have separate settings for SDR, HDR or Gaming. You have to choose settings that cover all of your use cases. We also found that there are a number of missing controls, with the main issue being no option to adjust the gamma curve at all.
a major issue for those who want image accuracy
Looking at the greyscale, we can see that the Glass TV is average when it comes to accuracy towards the standards. There is too much blue in the mix and over 70% stimulus there is a darkening of the brightness and gamma which pushes the gamma curve darker than 3, when we are aiming for around 2.4 with a BT.1886 track. This is caused by the local dimming algorithm and while we could switch this off, the best possible dynamic range and image requires the local dimming to be active as measured here. This gives us a chance to see exactly what normal consumers will get to see with this TV. There is no gamma control so we are unable to get anything close to BT.1886. This is another misstep from Sky with Glass.
The Rec.709 colour gamut results do fair better with more accuracy at most saturation points within the graph. Because white is off towards blue, as we saw above with the greyscale, this has pushed some very small saturation and hue errors into most points, but it remains reasonably accurate with actual onscreen viewing content. Things could be much better here and Sky does need to fix the issues with per source and format settings as having just one set which is not fully capable of calibration and no gamma, is a major issue for those who want image accuracy.
... there are a number of missing controls, with the main issue being no option to adjust the gamma curve
As we have mentioned above, there are missing controls within the menus of the Glass TV as well as just one picture preset for all formats and sources. This seriously affects the ability to calibrate the Glass TV and get accurate results towards the standards. This is important if you want to be able to watch content as it was mastered and intended to be seen. It also adds issues to the image quality on offer for formats such as HDR.
With the controls we do have available to us within the menus we were able to get results a little better than the out of the box presets, but not a great deal. Gamma was the biggest issue and one that we were still unable to fix towards the BT.1886 standard due to a lack of direct controls. When we adjusted the white balance this did affect the gamma response somewhat and switching local dimming off allowed more control, but that defeats a major part of the image capabilities of this TV.
Rec.709 results were no better following calibration than the out of the box preset as any adjustments we did make, had little effect on the saturation points in any meaningful manner. The fact is that the Glass is not a TV for enthusiasts or those who want accurate image quality or a calibrated TV. You would be wasting your money having this TV calibrated as you can only have one set of image tweaks for all content. This is disappointing in this day and age.
As with the SDR picture settings, when it comes to HDR content on the Glass TV, the same settings are applied with no separate memory for HDR or Dolby Vision content.
But let’s cut to the chase here, this is a mid-level LCD TV and not a very good HDR set. It is obviously built to a price point and the peak brightness on offer is mediocre at best, which certainly fits with the rest of the TV’s performance.
We did our usual testing with HDR test patterns generated by our Murideo Seven Generator and also checked the HDMI signals. This is not an HDMI 2.1 set as the HDMI slots are HDMI 2.0 specifications as measured. So no ALLM or VRR support.
We ran our usual window size tests with the glass returning 540 nits across all window sizes which we would expect from an LCD TV. There is more to the story than just peak brightness when it comes to HDR images and indeed, the performance on offer is lacking when it comes to peak brightness with all content, even Dolby Vision which is designed to get the best out of HDR on such low spec TVs, like the Glass.
The PQ EOTF tracking to ST.2084 was also odd with no smooth track of the standard, instead, the tracking rolls off well before 100 nits and also has an odd dip around 300-350 nits in brightness detail. Again, this points to the local dimming and the mediocre video processing employed by the Glass TV. It certainly points to the price point vs. performance.
It’s all a little disappointing up to this point and then the Glass surprises with a wide gamut coverage that is really rather good and certainly points to the use of Quantum Dot technology. It is a little undersaturated to the DCI-P3 gamut, but as you can see in the graph above, the actual saturation tracking at lower brightness points is impressive. However, the colour gamut is a bright point in what is, overall, a dull and mediocre performance when it comes to HDR.
We measured BT.2020 at 72% XY and 61% UV with P3 coming in at 87% XY and 78% UV.
We are reviewing the 65-inch version of the Sky Glass, but the general performance should be the same for the other screen sizes.
Looking at the performance from an enthusiast's standpoint is probably missing the point of the Glass TV and its demographic, but we treat every TV the same that comes to AVForums review and that includes objective testing to the industry standards for picture quality. It is disappointing that the menu system is very basic and only offers one choice of setting for SDR, HDR and Dolby Vision with no options to save separate settings.
... the Glass surprises with a wide gamut coverage that is really rather good
We expect much better from manufacturers these days, and indeed most of the industry manages to offer separate picture modes for various content types such as HDR, as well as calibration settings that can be applied on a per-source basis. Another massive misstep from Sky is the lack of gamma control and the basic nature of the picture set-up.
Yes, a member of the general public doesn’t care about such things and perhaps we should cut Sky some slack here, but if other TV manufacturers offer what we are requesting on TVs offering better performance for less money, you can see why we are making a point of this.
There is no doubt that the idea of Glass is a good one, but it is immediately undermined, in my opinion, by offering such a poor TV as the platform. Looking at the spec sheet you could be forgiven for assuming that this is a high performance LED LCD TV with Quantum Dot technology, Dolby Vision HDR with Atmos sound along with what is billed as next level UI interaction and SKY TV without a dish.
The Glass TV uses a VA panel with a Full-Array Local Dimming backlight (FALD) although the actual number of zones used was difficult to count using traditional techniques. The panel uniformity was poor with clouding at most grey slide values along with bright edges and navy blue blacks at 5% stimulus. We also noted Dirty Screen Effect (DSE) was present with large areas of the same colour on screen, mixed with moving shots, such as football pitches or skies. This was always noticeable and at its worst in the central area of the screen on our review sample. Also, remember to switch off the Auto Backlight Adjustment setting as it affects the image brightness and restricts the set from displaying full peak brightness out of the box. When changing this setting you also need to reset the TV and apply the change by clicking the Backlight control down by one click and then back to the default depending on the content you are viewing.
The fact is that the Glass is not a TV for enthusiasts or those who want accurate image quality
Video processing was also poor with too much edge enhancement being applied out of the box, requiring sharpness to be turned down to 0 to take away the processing being applied. If you leave sharpness at the default setting then edges look fizzy with obvious ringing and a false sense of sharpness. Detail is also lost due to the false edges being applied through sharpening, so 0 is the best setting to remove these issues. Upscaling performance was adequate from the Glass TV with HD images looking the best when upscaled to the 4K resolution of the panel.
Motion was also decent for most content, especially 50Hz broadcast which didn’t highlight any major issues or judder and 24fps material was also reasonable on playback with no induced judder. Again, there are no menu controls to change the motion settings which are applied automatically by the video processing depending on the signal type.
Dynamic range and contrast were lacking on the Glass TV with weak looking blacks and clouding seen within most dark content. Off-Axis viewing was also poor, as we would expect from a VA panel, and unusually, blacks were also never convincing on this panel. Contrast measured at 4200:1 using an ANSI checkerboard pattern with black measuring 0.03 cd/m2. The colours were much more convincing and in the Movie picture preset, they did look fairly accurate with nice life-like skin tones and decent saturation of primary and other colours. SDR content worked best on the Glass TV, especially in a room with ambient lighting. HDR did however struggle to be convincing, with a lack of contrast and dynamic range removing any real pop from the highlight details and blacks appeared to be crushed in tricky mixed scenes. We also found the local dimming of the set made no difference to the performance with more of a global approach seen with mixed content.
... we found the smart credentials to also be adequate with a good choice of apps available
Overall, we found the Glass TV to be disappointing when it came to SDR and HDR picture quality with too many issues surrounding weak blacks, contrast and dynamic range. The colours did look nice, but a lack of picture modes, gamma controls and no way to calibrate the image depending on content type, hampered the image. Blacks were surprisingly weak for a VA panel and HDR is too dim with a tone map that doesn’t get the best out of HDR10 or HLG and Dolby Vision that was adequate at best, with no real dynamic range on offer. This is a mid-range budget TV and the performance matches that fact.
Even using high-quality sources such as UHD Blu-ray only continued to highlight the issues we have already covered with the picture performance, but at least the horrible compression Sky uses for its movie channels, wasn’t present in our physical media.
With the Sky User Interface, we found the smart credentials to also be adequate with a good choice of apps available. The TV UI seemed to rely heavily on third-party apps, even though it is a SKY device, with many of the recommendations within the menu systems highlighting content that was not being delivered by Sky channels. I found the ease of use with the Glass interface lacking and it wasn’t as intuitive as I would have liked.
... the Glass TV does pack some decent weight into the sound system with a well-specified soundbar and upward-firing speakers
Moving from Sky Q to Glass highlighted this issue for me personally, however, your mileage may vary. My other half also found the UI cumbersome and at times frustrating. The fact that you also have to reply on your internet speed and connection is also restrictive in that you never actually record and store items to view later. The Playlist feature sounds like it should work adequately well, but I did find that not all items selected would appear and in some cases, the programmes disappeared between choosing them and then going back a day or so later to watch.
When it comes to the sound quality side of the equation the Glass TV does pack some decent weight into the sound system with a well-specified soundbar and upward-firing speakers. This did the job for most occasional TV viewing and daily use, but with film soundtracks I still found it lacking in dynamics and envelopment. The Atmos speakers do work, but the sound is very front heavy (due to all the speakers being placed at the front of the TV) and the sound stage wasn’t the widest I have heard from such speaker bar systems. I also found the mid-tones to be missing with most content, especially streaming music through the TV. Our review sample also had a loose driver within the soundbar which sounded like a trapped wasp at times, but I’ll put that down to a hard used review sample and not the general build quality of the Glass TV.
Sky Glass TV (65-inch) Review
When it comes to reviewing TVs, we tend to avoid the lower price points at AVForums because at this level of the market all the TVs perform in such an identical manner that picking any one of them will give you a reasonable performance at that price point. None of these TVs in the £500 price bracket and below offer anything spectacular when it comes to HDR, they are all around 500 nits or below and some offer Quantum Dot technology and VA panels, others offer IPS panels, but they are all restricted in certain ways given the price point.
So why am I mentioning these budget models in the same breath as the Glass TV?
Well, that’s because after many weeks of testing, measuring and everyday use, I can only draw the conclusion that this is a £500 budget level TV with some added Smart TV capabilities via Sky, including its UI and access to some of its channels via IPTV rather than a dish.
The compromises in picture performance are too large for what is being sold as convenience and convergence.
Given the poor picture performance on offer and the fact that Sky Glass doesn’t offer anything that other providers don't already do, (Dolby Vision 4K streaming via apps), I can’t recommend Glass TV to avid AVForums members or readers. The compromises in picture performance are too large for what is being sold as convenience and convergence.
So overall, it's a nice idea of converging everything into a TV with one easy payment each month, interest-free credit to purchase your hardware and a good choice of third-party apps to offer a nice spread of content. But sadly it’s let down by a clunky interface, no recording or storage features and a very disappointing TV when it comes to picture performance. Sky Glass sadly lacks any magic in the picture quality stakes. A separate high-quality TV, soundbar and Sky Q box would be a vastly superior route to take if you still value decent picture quality and choice.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
The games console used in this review was kindly supplied by our gaming partner Smyths Toys Gaming, the No.1 choice for next-gen Gaming