Your opinion please - Sky Q vs 4K Fire Stick

DJTipster

Active Member
Morning all, just after some opinions if possible really / your thoughts on this .... (mods, unsure if this is the right forum to post in so please move where appropriate)

We have been a long time subscriber of Sky TV - coming up to 15 years I think.

At the moment we have Sky Q multiscreen in 2 other rooms as well as main room, full Sky package to include Cinema, Sky Sports, UHD, Kids etc, Netflix via Sky, and Disney+ via Sky as well. We get our broadband through Sky and landline as well, but this is mainly for the internet connection.

Our bills are going through the roof with Sky now and i thought surely there must be a cheaper way of doing all of this. Whilst we pay Netflix and Disney+ through Sky ... well they just "manage" it for us as far as I can tell... if we were to move from Sky we would still have those paid apps anyway through the respective suppliers.

We mainly seem to only watch Disney+ and Netflix anyway now - football as well but only when my team is on Sky - so I have come across the 4K Fire stick... what am I losing / is it a good idea to completely cancel Sky and go and get a fire stick? Or is there any better alternatives out there that I dont know about? Sorry, very new to this really

Thank you
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
@DJTipster
A Firestick will give you everything the Q box can and do most of it better given you hardly use any of Skys own channels. You will lose multiroom though, so you need either smart TVs or additional Firesticks to cover that.
A Now sports pass will get you the football. Look out for offers to avoid list prices.

The Firestick is a decent device. The obvious alternative is an Apple TV. A lot more expensive, but I prefer it to the Firestick. Either one is a good choice.

I’ll let you do the sums, but I suspect you’ll save a small fortune after the initial outlay.
 

DJTipster

Active Member
Thank you for the reply. You mention Smart TV's... so this now begs this question...

We have 3 x Samsung Smart TV's around the house (1 x lounge, 1 x Kitchen/Diner, 1 x Master Bedroom).

As a test the other day I loaded up Netflix to the Smart TV in the bedroom and watched something. The issue for me was that the colours all felt a bit dull and didnt "pop" like they do when we watch Netflix through the multiroom Sky Q box on the same TV. So that got me thinking, do you have to have a dedicated "player/device" to get a better picture/maybe sound quality etc as it was certainly better playback once switched back to the SkyQ box. Will the fire stick have that better "processing power" for play back over streaming directly through the Smart TV?

Also to add ... i did the same thing with Disney+ too. Again, colours were dull/a bit washed out when streaming directly through Smart TV, but the other issue I found with Disney+ is that it was buffering CONSTANTLY. I tried to watch Marvel Avenger's Age of Ultron and every 5 minutes it was stopping to buffer. Now, switching back to view on same TV but through the Sky Q box and I never had a problem at all ! My worry is doing all of this and getting buffering issues / washed out displays etc when we eventually move away from the dedicated Sky Q boxes you see
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
Thank you for the reply. You mention Smart TV's... so this now begs this question...

We have 3 x Samsung Smart TV's around the house (1 x lounge, 1 x Kitchen/Diner, 1 x Master Bedroom).

As a test the other day I loaded up Netflix to the Smart TV in the bedroom and watched something. The issue for me was that the colours all felt a bit dull and didnt "pop" like they do when we watch Netflix through the multiroom Sky Q box on the same TV. So that got me thinking, do you have to have a dedicated "player/device" to get a better picture/maybe sound quality etc as it was certainly better playback once switched back to the SkyQ box. Will the fire stick have that better "processing power" for play back over streaming directly through the Smart TV?

Also to add ... i did the same thing with Disney+ too. Again, colours were dull/a bit washed out when streaming directly through Smart TV, but the other issue I found with Disney+ is that it was buffering CONSTANTLY. I tried to watch Marvel Avenger's Age of Ultron and every 5 minutes it was stopping to buffer. Now, switching back to view on same TV but through the Sky Q box and I never had a problem at all ! My worry is doing all of this and getting buffering issues / washed out displays etc when we eventually move away from the dedicated Sky Q boxes you see
A Firestick won’t magically cure anything. Arguably if you have smart TVs you don’t need Firesticks at all and definitely not to prove that your idea is going to be workable.
The picture quality should be identical. It sounds like you haven’t set them up properly. Look at the picture settings you have for Sky Q and copy them to the internal Netflix etc. apps. There is no logical reason for them to be any different with the same settings.
Buffering indicates a problem with your internet speed or Wi-Fi connection. To be safe you need 30mbps or more to each active TV to stream reliably.
If its just Disney that’s buffering, try deleting the app and reinstalling. That might kick it into life.
 

DJTipster

Active Member
Just done a speed test on speedtest.net and we are getting 20.92mbps d/l and 9.03mbps upload.

Even though we are on Sky fibre broadband those speeds are shocking.

I have just completed an additional speed test through the My Sky phone app and that shows my internet speeds are 32mbps d/l.

So which one am i supposed to trust??? Speedtest.net or Sky app speed? 🤷‍♂️

Just fired up to test again and I wonder if the Disney+ problems were this.... so Disney+ streaming directly from TV streams in 4k automatically. With the SkyQ multiroom box it cannot stream 4k and so reverts to a stream of Full HD. I wonder if the bandwidth power you mention i need above needed to stream 4k just wasnt enough and thats why it is buffering all the time?.

Netflix didnt "buffer" as such when I tested it all again just now but again it was streaming in 4K direct from TV, but when through SkyQ box it reverts back to Full HD and works fine. With Netflix streaming direct through TV you do get a sharp picture but then every now and again it will lose the sharpness, go a little "pixely" for a minute and then regain sharpness again... again, once streaming in Full HD through SkyQ box all is well and good.

Is there a way on both Disney+ and Netflix that you can choose to stream in Full HD rather than 4k do you know?
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
Just done a speed test on speedtest.net and we are getting 20.92mbps d/l and 9.03mbps upload.

Even though we are on Sky fibre broadband those speeds are shocking.

I have just completed an additional speed test through the My Sky phone app and that shows my internet speeds are 32mbps d/l.

So which one am i supposed to trust??? Speedtest.net or Sky app speed? 🤷‍♂️

Just fired up to test again and I wonder if the Disney+ problems were this.... so Disney+ streaming directly from TV streams in 4k automatically. With the SkyQ multiroom box it cannot stream 4k and so reverts to a stream of Full HD. I wonder if the bandwidth power you mention i need above needed to stream 4k just wasnt enough and thats why it is buffering all the time?.

Netflix didnt "buffer" as such when I tested it all again just now but again it was streaming in 4K direct from TV, but when through SkyQ box it reverts back to Full HD and works fine. With Netflix streaming direct through TV you do get a sharp picture but then every now and again it will lose the sharpness, go a little "pixely" for a minute and then regain sharpness again... again, once streaming in Full HD through SkyQ box all is well and good.

Is there a way on both Disney+ and Netflix that you can choose to stream in Full HD rather than 4k do you know?
Thats not good. Believe the lowest speed. 20mbps is barely good enough. If any other devices are accessing the internet, like you looking at this thread for example, it’s probably enough to buffer or pixelate Netflix etc. You can restrict the speed, and quality, in both apps I think, but honestly going completely online for TV is going to bring you a world of frustration.
I suggest you abandon plans to dump Sky for now and investigate better broadband options.
Perhaps take a look at the Sky deals thread for a wealth of experience in getting a decent price for your Sky package. I halved my price for the full TV package as one example. Link below.
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
Just remembered that there is an HD only Firestick, which in theory at least should be better than messing around with settings in the TVs apps.
Amazon product
 

DJTipster

Active Member
I have tried all the other speed tests websites and i am only getting around the 20mbps d/l speed. Why Sky are saying I am getting 30mbps i don't know.... well I do... its because they say my minimum guaranteed speed is 30 and so they don't want to be in breach of contract do they !

I have looked at other broadband provider sites and they are all saying the same thing... that we are going to get a minimum guaranteed speed of 20mbps....

Looks like until broadband can be upgraded in my area and virgin comes along then the best we can stream is only going to be Full HD.

Sky Q streams in Full HD and we have never had an issue with it. I am working today from home, as is my wife, and our 3 year old is watching Bluey on Disney+ at the moment through Sky Q and all is good.

I just dont know what the best for me to do is now... i'm just really fed up of Sky Q and paying a lot when we hardly watch Sky channels anymore
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
I was expecting it to be your connection affecting all ISPs to be honest.
Try this.
Disney plus, open app and go to settings, change data usage to moderate i.e HD only. Not sure, but you might need to do that on every device.
I can’t see an option to do that on Netflix. I’m sure there used to be, but maybe you need to change your subscription to HD to do it which I guess has to be done through Sky.
Anyhow, try it with Disney. Give it a good work out particularly at peak times like 7 till 10pm. If Disney works properly, so will Netflix on an HD plan once Sky is out of the picture.
 

DJTipster

Active Member
Thanks for this mate, so just changed Disney+ to moderate as advised.

I was a little inpatient to try it and just watched 30 mins of the same Marvel film that was buffering so badly before and its worked an absolute treat so far. No buffering at all and 3 year old was still downstairs watching Bluey ! Going out on some unpopular opinions here but after watching 30 mins in full HD I am really happy with the quality of the picture/stream I got. So I think I am going to be more than happy with just a full HD resolution until we can start upgrading our broadband when available in the area.

Will keep doing this and stream tonight at the suggested times as well ...

So, if thats the connection / stream quality sorted out.... now what do I do? Cancel Sky and move to the Fire Stick HD version/stream direct from Smart TV ? or is there anything else out there ? Such as Now TV maybe? Do they do a Now TV box device or something? Not sure what the best route is from here now. As still want to reduce my Sky bills significantly
 

jdevil

Distinguished Member
How much are you paying for Sky?

Cancel and let the retention team call you back. When I was with Sky I always had a 50% off discount for nearly 8 years as I kept threatening to leave after each discount ended every 12 month.

I used to pay around £55 for Sky HD, Boxsets/Sports/Movie pack, Broadband and anytime phone.
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
Thanks for this mate, so just changed Disney+ to moderate as advised.

I was a little inpatient to try it and just watched 30 mins of the same Marvel film that was buffering so badly before and its worked an absolute treat so far. No buffering at all and 3 year old was still downstairs watching Bluey ! Going out on some unpopular opinions here but after watching 30 mins in full HD I am really happy with the quality of the picture/stream I got. So I think I am going to be more than happy with just a full HD resolution until we can start upgrading our broadband when available in the area.

Will keep doing this and stream tonight at the suggested times as well ...

So, if thats the connection / stream quality sorted out.... now what do I do? Cancel Sky and move to the Fire Stick HD version/stream direct from Smart TV ? or is there anything else out there ? Such as Now TV maybe? Do they do a Now TV box device or something? Not sure what the best route is from here now. As still want to reduce my Sky bills significantly
Good news. Pleased that seems to have worked.
Assuming it continues to work, and assuming you‘re out of contract with Sky, I would cancel completely and stream from the smart TV.
Firesticks are an option you can take up any time if you want to, which will probably be because an app you want isn’t available on your tv.
Now TV is just another app. They discontinued their own devices. Check to see if it’s available on your TV. Their website says it’s on 2015 and later Samsungs.
It sounds to me that sports are all you would be wanting which at list price is £33.99 a month last time I looked plus £5 for boost to watch at 1080p and 50fps, so it’s not cheap. Look for discounts.
 
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DJTipster

Active Member
How much are you paying for Sky?

Cancel and let the retention team call you back. When I was with Sky I always had a 50% off discount for nearly 8 years as I kept threatening to leave after each discount ended every 12 month.

I used to pay around £55 for Sky HD, Boxsets/Sports/Movie pack, Broadband and anytime phone.

Currently we are paying @ £104 ish per month "with the discounts" and when I spoke to Sky earlier this week (prompting these conversations) our bills are going up to @ £143 per month once the discounts end and we are out of contract which will be in the next couple of months. So just trying to get all my eggs lined up before we do anything...

We signed up nearly 2 years ago to @ £88 per month for everything and every so often they keep putting the prices up mid-contract and we find ourselves in this position now...

Good news. Pleased that seems to have worked.
Assuming it continues to work, and assuming you‘re out of contract with Sky, I would cancel completely and stream from the smart TV.
Firesticks are an option you can take up any time if you want to, which will probably be because an app you want isn’t available on your tv.
Now TV is just another app. They discontinued their own devices. Check to see if it’s available on your TV. Their website says it’s on 2015 and later Samsungs.
It sounds to me that sports are all you would be wanting which at list price is £33.99 a month last time I looked plus £5 for boost to watch at 1080p and 50fps, so it’s not cheap. Look for discounts.

Yeah sports is what we would want as the extra. We love watching movies as well, but watch more and more movies now again on Netflix and Disney+ as there hasnt been anything of significance come out on Sky Cinema really due to the pandemic (which is understandable). We just watch less and less Sky channels really
 

Andrew1472

Distinguished Member
Currently we are paying @ £104 ish per month "with the discounts" and when I spoke to Sky earlier this week (prompting these conversations) our bills are going up to @ £143 per month once the discounts end and we are out of contract which will be in the next couple of months. So just trying to get all my eggs lined up before we do anything...

We signed up nearly 2 years ago to @ £88 per month for everything and every so often they keep putting the prices up mid-contract and we find ourselves in this position now...



Yeah sports is what we would want as the extra. We love watching movies as well, but watch more and more movies now again on Netflix and Disney+ as there hasnt been anything of significance come out on Sky Cinema really due to the pandemic (which is understandable). We just watch less and less Sky channels really
£143!! Ouch. Definitely put in your notice to cancel. It’s the only way to get a good deal from them anyway, so its an almost compulsory step whether you intend to leave or not.

I agree completely with what you’re saying. If it wasn’t for football and F1 I would have no reason at all to stay with Sky. The international break has highlighted that even more over the last two weeks. I’ve really struggled to find something to watch from Sky. Succession has been pretty much the only thing! Hopefully new series and decent movies will start appearing as the pandemic eases, but at the moment it’s dire at best.
 

jdevil

Distinguished Member
Currently we are paying @ £104 ish per month "with the discounts" and when I spoke to Sky earlier this week (prompting these conversations) our bills are going up to @ £143 per month once the discounts end and we are out of contract which will be in the next couple of months. So just trying to get all my eggs lined up before we do anything...

We signed up nearly 2 years ago to @ £88 per month for everything and every so often they keep putting the prices up mid-contract and we find ourselves in this position now...



Yeah sports is what we would want as the extra. We love watching movies as well, but watch more and more movies now again on Netflix and Disney+ as there hasnt been anything of significance come out on Sky Cinema really due to the pandemic (which is understandable). We just watch less and less Sky channels really

I would cancel if I was you, I found a cheaper option for you below and if you follow through cashback websites you could probably make around £50-100 back too.

NowTV 60mb Fibre broadband with anytime phone package - £21 per month
NowTV Sports/Cinema/Entertainment package alongside the Broadband - £29.99 per month
Prime Video - £79 per year
Disney+ - £79 per year
Netflix - £120 per year

All the above is £73 per month, that's a staggering amount of monthly content. You can knock a further £10 off if you don't want the Cinema and Entertainment package from Now TV making it £63 per month total. That's easily a £200/£300 saving.
 

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DJTipster

Active Member
That's put the cat amongst the pigeons then. Yes it is lots of content there. Didn't even think about Prime. Thank you for doing that for me. Appreciate the time you have put there to look at options for me mate.

I looked at the Now broadband option this morning and our min speed with that will be 31mbps.

Very interesting and seem to have a lot more options doing it my own way than via Sky currently. Also I like the idea that there is no contract either for any of it and cancel at anytime. Hate how Sky tie you in to 18 month / multi year contracts and just put the price up mid-term anyway !
 

Beagle64

Active Member
We had terrible problems with Sky Superfast with speeds dropping to under 5mbps. They sent out an engineer who disabled ipv6 in the router. Within 10 minutes speeds were 40mbps+ and have been stable since, streaming 4k Netflix with ease. In a month I’ve restarted the broadband once after it completely dropped its connection but that’s happened with other isps in the past. Apparently Sky are having ongoing issues with implementing ipv6, each router update fixes one thing and breaks another. I think it’s easy enough to log into the hub and switch it off so might be worth a try.
 

DJTipster

Active Member
We had terrible problems with Sky Superfast with speeds dropping to under 5mbps. They sent out an engineer who disabled ipv6 in the router. Within 10 minutes speeds were 40mbps+ and have been stable since, streaming 4k Netflix with ease. In a month I’ve restarted the broadband once after it completely dropped its connection but that’s happened with other isps in the past. Apparently Sky are having ongoing issues with implementing ipv6, each router update fixes one thing and breaks another. I think it’s easy enough to log into the hub and switch it off so might be worth a try.

Thank you Beagle will give it a try
 

WattsX99

Active Member
I still don't quite get the obsession with Firesticks when Roku also provide a perfectly good alternative that's easy to use and very nippy. I can only guess it's down to the ability to sideload .. "alternative" apps as it's android based. You can get a Roku 4K streaming stick for around £30 quid brand new.

Anyway OP, for whatever it's worth, I'm finally free of Sky and Virgin and with a bit of work, it's possible to keep your costs pretty low.

I recently signed up to Now TV for Fibre and inclusive landline calls for £22 a month. It was advertised at 63mb down and I'm getting 73mb at the moment which is handy.

I pay £4.37 a month for the top Netflix package for starters. As far as Disney+ goes, I paid for the yearly package and sold the additional slots via the site Hot UK Deals for £15 a pop, so it reduced my own personal outlay to just £4.90 for the year and also allowed me to give a slot to a friend of mine for free as well.

I also used a "loophole" for Amazon prime so it only currently costs me £35 quid a year.

So that's a shade under £30 a month total for 73mb fibre, inclusive landline calls with 4K Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video (as well as full Amazon prime).

As far as football goes, that one is a bit trickier to do legally and cheaply, but it can be done. Sky Sports Mobile often have deals where you can subscribe via Now TV for a number of months for a fixed price. I recently took advantage of one such deal for 8 months of Sky Sports Mobile which cost just £9.99.

The trick with that is that you can install an application called "Bluestacks" on a PC which will emulate an Android phone so you can install Now TV and play Sky Sports Mobile on a large screen TV. I do it myself with a HDMI cable from my PC to my TV but I'm sure there are other ways.

I also get "free" BT Sport as part of my sim only deal with EE and I use Bluestacks for that as well and both work nicely, although I haven't quite figured out how to get the sound playing through my TV just yet !.
 

DJTipster

Active Member
Thanks for this reply mate. I didn't even know what Roku was but happily look into it.

Wow you have some pretty amazing deals ! Also made me laugh when you mentioned a "loophole" with Amazon! 😂

I had come across a number of YouTube videos that show "loopholes" with the football too...

We are definitely cancelling Sky and whatever they/whatever discounts they give us they can stick it up their arse for all I care.

My wife and I had this same conversation last night and we both said what kind of company always increase your monthly payments mid contract? We signed up to an 18 month/ 2 year contract and already have had 2 or 3 price increases within that time with another 2 coming due to "discounts and offers ending".

None of the contracts are worth the paper they are written on. For us it's not about the money (although it is expensive) it's about the principle. Voting with our feet
 

WattsX99

Active Member
I do think there's a perception that you almost "have" to have Sky in a way. Even though if you looked at it honestly, you'd find that you might only watch one or two channels or, in my case, mostly the free to air channels.

And as you've said yourself, you can also just use things like Netflix and Disney+ and be perfectly content with what you watch.

Anyway, hope it works out for you and if you ever need any help getting those "loopholes" working then drop me a PM :)
 

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