Sky HDR launch rumoured for 27th of May

HDR for selected on demand content only

by Andy Bassett - Updated:

Sky is launching three new channels on 27th May, and a number of online sources indicate that it could be using this as an opportunity to roll out HDR compatibility too.

UPDATED: 27th May 2020

Sky’s three new channels, Sky Nature, Sky HISTORY and Sky Factual will launch at midday 27th May.

However, beside some great free content, what will appeal to many AV fans is the inclusion of HDR support for some of the nature programs. The HDR option is currently only available in the on demand format but marks the start of Sky’s long awaited inclusion of HDR compatible content. 

Since this is just the start, not everyone will have access to the HDR service as this is contingent on possessing compatible Sky hardware plus a TV that supports the HLG HDR format.

There’s an official list of compatible Sky Q set top boxes available here and presented below. 

Hardware version numberType of Sky Q boxHDR-capable?
32B0xx
Sky Q 2TB
No
32B1xx
Sky Q 2TB
Yes
32B203 or 32B204
Sky Q 1TB UHD
Yes
32B205 or 32B206
Sky Q 1TB UHD or Sky Q 2TB
Yes
32C0xx
Sky Q 1TB
No
32C1xx
Sky Q 1TB
No
32D0xx
Sky Q Mini box
No
32D1xx
Sky Q Mini box
No

To check your Sky Q box model:

1/ Press Home on your Sky Remote
2/ Select Settings followed by System Info

3/ Check your Hardware Version

Gangs Of Lemur Island, Malawi Wildlife Rescue and Pridelands: Wilderness Reborn are all now available for Catch Up download and the UHD versions will also deliver HDR for compatible hardware.


Original story is below:

After a lengthy wait by patient customers, Wednesday the 27th May looks to be the date Sky will finally roll out HDR compatibility on its service, according to ISPreview. Separately, John Archer has quoted contacts at Sky and a leaked press release indicating the same.

It’s a surprise development given the broadcaster’s most recent comment on the subject of HDR was that it would most likely be ready for the end of 2020, at the earliest. This early tease about HDR implementation is expected to be backed up by a company announcement closer to the official launch.

The lack of HDR on Sky’s service has been a bone of contention for the broadcaster’s many subscribers who feel that the media company should be leading the way with innovations of this sort. The news will therefore be welcomed by many.

To benefit from the addition of HDR, existing customers must be subscribed to the UHD service i.e. Sky Q, and be using an HDR compatible box. According to the available information, this will include the newer 1TB and 2TB set top boxes, though a more comprehensive list of compatible Sky Q boxes will most likely come in the official press release. 

For those early adopters of Sky’s UHD services who have a non compatible set top box, Sky’s leaked document hints that an upgrade path to newer hardware may be an option in time as the rollout matures.

It appears that Sky’s HDR will be delivered solely in the HLG standard, which has also been used in the BBC iPlayer’s HDR trials, meaning that viewers’ TVs will need to support this variant.  

Wednesday 27th seems to be the proposed launch date since a number of the programmes that will be available on the newly launched channel, Sky Nature will be HDR compatible, including Gangs of Lemur Island

It should be noted that, according to the available information, HDR content will only be delivered via the on demand programming sections of the service rather than being actually broadcast. Also, the option to download the HDR enhanced version of the programme may only be available for a limited period. 

It appears that these first steps towards HDR are a ‘soft’ launch with the service escalating over time. The leaked press release makes mention of  'more nature shows, a selection of Sky Originals and a selection of blockbuster movies in time for Sky Cinema Christmas'. Additionally there are plans to bring HDR to the Disney+ and Netflix apps going forward too.

Finally, no extra cost for the HDR content has been mentioned and the viewers themselves will not be required to make any adjustment to their Sky box as settings will be automatically enabled if the Sky hardware is compatible. 

Are you a Sky customer who’s been looking forward to hearing this news? Let us know what you think in the discussion thread.

Source: ISP Review, Forbes.com
Image Source
: Daily Mirror/Sky

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