(Pocket-lint) – You’ve got Sky Q, but how the heck do you use it? And are there any secrets hidden in the settings that will make your TV viewing experiences better or easier?
We’ve been using Sky Q since the beginning so have put together these tips and tricks. Hopefully, these can help you get the most out of your own Sky Q system.
Whether it’s finding out that a long press on the remote control power button turns off your TV, or how you can stream your music from your iPhone to the Sky Q box, we’ve got you covered. You can also watch Sky Sports red button content really easily.
Getting ready for installation
Having gone through the install process, here’s what we’ve learnt so you can get yourself ready for your own installation of Sky Q.
Watch everything on your current “classic” Sky box
Sky Q runs on a completely different operating system from previously. That means you won’t be able to transfer anything you’ve recorded on your “classic” Sky box over to the new Sky Q box.
If you are thinking you’ll just wait until the Sky installer leaves and then try and access your old box once they’ve gone, you can’t do that either. The LNB (the bit that receives and processes the signal on the dish) is different, and because you’ll have a new viewing card, the new card won’t work in your old box.
Make a note of all the series linked shows you watch
You’ll need to make a note of all the series linked shows you’ve set up as you’ll have to set them up fresh on the new Sky Q box. We forgot and are now having to rack our brains to remember what we series linked and what we didn’t. You can see what you’ve series linked on your “classic” Sky box in the Planner under the Scheduled tab.
Set up the new Sky Q Hub
Before the Sky engineer turns up to your house you may receive a Sky Q Hub in the post if you’re signing for the broadband. Rather than wait for them to unpack the box and plug it in, you might as well get the process started.
Check your Wi-Fi quality
Sky Q uses Wi-Fi to communicate between all the Sky Q devices in your home, whether that’s the Sky Q Hub, the Sky Q box, or the Sky Q Mini boxes. If you don’t have a good Wi-Fi signal the chances are it isn’t going to work.
If you know where the weak spots are, then the Sky engineer can help you when they arrive at in your house, without having to go through the process of trying to find them themselves. This is especially important if you are looking to get the Sky Q Mini boxes installed in a bedroom far away from the Sky Q Hub.
Download the Sky Go app on your iPad, iPhone or Android device
Sky Q supports the option for you to watch Sky Go from your iPad or other mobile device. We’re only talking a couple of minutes saved here, but downloading it before the Sky engineer comes will mean it’s all up and running ahead of time.
Make sure your Sky engineer can get to the dish
The Sky engineer will need to get to your dish to replace the LNB (the bit that receives and processes the signal). If you’ve got a load of clutter in the way that’s going to slow everything down. Help them by clearing it all out. It’s also worth noting that if your dish is up high, they might not be able to get to it without a consultation first.
You can go wired
Sky Q does work over a wired connection if the Wi-Fi in your house is awful. A wired install isn’t as straightforward as it sounds and you’ll need a direct-wired connection from the hub straight into the Sky Q Mini box, which could be via powerline.
Setting up your Sky Q box
The new Sky Q box offers plenty of customisations when it comes to picture and sound quality. Here’s how to set the box up to get the most out of it.
How to change the picture resolution
To change the picture resolution press the Home button on your remote, go to Settings > Setup and then Audio Visual. You have several picture resolution options up to 4K to choose from. Once you select one, the screen changes for 15 seconds to make sure it has worked. If it hasn’t, don’t panic, it will revert to the previous setting.
How to change to Dolby Digital/Dolby Digital Plus (Dolby Atmos)
Go to Settings > Setup and then Audio Visual and change the “Digital Audio Output HDMI” setting from Normal to Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus. Once enabled you’ll receive Atmos-enabled content if you’re connected via HDMI to a sound system that supports Dolby Atmos – and you’re watching content where Atmos is available.
How to fix lip sync issues on Sky Q
If you are using an optical cable you might encounter lip sync issues on your videos. To solve this, go to Settings > Setup > Audio Visual > Digital audio output delay and change the millisecond delay. You’ll probably need to experiment with the different options.
Making your TV turn on and switch the right HDMI input when you power up Sky Q
If you want your TV to spring into life and go to the right channel when you turn on Sky Q go to Settings > Audio Visual and set HDMI control to be on.
How to set HD downloads as standard
Go to Settings, Preferences, and then set “HD demand default download format” to HD. Now when an HD recording is available, the box will automatically download in high definition.
How to set your box automatically when not in use
With the Sky “classic” box, the company allowed you to automatically turn the box off at night if it wasn’t being used. With Sky Q, Sky has gone a step further; you can now set it to go into standby at any time when it’s not in use. To change the standby mode settings go to the main Settings page, Preferences and opt to have your Standby mode as either Eco, Active or none.
Using the Sky Q Touch Remote and Sky Q Remote
The new Sky Q Touch Remote is very different from the Sky Remote that came with your Sky HD box. Here are a number of Sky Q Touch Remote tips and tricks to get more from the controller.
How to navigate around Sky Q quicker
With the Sky Q Touch Remote, you can use the touchpad to swipe up, down, left and right through the menus. Rather than scrolling with your thumb over and over again to go through the menu options, you can swipe and hold and the menu choices will scroll automatically.
How to select with the Sky Q Touch Remote
Press the touchpad on the Touch Remote to select.
Long press the power button to turn off your TV
If you press the power button quickly on the remote the Sky Q box goes off as you would expect, but if you’ve programmed the remote to work with your television, a long press will now turn off your TV as well.
Use the Dismiss button to cancel anything at any time
No matter what you are doing, you can dismiss it and go back to live TV at the press of a button. It is the button on the remote that looks like an arrow coming out of a square. The Dismiss button also gets you back to live TV if you’ve paused at any point or are in the home screen pages. It basically works like the old “Sky” button on Sky HD. Don’t confuse it for a back button though.
How to go back a step in the Sky Q menu
To go back a step in the menu system either swipe from right to left on the Touch Remote, or press the left arrow on the standard remote. Do not use the Dismiss button.
Press the Home Button to access Sky Q Homescreen
Rather than having a button for the planner, a button for Sky Box Office, or a button for Settings, for example, you now just have to press the Home button to get to the main home screen and in particular “Top Picks”.
What is the three dots button for?
Sky Q offers a number of Sky apps that can run at the same time as you are watching television. The three dots button brings up the apps bar for things like Sky News, Sky Sports News HQ and Weather.
How to change input sources
On the old remote it used to be hidden behind the “Help” button and even then it didn’t always work if your TV wasn’t set up correctly. Now input sources gets its own button at the bottom of the remote next to the “0” button.
How to turn on subtitles or audio description
You can quickly turn on subtitles or audio description where supported by pressing the “?” button at the bottom of the remote when watching live TV.
How to get help with Sky Q
If at any point you don’t understand what a menu option is, the “?” button takes you to the Sky Q help pages where it will explain what something means.
How to record a show on Sky Q and set a series link
To record a show, you can press the red “R” button on the remote at any point. Sky Q will automatically record the show and add a series link to record all future episodes. If you only want the one recording, press the “R” button again. Press the button a third time and you remove the record request altogether.
How to fast rewind and fast forward on Sky Q
With the old remote you would have to tap the fast forward and rewind buttons to spin through the 2x, 6x, 12x and 30x speed options. Here there are two choices, one is to tap the rewind and fast forward button to select the speed you want. The second is to put your finger on the play/pause button and then slowly swipe left or right to select your speed. It’s worth noting that the rewind/pause/fast forward part of the remote is touch-sensitive so you don’t have to press anything.
How to get straight to your Sky Q recordings
Press the Sky logo button at the top of the remote to take you straight to your recordings.
How to stop watching a recording
Press the Dismiss button and you’ll go back to the information page of the show or movie that you were watching.
How to pair your Touch Remote
If you’ve added a second Touch Remote to your Sky Q system you’ll need to pair it with your box. To do this, point the remote at the box and then press the 1 and 3 buttons together. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup, including selecting your TV and your speakers if you have them.
How to find your Sky Q Touch Remote
If you’ve lost your remote down the back of the sofa, don’t panic, you can find it by pressing the Q icon on the Sky Q box. That sends out a signal to the Touch Remote which will then beep until you find it. Pressing any button on the remote will stop the beeping.
How to control your TV with your Sky Q Remote
To control your TV with your Sky Remote or Sky Q Touch Remote press the Home button on the remote to access the EPG. On the home screen scroll down to Settings, then across to the right and scroll down to Setup, then across to the right to Remote Control. Select the remote you have and press Select. Now opt for “Control your TV”. If you also want to set up a speaker system you can to that here as well.
How to do a voice search on Sky Q
You can press and hold the voice command button on the side of the remote before barking your order. Sky Q voice controls to try
- “Go to my recordings”.
- “Go to new series”.
- “Go to Sky Store” or other key areas of the Sky Q Guide like “Sky Cinema”.
- “Skip 10 minutes” (or any time required).
- “Go to 60 minutes” (or any time required).
- “Play…” (plus specific content in your recordings).
- “Subtitles on/off”.
- “Audio description on/off”.
- “Pause/play/stop/rewind x12” (or x2, x6, x30).
- “Change channel to …” (channel name).
- Name of a movie, TV show, genre, actor or director.
- Movies with a specific age rating, star rating or actor. For example, “action movies with Tom Cruise”, “kids movies rated U” and “comedy movies rated five stars”.
- Sports, sports team, or sporting event on a particular day, competition or tournament such as “Live cricket on this weekend” or “Liverpool game”.
- A collection of famous movie quotes. For example, “you can’t handle the truth”, “you had me at hello,” “my precious” and “Houston, we have a problem”.
- TV channel to see what’s on now and coming on later. For example, “what’s on Sky Atlantic tonight”.
You can also try a range of funnier commands by quoting movies. Naturally, not every famous quote will be recognised but there are still plenty. That’s why we’ve put together this list of many that we’ve been told about or found. Each one will find the movie it is from on Sky Q.
- “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.” – Sunset Boulevard
- “Well, nobody’s perfect.” – Some Like it Hot
- “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” – Psycho
- “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” – Cool Hand Luke
- “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” – Dirty Harry
- “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” – The Godfather II
- “Yo, Adrian!” – Rocky
- “May the Force be with you.” – Star Wars
- “Surely you can’t be serious!” – Airplane!
- “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!” – Scarface
- “Goose!” – Top Gun
- “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” – Wall Street
- “I’ll have what she’s having.” – When Harry Met Sally
- “You can’t handle the truth!” – A Few Good Men
- “Houston, we have a problem.” – Apollo 13
- “Show me the money!” – Jerry Maguire
- “You had me at ‘hello’.” – Jerry Maguire
- “My precious.” – The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers
Making more of your Sky Q recordings
Whether you are watching live TV or downloading box sets to binge on, Sky Q now makes it even easier to watch your favourite TV shows. You’ve got to know the tricks to get the most out of the experience though, otherwise, you could be missing out.
Continue where you left off
Rather than going straight to the Recordings section on Sky Q, you can speed up the process of accessing things you are halfway through watching by going to the Continue option in the main menu.
How to find something new to watch on Sky Q
Sky Q, like Sky HD, highlights new shows you can watch. There are two ways to get inspiration. The first is Top Picks and the second is the New Series option. To get to Top Picks simply press your Home button on your remote.
How to find more episodes of the show you’ve just watched
You can find out if more episodes are available of your favourite shows by going to the individual info pages for a show and then selecting the “more episodes” button at the top-right of the main information. Here you can see what’s “On this week” or what’s available to download “On-demand”.
How to undelete a show or movie
If you’re over keen and you’ve pressed the delete button by mistake, but hadn’t finished watching an episode yet, you can undelete shows by pressing the Sky button on your remote and going to recordings. Once here scroll down to “Deleted”. Sky Q shows you all the content you’ve previously deleted and allows you to “undelete” them if you’ve made a mistake. You can also “delete forever” any shows you don’t want others to find out about or clogging up the storage. Yes, your Home and Away secret is still safe.
How to see what scheduled recordings you have on Sky Q
Press the Sky button on the remote. Go to Scheduled and it’s here you can see what shows you’ve planned to record in the future. If you see something you don’t want you can cancel the recording from this page as well.
How to manage your HDD storage on Sky Q
With the ability to record lots of things at once, as well as download loads of shows and movies, you might run out of hard drive space fairly quickly. You can manage your disk space by pressing the Sky button on your remote and then selecting Disk space. Here you can see what’s taking up space and delete the content you don’t want any more.
How to highlight audio description and subtitled programmes
The Sky Q EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) can be set to highlight all programmes that have subtitles or audio description available in the TV Guide. To turn this on press the Home button on the remote, go to Settings > Accessibility and select Highlight programmes. You can then chose to either highlight Audio desc. or Subtitles, but sadly not both.
How to quickly jump back to the previous channel you were watching
Using the Sky Q Touch Remote you can quickly return back to the last channel you were watching by swiping left to right on the Touchpad on the Touch Remote. It’s really handy if you are hoping to hop between two programmes at the same time.
How to scroll through channels while watching something else
While watching one TV channel, you can scroll through to see what’s on other channels. To do this press the Touchpad on the Sky Q Touch Remote and then start swiping up or down. If you pause for a couple of seconds the image that accompanies the listing will spring into life and show you what’s happening.
How to see what’s on next
Either press select on the Touchpad or the “i” button on the remote and then swipe right to see what’s on next on that channel.
Sky Movies on Sky Q
If you subscribe to Sky Movies there are plenty of tips and tricks to get even more out of Sky Q.
How to find movies by actor
Press the Home button on the remote, scroll down to Sky Movies, and then scroll down to Actors. Here you’ll find a list of names like Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts, for example, and all the movies Sky has available to watch with those actors in them
How to find similar movies to what you want to watch
Sky Q lists movies that are similar to the one you’ve selected in a section called “More like this”. On the individual movie listing for the movie you’ve found, scroll to the right and below “Start download, cancel download” select “More info”. On this screen scroll down to the “More like this” option to find other similar movies that are available. That could be sequels, prequels or just other movies in the same genre.
How to listen to music on Sky Q
The Sky Q boxes enable you to stream music via a dedicated Vevo app or you can listen to your own music on your phone via AirPlay for iPhone users or Bluetooth for everyone else.
How to listen to radio on Sky Q
You’ve always been able to listen to the radio on your Sky box, but Sky Q makes it easier once you know where it is. Press the Home button on your remote, go to Music > Radio. Here you can select from around 25 different stations and start listening straight away. You can record individual shows, but you can’t Series link.
How to listen to Vevo, Spotify or watch YouTube – access Apps
Sky Q comes with music video channel Vevo as well as YouTube and Spotify in addition to dedicated apps for video services BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. Access these apps on Sky Q. by pressing the Home button on your remote and scroll down to Apps.
How to play your music on Sky Q via AirPlay
Sky Q enables you to share music via AirPlay via your iPhone, iPad or iTunes on your Mac – though it doesn’t do video. You can enjoy your music through your TV speakers or sound system connected to the TV. The device has to be on the same network as the Sky Q box, but you can stream to either one Sky Q box or all of them.
How to listen to your music via Bluetooth on Sky Q
If you’ve got a PC or an Android device you can still stream your music to your Sky Q boxes. Simply pair your device with the Sky Q box by pressing Home on the remote, then going to Settings > Music. Add a new Bluetooth device. Once you’ve found the device, pair, type in the pairing code, and then connect. You can list up to 12 devices at once.
How to turn off the streaming music option on a Sky Q box
If you want to stop your teenage kids streaming all types of music you don’t understand through your shiny new Sky Q box you can turn the feature off altogether. Go to the Home screen > Settings > Music and then turn off “Allow music to be sent to this box”. Peace and quiet will quickly resume once again.
How to manage parental settings on Sky Q
You can manage the family settings per box in Sky Q, so if you’ve got more than one Sky Q box in your house it’s advisable to make sure you check the settings for all devices. Press Home on the remote, then go to Settings > Parental. Type in your pin. To begin with, it will either be 0000, what you’ve had previously with the Sky “classic” box, or the last four digits of your viewing card. Here you have a number of options.
How to turn on PIN purchase
Press the Home button on the remote, go to Settings > Parental > Family and select whether you want to the Sky Q box to ask you for a PIN when you purchase anything in Box Office or a rental in Sky Store. Regardless of what you set, a PIN will always be required for Buy & Keep.
How to hide adult content from the EPG
Press the Home button on the remote, go to Settings > Parental > Family and select whether you want to “Hide adult content”. If set to on, all adult channels will be removed from your TV Guide and all adult recordings will be hidden from recordings. This does not affect 18-rated content.
How to stop kids watching 12-rated programmes before 8pm
Sky Movies plays plenty of films throughout the day that aren’t suitable for some younger audiences, and the last thing you want is to hear that your school holidays have been ruined by a traumatised child watching American Psycho at two in the afternoon. To stop this, press the Home button on the remote, go to Settings > Parental > Family and turn on PIN on pre-watershed playback. Now anything rated 12-years or over shown before 8pm will require a PIN to view it.
How to age restrict all content no matter what time it is
If you want to restrict everything based on age you can, although this will, in practice, mean you pretty much have to type in your PIN every time you watch anything. Press the Home button on the remote, go to Settings > Parental > Ratings and then select the “Age restriction” you want to lock down. You can chose from none, U, PG, 12+, 15+ and 18+.
How to block YouTube or other online video on Sky Q
Endless videos getting you down? No problem. You can block all of YouTube in one go on any individual box. Press the Home button on the remote, go to Settings > Parental > Apps & Video and set “Block access to YouTube” to on.
How to watch Sky Q on your iPad
You can turn your iPad or an Android equivalent into a Sky Q box, with some but not all the same functionality as the Sky Q Mini boxes. Here are some tips for watching Sky Q on the go.
How to watch your recorded shows from your Sky Q box on your iPad
Start the Sky Go app, go to recordings, and chose what you want to watch. You will need to be on the same Wi-Fi network to access your box.
How to watch your Sky Q recordings on the go
Some programmes, but not all due to rights restrictions, can be downloaded to an iPad or Android device to watch when you are offline using the Sky Go app. You have to download them before you leave the house though. To check which shows or movies you can download or have downloaded, on the app go to Recordings and then Download.
How to watch live TV on the go using the Sky Go app
Although you can’t access your Sky Q box recordings on the go you can still watch live TV or on-demand shows and movies via the Sky Go app. Open the app, go to TV Guide, and then select the channel you want to watch. The first time you do it you will be asked to enter your SkyID and password and then you are good to go.
Setting up 4K Ultra HD playback
You’ll need to set your Sky Q box to play 2160p content provided your box supports it Head to Settings>Setup>Audio Visual and set your resolution to 2160p. This may have already been auto-detected during initial setup.
The box will then determine whether your 4K TV has 10-bit or 8-bit colour and set that option accordingly. You will be asked to confirm the new setting.
When programmes are available in 4K Ultra HD, you can press the red button to change to watch the content in 4K.
General Sky Q tips and tricks
When you aren’t trying to squeeze the most out of the box to help you watch movies and TV shows, you can use it to do other things, like check your Sky bill or change your payment details.
How to update your Sky Q box software
To make sure you are on the latest software version, press Home on the remote, then go to Settings > System info. Scroll down to Software version and then across to Setup. Select Software download and wait for the software update to finish – if one is available. Once the update has finished put the Sky Q box into standby for the update to take effect.
How to change your Sky Q PIN
Press Home on the remote, then go to Settings > Parental > Type in your PIN number and then scroll down and select Change PIN. Here type in what you want the new PIN to be twice and it will be changed.
How to reset your Sky PIN
If you’ve forgotten your PIN, or your kids have sussed it out (more likely the case) you can reset it by pressing the Home button on your remote, scrolling down to My Account and then select Reset PIN. You are then prompted to create a new 4-digit code.
How to get further help
Go to the home screen, and then scroll down to the Help section. Swiping or pressing the arrow to go right takes you to a Help page that will give you one-minute video tutorial clips on areas like how to record, play music, or manage family settings.
Writing by Stuart Miles and Dan Grabham.