That’s because viewers who tune-in to the 500 movies, 26 original films and series, and the tens of thousands of television show episodes from Walt Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and more, will be able to catch them in Ultra HD quality at no extra cost. That’s something that Disney+ offers as part of its £5.99 a month – a feature that Netflix charges extra to add to its arsenal of binge-worthy content.
But watching on your Sky Q, which does support Ultra HD broadcasts from Sky Sports and Sky Cinema, Disney+ is limited to plain old 1080p High Definition.
Bafflingly, Sky Q subscribers who buy Netflix from the satellite broadcaster can tune-in to the streaming service’s arsenal of shows and films in the pixel-packed 4K resolution. So, it’s perfectly possible for Sky Q apps to offer that resolution …but isn’t yet available for Disney+. Netflix can be viewed in Ultra HD using the app available on Sky Q as well.
If – for some baffling reason – you have both a NOW TV streaming dongle and a Sky Q box at home, it’s worth making sure the latter is plugged into your best television set. Despite both of these services coming from Sky, there might be an explanation for this inconsistency. Of course, if you have a television that tops-out at 1080p, this limit doesn’t matter.
For NOW TV, Sky uses Roku hardware. The US streaming maestros design the hardware and the software that powers it – with Sky simply building an application to offer contract-free live and on-demand access to the content available on its Sky Q box. That’s all.
For the Walt Disney company, the app that runs on NOW TV devices is no different to the one found on Roku streaming sticks, or Roku-powered Smart TVs. Indeed, these devices were some of the first to support Disney+ when the streaming service launched worldwide.
The application on Sky Q is built specifically for the set-top box.
Thankfully, Sky has realised that its app isn’t quite up to scratch compared with the competition. Sky has already promised to bring Ultra HD support for the Disney+ app on Sky Q. According to the company, the upgrade will be coming “this summer”. The exact release date will likely be announced closer to the time.
Those who add Disney+ to their monthly bill from Sky TV will be able to enjoy the same sort of experience currently available to anyone with a Netflix subscription on their Sky Q box. This sees Disney+ television shows and films appear alongside suggested content from Sky channels and its vast on-demand library.
Unlike Netflix, which charges a higher rate to unlock Ultra HD streaming quality, Disney+ allows anyone to watch in 4K quality – as long as they have the right amount of bandwidth on their home broadband to support the pixel-packed format. HDR is also thrown-in for free with Disney+. So, if you’ve recently upgraded to a 4K TV with support for HDR10, you’ll be able to see the difference when streaming animated classics, Pixar movies, Star Wars or Marvel Studios films. Except if you’re watching on a Sky Q box, that is.
And while a fix for Ultra HD is in the works, it’s not worth holding your breath for HDR.
Sky Q was originally tipped to get the colourful upgrade back in February 2017. However, according to someone who purports to be a Sky employee a long-running forum thread on the Sky Community website – the company is now targeting a late 2020 release date at the earliest.