Sky Italia launched Sky Cinema 4K on January 28, with the new channel serving as the TV guide’s home for 4K cinema content for the service. It will be exclusive to the 4K-equipped Sky Q set-top box and for customers who pay a premium to access Ultra HD movies.
120 movies, including Ghostbusters, The Amazing Spider-Man, and F9 (Fast and Furious 9), will be available to watch on the new channel slated for today.
This format differs from the way Sky offers 4K content in the UK, where Sky Q customers instead access 4K movies via on-demand content pages in the Sky Q interface and download them over a broadband connection.
TechRadar understands that Sky Cinema 4K in Italy will instead broadcast its programming via satellite connection (in addition to offering on-demand downloads) in the same way as current Sky 4K sports production: We contacted Sky for clarification on this point.
Analysis: Will Sky Cinema 4K arrive in the UK and do we need it?
Sky Italia appears to have made the decision to serve 4K content via satellite to circumvent restrictions imposed by low broadband speeds across the country. Consider the average broadband speeds recorded in Italy by popularity Benchmark website for speedtest.net, the average download speed for November 2021 was 34.53Mbps, which puts it 49th in the site’s global index.
The UK, in contrast, had an average speed of 47Mbps, putting it at 32. Both are perfectly usable speeds for 4K streaming, but it’s worth noting that Sky Q doesn’t offer streaming, instead offering 4K movies as a download – and those who have Much lower-than-average speeds may wait before downloading their movies, making satellite streaming an instant 4K solution by comparison. (Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video Act view 4K streaming on Sky Q, but within their premium apps).
Interestingly, the recent launch of Sky Glass, a Sky TV with built-in streaming content from Sky, is a completely wrong approach to serving its channels. Instead, it relies on the viewer’s internet connection to deliver standard, high-definition and high-definition content to the user’s TV, an indication of Sky’s long-term plans in this regard.
Overall, UK broadband speeds are fast enough that many don’t need a dedicated 4K satellite channel, and the internet’s approach to the internet may be more stable. But for those who live in areas with slow broadband, the satellite option for 4K movies is likely to be welcome. Likewise, in those moments when broadband access inevitably fails, having a satellite backup will help improve service reliability. So it’s not necessary, but it would be nice if the channel was an option for UK viewers.
We’ve reached out to Sky to comment on how and why Sky Italia is going down this path of cinematic 4K content and will update this article if we hear back from the company.
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