British Satellite TV broadcaster Sky is unveiling a number of new improvements to its Sky Q service this week. Spotify will launch on Sky Q in the UK and Ireland in the spring, and like other third-party apps it will be integrated into the Sky Q interface for quick access to songs and playlists.
Alongside Spotify, Sky is also adding Netflix integration. This highly-requested addition will see Netflix shows like The Crown or Stranger Things be directly available within the Sky Q interface. Sky says it’s bundling the full Netflix service into “a brand new Sky TV subscription pack,” which means existing Netflix customers can migrate to the new Sky TV bundle and pay the Netflix subscription fee to Sky directly, or simply sign into the Netflix Sky Q app to access content.
The Netflix partnership is unusual, as Netflix typically provides its own app to set-top boxes. Sky is integrating Netflix content directly alongside its own content, within the Sky Q interface. Sky is also improving other aspects of Sky Q, including better voice functionality for personalized recommendations. Sky Q’s sports section will also get an update to reflect a viewers’ favorite sports and teams, and a new user interface will include a new homepage that includes recent recordings, favorite channels, and catch-up TV.
Sky Q will also get HDR support, but it’s not clear if this is limited to streaming movies or whether live TV and sports will also include HDR. Sky already supports Dolby Atmos, but the company has not revealed whether its HDR support will include HDR10, Dolby Vision, or HLG. Sky Q’s software updates are expected to be made available this spring.
Sky’s broad software improvements come in the same week as a surprise $31 billion bid from Comcast to purchase the European pay TV service. Comcast is clearly interested in getting access to Sky’s 23 million subscribers across Europe, but the bid will complicate Disney’s $52 billion deal to buy a large amount of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.