Sky TV update brings new way to pay for thousands of extra films and shows

Sky customers can now add a Disney+ subscription to their monthly satellite bill. New customers will be able to add the streaming service to their Sky bundle during the checkout process. If you’re already a Sky customer you are now able to add the Netflix rival to your monthly bill by heading to your Account details online.

When Disney+ launched in the UK last month, Sky Q was one of the first platforms to support the streaming service with a designated app. During the initial announcement, Sky teased that it had plans for a much greater level of integration with the service in future. And now that tighter integration is here.

Sky says that the ability to subscribe to both Sky channels and Disney+ is an advantage because “when you have Sky TV and Disney+, we’ll consolidate your bills into one, making them easy to manage. Your monthly subscriptions to Disney+ and Sky TV will be collected together on your usual payment date.”

The company previously added the ability for new and existing customers to subscribe to Netflix from their Sky account. However, the streaming service comes bundled as part of its Sky Ultimate deal, which costs £25 a month and includes on-demand access to 2,500 series from Sky as well as exclusive live channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky Comedy, MTV, Comedy Central, VICE, Eurosport, Sky Sports News, National Geographic and more.

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As such, there are a number of reasons to pick this bundle. Not only Netflix.

With the Disney+ integration, you’ll be charged the same as a standalone subscription from Disney. The only advantage is the fact that you’ll have an easy-to-manage single monthly bill for your entertainment leaving your account each month.

With the ability to pay for Disney+ with the rest of your Sky channels and optional add-ons, Sky also confirmed improvements to its Disney+ app coming soon.

Unlike the tight integration available with Netflix – which appears alongside results from the TV Guide and Sky on-demand shows whenever you search for a show, an actor or director using your Sky Q remote – for the time being Disney+ is relegated to the Apps section in the menu.

There’s no way to search for content available on Disney+ without pawing through the menu, loading up the app and using the separate search functionality inside Disney+.

If you’re looking for a certain film and are unsure whether it’s available on the Sky Cinema Disney channel or in Disney+, it can be laborious and time-consuming. Especially when compared with Netflix. For that, all you need to do is use the keypad on your Sky Q remote (or the voice search button and your best public-speaking voice) to search for the title and Sky will immediately reveal whether your title is available on Sky’s live channel, on-demand library, the Sky Store, or Netflix. Or all of them – leaving you to choose.

Another glaring omission from the Disney+ app on Sky Q is the streaming quality.

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.

Despite supporting Ultra HD – Sky has one of the biggest libraries of 4K movies and sports fixtures – viewers are unable to watch in the format when streaming from Disney+. There’s also no sign of HDR on Sky Q. If you have the option of using another device, like a Chromecast Ultra or PS4 Pro to get Ultra HD quality or Nvidia Shield to ensure you get HDR quality from your £5.99 subscription, then you should do so.

Sky has confirmed that it’s now looking to fix a number of these issues.

The UK broadcaster plans to bring side-by-side recommendations of both Sky TV and Disney+ shows and movies to the TV guide – in exactly the same way as you’ll get with Netflix. Deeper integration – like the ability to search Sky, Netflix and Disney+ content at the same time using the native search function on your remote will be coming over time, Sky says.

As for Ultra HD support for Disney+, that will be coming “this summer”, Sky has confirmed.

Unfortunately, it’s not worth holding your breath for HDR. Sky Q was 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.

The Disney+ app joins an unrivalled range of other apps on Sky Q including; Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Sky News and more, all in one place.

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