Culture Technology

Sky TV launches Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature channels, finally adds 4k HDR

Sky TV is adding two new TV channels this week, Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature, and relaunching Sky History, as part of an expanded commitment to documentary and factual content. The channels will appear on the Sky programme guide May 27.

The broadcaster is also adding HDR support to its 4k UHD content on Sky Q boxes, to further improve image quality for owners of 4k HDR TVs.

Sports fans, starved of things to watch this year, will be served Tyson Bruno, a feature length documentary charting the highs and lows of two of boxing’s biggest icons, and The United Way about Manchester United, featuring commentary from Eric Cantona.

Sky Nature highlights include the three-part Shark, an appreciation of the often misunderstood predator.  

Other factual highlights include feature-length biographies of Stephen Hawking, Tina Turner (from the Oscar-winning filmmakers behind Searching for Sugar Man) and Hollywood actor Steve McQueen (McQueen: The Lost Movie). 

New programme commissions, expected to screen at the end of the year or early 202021 include Lancaster, the story of the legendary dambusting Lancaster Bomber, The Go-Go’s,  a look at the eighties female pop-punk band, and Look Away, a documentary which looks at the darker side of rock.

“These new commissions showcase Sky’s investment in world-class original content,” says Sky’s Managing Director of Content, Zai Bennett.

The first Sky 4k HDR content includes Sky Nature series Gangs of Lemur Island

Lemurs keep an eye out for 4k HDR

Sky Documentaries, Sky Nature and Sky History will be available to all Sky and Now TV customers at no extra cost. 

Also to be available at no extra cost, at least to those already subscribing to Sky’s UHD content, is HDR (High Dynamic Range) support.

To watch, you’ll need a 4k TV that supports the HLG HDR standard (most recent 4k screens will). HLG has already been trialled by the BBC, on iPlayer.

The first Sky HDR content includes Sky Nature series Gangs of Lemur Island, Wilderness Reborn and Malawi Wildlife Rescue. It will only be available on UHD Video on Demand downloads.

Sky says “ Sky Nature is home to breath-taking natural history programming, and has been selected to launch HDR, as it has a vast array of landscapes, settings and colours suited to HDR.”

It’s expected that Sky will gradually increase the amount of HDR content available, to include  Sky Original shows, UHD movies and eventually live sports coverage. The broadcaster says live HDR Sports coverage will begin in 2021, with the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Sky says it will begin live HDR Sports coverage  in 2021, with the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Will my Sky Q box work with Sky 4k HDR?

Sky has issued a compatibility list for its various generations of Sky Q box. To check which version you have, and whether you can view Sky UHD HDR, go to Settings followed by System info and then look at the Hardware info tab.

The following Sky Q boxes will not work with Sky UHD HDR:
32B0xx Sky Q 2TB
32C0xx Sky Q 1TB
32C1xx Sky Q 1TB

The following Sky Q boxes will work with Sky UHD HDR
32B1xx Sky Q 2TB
32B203 or 32B204 Sky Q 1TB
32B205 or 32B206 Sky Q 1TB/2TB

To read our review of the Sky Q set top box, click here.

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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