Sky Q subscription error messages

You’ll see an on-screen message if you’re trying to watch a show or channel that’s not included in your subscription. You can usually upgrade your subscription directly on your Sky Q box to remove the message.

“To use this service you need to upgrade your subscription”

You’ll see this message if you’ve recently cancelled your subscription. To upgrade again, go to channel 106 and follow the on-screen instructions.

“If you’re using this box for the first time, please wait a few minutes…”

If you’ve recently installed a Sky Q Mini box, you’ll see this message while your box is activating. Wait a few minutes, and it should clear on its own. If it doesn’t, you might not have the right subscription.

To watch TV on your Sky Q Mini box, you need an active broadband connection and the Sky Q Multiscreen or Sky Q experience pack. You can check what packs you have online.

If the message is showing on a channel that’s not part of your subscription, such as BT Sport, Box Nation, or Racing UK, you’ll need to contact that Pay TV provider for help enabling viewing on your Sky Q Mini box.

“To watch this channel, please upgrade your subscription” or “Upgrade your subscription now by pressing the red button”

You’ll see one of these messages if you’re trying to watch a channel or show that’s not included in your subscription. You can upgrade directly from your box by pressing the red button when prompted:

  1. Press the red button on your Sky Q remote
  2. Follow the instructions and enter your Sky TV PIN
  3. You’ll see the channel subscription cost and your new total monthly cost

There’ll also be a pro rata charge on your next bill if you upgrade part way through a month. For more help with you bill, read our guide to Viewing and understanding your bill.

“You don’t have the required subscription”

You’ll see this message if you’re trying to download a show without the right subscription, such as HD, when you don’t have a HD subscription, you will need to change the default format to SD. Follow our help article to change this.

You’ll need to upgrade via the red button in order to subscribe to channels like 401 (Sky Sports) or 301 (Sky Cinema).

Download on demand in SD, HD or Ultra HD

SD, HD, UHD – whatever your definition of choice, you can download in it if you have the right TV equipment and subscription.

Screenshot of the Sky Q preferences page in settings

  1. Press Home on your Sky Q remote and select Settings, then Setup.
  2. Select Preferences, then On Demand default download format, and choose SD, HD or UHD.

If your default download format is unavailable, it’ll download in the next available format. For example, If HD is unavailable, the show will download in SD.

Individual shows

You can download an individual show in a different format without changing your default settings. Just select the show you want to download, select All formats and choose from SD, HD or Ultra HD where available.

Sky Store

When renting or buying from Sky Store, you’ll be given the choice to download in SD, HD or Ultra HD.

“Sky Q box not enabled or subscribed for services”

You’ll see this message if you’ve recently cancelled or downgraded. You’ll need to contact us to upgrade again.

I can't upgrade through my box

If you're having problems upgrading your subscription through your Sky Q box, try our guide to adding TV packs using your Sky Q remote. Or, you can try upgrading your subscription online.

I’m seeing a subscription error message on a channel I’m subscribed to

If you’re seeing one of the subscription error messages on a channel that’s definitely included in your subscription, try restarting your Sky Q box.

Restart your Sky Q box

  1. Press standby on your Sky Q remote, then switch off or unplug your box at the mains.
  2. Check there are no lights on the front panel of your Sky Q box and all cables are securely connected.
  3. Plug in and switch your Sky Q box back on at the mains.
  4. Wait for the on-screen instructions to disappear then press Home on your Sky Q remote.

Some features may take up to 5 minutes to return.

If restarting your box doesn't work, try checking your Sky Q software version.

Check the software version on the Sky Q box

  1. Press Home on your Sky Q remote, then select Settings followed by System info
  2. Make a note of the Hardware Version and Software Version
  3. Go to How to check which Sky box you have and check the Software Version listed in the table matches the Software Version on your Sky Q box

If they match, your box is already on the correct software and doesn't need updating. If they don't match, you'll need to complete a software download:

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  1. Press Home on the Sky Q remote, then select Settings followed by System info
  2. Select Software version followed by Setup
  3. Select Software Download to begin downloading the latest software
  4. You’ll see the message Software update in progress. Don’t switch off the Sky Q box during the download
  5. When you see the message Software download successful. Your box will complete the installation next time it goes into standby, press standby on the Sky Q remote to turn the box off. The Sky Q box should now restart itself.
  6. Wait for the on-screen instructions to disappear, then press Home on the Sky Q remote.
  7. Check Settings to make sure the Software Version has successfully updated. If it hasn’t’, repeat the software download process.

Do you need more help?

Thanks for using our online services – if you do still need to contact us, please be aware that wait times may be longer than normal due to social distancing in our contact centres, but be assured we’re prioritising calls from customers who’ve already been online.