* Prices may differ from that shown
BSkyB is a company that operates the Satellite Service, Sky.
Sky is a subscription based provider of three-play services, which include Digital TV, Broadband and Home Phone.
Sky originally offered only a TV package to customers requiring it, until rival company, Cable offering Virgin Media, offered the Triple Play Deals back when it was ntl: and Telewest. The Triple Play deals from these companies worked out at £30, depending on which tier TV Package you would take with them.
In 2005, Sky swallowed up Easynet, an Internet and Phone provider to people why had a fixed phone-line installed by BT. Thus a Sky Alternative to Triple Play was Born.
Sky has a customer base of over 9m customers in the UK, and is owned by News Corporation International, which is headed by Rupert Murdoch.
Back in the 90's, Sky attempted to buy Manchester United, but failed in their attempts, instead opting to buy a 10% share in it. This, in turn, led many to believe that a biased opinion of Manchester United would always be displayed by Sky, and particular, their offering of Sports channels - Sky Sports.
Along with Sky Sports, there is Sky Movies. Both are Premium services for Sky, and generate a lot of income. They are available to all Sky TV Customers, separately, or as a pack, where a discount will be given.
Skys CEO is Rupert Murdochs son, James, who has previously been in the limelight of British media for publicly condemning OFCOM, the office of fairness in the Television sector. He has also gone on record and slated Virgin Media, during the disagreements between the companies renewal of Sky channels on the Cable platform. This led to the Sky Basics (the Sports and Movies channels, by law, remain accessible to Virgin Media customers) being removed from the Cable operator, because of Skys increased demands for them. It was proven by the Cable company that the channels didnt have an increase in value, even though Sky claimed they did, and that the channels had actually lost value because of deteriorating viewer numbers. Sky insisted on a higher price to carry the channels, and Virgin refused to be held to ransom.
This led to a huge marketing campaign by both parties, as to why the channels were removed, and who is to blame. Both blamed each other, and Sky even attempted to tempt people to switch to Sky because of the channels removal. This, however, would cause a £30m loss on Advertising revenue as well as various Court dates being set as advertisers and sponsors looked to recoup money they had spent in distributing their product to Sky to show on both platforms. Some advertisers and sponsors cut ties with Sky over this. Others requested refunds.
The company currently has a much publicised stranglehold on the British Market of Television, which is currently being investigated by the Competition Commission. It remains to be seen what punishment, if any, the company will get, however many suggest that a 'slap on the wrists' will be brought, because of News Corps. Monopoly on the British Media, which accounts for a large percentage of the voters in the General Elections. Due to News Corps. Monopoly, people believe that a harsher punishment would subsequently result in the newspapers and TV media owned by News Corp. to stop publishing and reporting on Government stories and articles, which would have a profound affect on the voting decisions of its readers.
No reviews of their services appear here, because they are available in their separate entities on the site. This is a review of the company, and should not be confused with a review of their services, which are completely different.
We have had sky for over 7 years now and they have offered nothing but a top quailty service. We have had there broadband, Line rental and anytime calls for around 2 years and there TV package for around 7 years. We have had a great service from them and no problems what so ever we pay them £83.00 a month and this includes
Sky TV 6 Mix
Sky + Multiroom X 2
Sky Broadband 16MB
Sky Anytime Calls
Sky Line Rental
The Sky TV is Great the only channels we don't get is the sports but we never watch any sports so this is no problem.
Sky Movies has over 100 Movies playing weekly on nine different channels. the sky movies are great every saturday night when the new movies are shown on the channel
The Sky Multiroom is just £10.00 extra a month and will give you all the packages you are have a subcripton with. You can have up to 8 standard sky boxes or 4 sky plus boxes on any one saterlight dish. Sky have said we can only have up to 8 Sky Boxes on any one property.
We get Sky Broadband 16MB which is £10 a month. the broadband which at most times clocks at around 14MB and we use it all the time and we have not had any problems or our speed capped by sky. the broadband comes with a Not so stable router but as soon as you change a few settings your broadband is the most reliable there is.
The sky anytime calls is just £5 and you can call day and night to any uk landline for free but you still have to pay for Mobiles, 0870 Numbers etc
The sky line rental is just £10.00 so instead of paying BT for nothing you can pay sky to look after your line as they are provding all your services for you.
The Sky anytime is on the Sky plus boxes mainly the Sky+ PVR3 Boxes and every week you have a selection of ad free progammes on your box ready to use. the progamme only lasts the week and you can save it on to your sky plus box for free.
Other Features Include on Sky which are Free are
Remote Record - Tell your sky plus box to record a Progamme any where in the world so you don't miss your favourite tv progamme.
Sky Player - Just like sky anytime but on your pc you can watch sky tv progammes Free on your computer or a small fee.
Online Planner - Every Channels Progamme guide on the My sky page. see whats on sky one with out having to look on your tv
Overall i rate sky 8/10
A little bit Pricy on the TV package but great vaule on there broadband Considering that Virgin media want you to pay £35 a month for 10MB broadband.
I think sky will get better over time and will propley become one of the UKs Top Providers for TV, Broadband and Line Services.
I have been a subscriber to Sky for a long while now (almost ten years, I think) and switched to Sky Digital within a month of it's launch, and I have to say, I think that Sky Digital really is the best digital platform out there, in terms of choice and value for money. I can honestly say that I have never had any major problems with the service or the actual reception. In fact, the only problem that I did have was that the picture froze towards the end of of the opening bout on the pay-per-view Mike Tyson vs Brian Neilsen boxing event recently, and after contacting Sky, they told me what needed to be done to remedy the problem and added that I wouldn't be charged for the event (which I thought was rather generous considering I'd missed only 5 minutes of action). I contrast this with a similar problem I had with ITV Digital, which I also own (I can't be without my Champions League football). Towards the end of the Deportivo La Coruna vs Manchester United match on the (£6.99 a month) ITV Sport Channel, a month or so back, on about the 85 minutes mark, I suddenly lost my picture, then it came back, only it kept losing sound and flashing on and off repeatedly before being over-run ith pink squares. I immediately contacted ITV Digital who didn't seem to know what the problem was, and just kept on requesting that I pull my scart lead out of the digi-box and then plug it back in. After three failed attempts at doing this, I explained to the guy on the end of the phone that this obviously isn't working and to my amazement, he then abandoned any techniques to remedy the problem, by saying that if I wanted a clear picture I should have put it onto the ITV Sport Channel three or four hours earlier. I then suggested that I may have wanted to watch something on another channel on that time, before he went suddenly silent for a moment, before suggesting that I switch the box off for an hour or so. This actually happened to remedy the
problem, but I was told that I couldn't receive any compensation for my troubles, despite the fact that I'd been forced to miss the vital final five minutes in which the game changed from a 1-0 United win to a 2-1 La Coruna victory. I did eventually receive the huge sum of £2 off of my next bill (at least it's something), but only after numerous phone calls complaining of the poor service and treatment I received from their helpdesk. The other obvious comparison that can be made between those two didital platforms (and between Sky and many cable operators) is that for £29.99 with Sky I get a lot more channels than I do with ITV Digital, and that now includes ITV and ITV2, which makes it an even more attractive prospect in my eyes, to people who have no outdoor ariel. The only thing missing now from Sky Digital (from a purely football point of view) is the ITV Sport Channel, which they are apparently negotiating now, with ITV. Once they have that I would say that Sky is undoubtedly the ultimate choice for the football fan like myself, but with sports channels aside, Sky still offers much, much more choice than any other platform out there for the best price.
INTRODUCTION Love them or hate them Sky have always been providing a great service. Years of experience have obviously been put to good use with their new mini dish. Gone are the days of huge white dishes that made your house look like a military research facility because this is the dawn of a new era, the mini dish is here. BUYING The first thing you will notice when buying your dish is the amount of packages available. I expect there is one to suit the needs of anyone out there. All the prices are good and if you subscribe you will pay monthly although there is the option of buying the dish for £100 and receiving only the free to air channels plus all the usual services. Hopefully the shop staff will help and give you the handy chart and booklet that provides information on all the services you get with the dish. Once you have decided on which packages suits your needs you will have to pay for your dish and go home and wait. Installation is the next step on your way to total entertainment. This is very quick and is done with the minimum of fuss. It was only a matter of days before someone came to fit ours and it took about an hour to fit it. Something that impressed me was that the installer brought more than one actual box with him in case one didn’t work he could try another. THE BOX AND REMOTE Smart and sleek is how I would describe the look of the box. There are two card slots, one for channels and one for more interactive features. To use these you just have to phone through and order them to get some added bonuses. One of the problems is that it has to be plugged into a phone socket for 1 year and Sky will send check signals down the line to check you don’t break this part of the contract. I am unsure why this is but I suspect it so you are more tempted to use the interactive features because it’s so easy to do. The remote is big and chunky and has a handy rubber coating making it easy to grip onto. Breaking th
e thing by accident would be very difficult to do, as it’s so solid and strong. Although I wouldn’t suggest testing its strength as a replacement is probably quite expensive. All the buttons are chunky and the whole thing is easy to use. SERVICES AND FEATURES One of the most impressive things about this is the amount of things available other than just channels. Sky active allows you to shop, bet, play games, bank and many other things. Shopping is great and there are more shops joining all the time. At the moment some of the best shops are in the high street section and include Woolworth’s, WH Smith and Electronics Boutique. I haven’t used any of the banking options yet but find the games quite entertaining especially as there are prizes to be won. Another great thing is you can order a pizza through your TV so a lazy night in is easily achieved. Disappointingly the Email service uses a sky digital only service so you can only email other sky owners. Now an option to use Yahoo email has been added though and I suspect more will be available in the future. Sky box office eliminates the need for video shops as you can order a new release through your Digi Box for only £3 and they are shown all the time. Pay per view events like boxing matches can also be ordered in the same way. All these features are free of charge except connecting to the Internet and are included in the option of buying the box for £100 as well as all the subscription options CHANNELS Hundreds of channels are available and there are so many great things to watch. Some of the main channels are the news ones. Many are there including CNN and Sky news as well as some other well known names. You will always find a film to watch because you can get lots of channels and also the box office service. Another genre that is well provided for is music. So many channels are there for this and most are interactive. You will find so many channels and something f
or everyone is there even different religions and languages are catered for. New channels are becoming available and there are no complaints about this part of Sky. EVALUATION Even the fact that this is a relatively new service doesn’t stop it from being a totally complete package. You can never get bored if you have everything this has to offer. The only real problem is the Internet and email services aren’t great but they are bound to improve as so much already has. Sky keep on adding and improving the digital service and soon it will be the only worthy option. Something to keep in mind is that you could become a fat and unhealthy hermit as you can live from this machine. Food can be delivered to your door; you can manage your financing and get entertained 24 hours of the day. This should certainly come with a health warning.
BskyB have by far the best range of channels on their digital service. I love the films, documentaries, The History Channel (history graduate - someone has to be!), all but the Pay Per View stuff which I do not use. I love Open (the online service), it's a great way to surf. The problems come when you call in for some help on Customer Services! This is not a free call and I have had to wait for up to 20 minutes to be answered. The people on the end of the phone are generally Scottish - a great accent to listen to, always sounds interested and helpful in my opinion. The problem is that they do not ever seem trained enough to help. I've had to do about 10 Digital Reboots with staff not wanting to put me through to technical - they work about 50% of the time. The worst experience was when I went from Analogue to Digital - Charged twice, taken into overdraft, had it explained that they had to do this as I was paying for crossover and a month in advance! I couldn't beleive it. They did not refund the £20 I was charged for going overdrawn at the bank, they were trying to get me off the phone as quick as possible and they were all in all very unhelpful. It left a bitter taste in my mouth as I've always been loyal to the company. I'm now considering changing supplier at the end of the contract due to this hassle I've had. They need to sort themselves out and soon - I know a few people who have been in the same boat as me and it is not an impressive way to run such a huge business.
Having had sky analogue for over 2yrs and then changing to digital, I just wish I had changed earlier. There is no question that the picture quality is better and that there are more channels to view. For the same money that I was paying to receive analogue, I now receive many, many more channels. And what is even better is that there are still many more to come. The service is constantly expanding. Agreed, extreme weather conditions are liable to freeze your picture and occasionally bring you the message 'no signal is being received', but when one compares this to the sparklies found with analogue during a mild downpour.... The main advantage is the availability of Sky digital, no matter where you live in the UK, you should have no problems (unlike their wannabee competitor). The only major draw back is that sky control your viewing box a little to much - there are frequecies available that transmit channels that are not listed in the sky guide.
Until two nights or so ago, I had been an extremely enthusiastic supporter of Sky TV or BSkyB or whatever the hell it's called these days, but then something happened which changed all that. The normal channel went dead and an ominous blue screen came up, bearing the ominous legend 'No satellite signal being received." Now, I wasn't unduly worried at first because this sort of thing had happened before, so I did the normal thing of switching the digibox off at the wall and whipping out the Sky viewing card and then switching it back on, but no luck this time. So I rang up the Sky customer service line on 08702 404040 and after going into the queue and going through the normal 'Press 1 for..." routine I eventually got a real live human being and told him what the problem was. He talked me through it and showed me how to check whether there really was any signal or not and unfortunately there wasn't. So what can I do, I asked him. "Did you take out the extended warranty at Currys when you took Sky on?" (It had been a free dish and box when we took on the Sky contract.) "No, we didn't." "Well, we can send out an engineer, but you'll have to pay the all day callout charge of £60." "You what?" "Well, you can either do that or look through your local telephone directory and see if you could find an local engineer." Bloody hell, I was furious and Mrs D was absolutely beside herself. You see if you don't take out the extended warranty when you take the box you're left with no rights and they were as good as laughing at me. In the end, we managed to find a local company that did a deal where you can take out insurance for £5 a month and they'll come out and fix it with no further costs. Now that's still sixty quid a year, but at least you're fully covered. Also, a bit later
in the evening, I tried the box again and it had started working again. What a relief! Still, it looks like we're going to have to take advantage of that service in the near future anyway. Now, I had heard that this was Sky's attitude quite recently and that there is a tendency for the digiboxes to start failing when they've passed their warranty period. We'd had it a couple of years, but surely these things should last a lot longer than that. Okay, whinge time over. Let's move onto the actual Sky TV offering.... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We're still on a deal that costs £29.99 per month, although we've just been notified that it's going to be going up by a fiver in the near future. I still think that's really excellent value, although Mrs D has threatened several times to have it taken out. Still, I'm too quick witted to let her get the better of me. For that you get Channel 5 you can actually see, BBC 1, BBC 2, No ITV (although you can get it through your aerial), Channel 4, Sky One, UK Gold, Bravo, Sky Movies, Sky Sports, and loads and loads of others. I'm far too lazy to go to the trouble of listing the full offering, because I'm not sure it'd add that much to this opinion, but rest assured you get more than 100 and most of them are really good, although for most people the attraction really boils down to the sport and the movies. The dave27 clan is no different, although I like Sky One, UK Gold and dotTV and Mrs D is a bugger for watching biographies on The History Channel. Of course, the dave27-ettes insist on Kids TV and it's the devil's own job to get the precious zapper off Lewis. We were well miffed when we had to put up with just the five terrestrial channels when the box was malfunctioning because you just get used to having a shedload of variety. We regularly have a big bag of popcorn to catch the Sky Premier movie on a Sa
turday night and Sunday ain't Sunday without the Match. The couch potato syndrome is obviously setting in rapidly as we enter the grim darkness of middle age. Oh well, who gives a flying one... I do object, however, with the move in recent months for more pay per view with things like Sky Box Office and Premiership Plus, because it looks like they're just going to gradually switch you up to really premium payment rates, all part of the Rupert Murdoch masterplan for world domination I guess. One other point which is worth mentioning here is that when you take out a Sky contract you can also take out their SkyTalk telephone deal as well. You can get 40% of your telephone calls on up to two different lines by just adding 140 before any number you call. This is a good deal and has saved us quite a lot of money. It's quite a nice bonus, really. Okay, I only really wanted to drop by to comment on the customer service issue and warn you good folks out there, so I'm not going to pad this op out anymore. Suffice to say, Sky TV is good, their customer service and customer promise leaves a lot to be desired.
Sky Digital, where shall I begin? I've been a Sky customer almost since they first began and for the years that I used the analogue service I was happy with them in the main, until about three years ago. So I'd like to tell you a little story. Some of you may know that I used to live in North Wales and a couple of years ago decided to flit back to Scotland. As I had enough to do without climbing ladders and fiddling around to get the dish down myself, I decided to use the moving service. This cost me roughly £25 if I remember rightly. It's a simple idea, you tell them where you live and where you are going to move to, pay the money and they collect the dish from your old address and fit it at your new one. All you have to do is remember to take your set top box with you. I had to wait a couple of weeks for them to come and do this for me and so to help out and make thing easier I got everything ready, in that I drilled all the holes needed to run the cables through the loft, down through the ceiling and through the wall to where the dish would be sighted. So all the engineer had to do when he turned up was run the cable through them put the dish up and connect it all together. Now, I moved from one two-storey flat into another one so I didn't foresee any problems, then along came the 'engineer.' Engineer:" I'm sorry sir I can't go up into your loft we're not covered by insurance for things like that." Me: "What do you mean, you must be joking aren't you?" Engineer: "Um, no I'm not, its err, too risky we're not allowed to, all I can do is run the cable through the flat but not up through the loft, it's because of the floor you see, being unstable to walk on." Me: "But I'm disabled, I can't get up there, my brother came round to get it all ready for you, it'll not take you a minute to just run the c
able through, anyway you must be insured to climb the ladders to fit the dish."(A little white lie there about being disabled but I wanted to find out what he would do next, there are lots of real disabled customers out there.) Engineer: "I'm sorry you'll have to take that up with Sky." Me: "I've paid good money for this I may as well have got someone else to do it." At this point the engineer turned into a computerised robot, similar to the ones found on the other end of Sky's telephone help lines, in that he just kept repeating the same lines over and over again. It was a miracle that I didn't commit 'Satellite Engineer Rage'. I didn't even swear at him and that was another miracle. After he had left I complained to Sky but got the same answers from them, but in the end I did get my money refunded. A year later, fed up with the sparkly reception every time it rained and lured by the prospect of a crystal clear picture, not to mention the attractive sign up deal of £40 for the dish set top box and installation I went for a Sky digital package. This time two monkeys, sorry I mean engineers came along to install the system. By this time I had moved to a little cottage and this time there didn't seem to be a problem. They were a nice couple of lads and the whole thing was done in about fifteen minutes. Three days later I had no reception at all, I called Sky and they made an appointment for someone to come out for a look. This time a different man appeared. He checked the dish and found that it had only been fitted finger tight. So he tightened it up properly, checked the set up, and off he went on his merry way. All went well for about eight months; I had a crystal clear picture and was quite happy with the extra channels. Then the picture began to freeze. At first it would reset if I turned it off and left it for a whole minute before
turning it back on. Then after a while that was no good either. Meanwhile I saw a piece on BBC Watchdog about many other customers who were experiencing the same problems, so again I rang sky and insisted they came out to it while it was still covered under the twelve month warranty, time was running out on that score and I wasn't going to pay for a new one. To be fair to them this time they did replace it but I wonder how many people they managed to fob off with their re-booting advice. Again things went very smoothly for a time until I moved again earlier this year. I didn't bother with the moving service is time; all I needed was to change the address on my account details. So I did this as soon as I moved and had it all connected up. One day just about a month later, I turned on the TV to find I had been cut off! I got straight on the phone to be told that there was a problem with my bank details and I would have to pay by cheque instead of the usual direct debit. This would incur an administration fee of £2! So on the phone we ran through the security spiel and then found that they had the wrong account number on their computer all of a sudden, it was one number out, something like that. I had also called the bank to check if there was anything wrong that end, but there wasn't, everything was fine. I was re-connected with an apology and a promise to waive the £2 admin charge for that month. Marvellous! The next month the very same problem happened again! Dis-connected and a bill through the door complete with £2 slapped on the bottom for the aforementioned admin charges! The cheek of it. Another long and costly phone call to rectify the same problem as before. One month later and yes,you've guessed it the same thing again, so this time I rang them up and told them where they could stuff it! I wrote the cheque for the balance minus the £2. It was their fault why so shoul
d I pay? About a fortnight later the telephone rang with an offer of six months half price if I re-connected. I gave them the answer they deserved though I can't write it here, there may be ladies and children reading! Another two weeks went by and they came back for a repeat performance! I've since had a couple of phone calls from them, as they couldn't find a record of my payment (even though the cheque had been cashed already), asking for the cheque number. I told them where to get off as they'd tried to charge me £2 for their administration charges they could bloody well do it themselves. Silly me the next stage in this epic saga of doom is the letters from a debt-collecting agency going by the name of Legal and Trade. Such a paltry amount and yet I didn?t even owe it! After the third threatening letter (By threatening I mean court action) I rang them up to and gave them the cheque number over the phone as proof of payment. In the letter they had stated that I wasn't to contact Sky at that stage but could probably re-connect once this payment was cleared! AS IF! I've heard no more from either party and neither do I want to ever again. They're a shoddy outfit as far as I?m concerned and I'll never waste my time or money on them again. I wouldn't even take their lousy service in a gift! Thanks for reading; I hope that wasn't too long for you! Hamish.
Have been a user of my television for 25 years, i was a little reluctant to start paying on top of my tv license, but my husband persuaded me that we needed it. A salesman was cold calling one day, and we decided that we should take the plunfge an d try it, well at half price installation you would'nt get a better deal. The dish and receiver were installed within two weeks, and now i would not be without it, i even agreed to have the sports channel!. i must say also that the Discovery channel is the best, you can watch it all day without getting bored. well worth the subscription fee. cost per month basic package £10 i think you only gat about six or so channels package 2 £18 you get the majority of channels about 80 or so Sports package plus package 2 is £28 you get all sports even premiership football Movie Pacakge £32 plus package 2 is four channels of movies
We liked our analogue system so we kept it when we went digital. The digital service is quite good with all the different documentary and news channels. The news channels are quite good at the moment with a few UK chans BBC24, Sky News and ITN. Complemented with the independent Euronews and the US CNN. We like Euronews cos its all film footage and is supposedly international with no allegence to any country. The entertainment channels are reasonable with all the new series that you expect. But when you start subscribing to all the sport and movie stuff the cost starts to get too high. Skytalk gets you forty percent off your phone bill and is well worth it. By the way we never had ours connected to the phone line and it works ok. The installation was a night mare, 3 visits from Sky installers couldn't get the dish aligned but eventually I demanded that they send a specialist or I'll throw it all in the dustbin, the specialist arrived and sorted it all out after laughing at how badly the Sky geezers had set it up!
Way back in the days on analogue rather than Digital my family began the magical ride of subscribing to Sky. 3 years later we are still with them and now on digital. The channels have risen, as has the price. We can’t really have any complaints about Sky, it is simply the best broadcaster around. The range of choice is simply amazing and although heavily advertised on, they really offer what many others simply cannot or maybe fail to provide. I am a massive fan of Football. Sky Sports offer the BEST coverage of football right from the games they show the way they do it. Superb features, great commentary really makes Sunday afternoons a time for beer and food with the football on the box. The interactive features that Sky offer are again ahead of their time and it has taken other broadcasters a long time to catch up. Sky always seems to be many steps ahead of the competition when it comes to the programmes and features. Maybe this is because they continually invest our subscription money into new programmes and improving technology rather than put it in their pockets (BBC? I wouldn’t suggest such a thing) or maybe I’m too cynical. In terms of the quality of the picture, I admit it sometimes freezes up but very occasionally. Their Tech Support always sort you out (at a cost though I may add) and are friendly and helpful no matter what time you call them. The installation was easy and we had a really nice guy from Sky install ours, but he was brilliant and guided us through the process and made an excellent job of installing the dish and equipment. Its nice to know that you can get 24 hours news, sports, movies and entertainment for a realistically small price. Although this price does seem to keep rising year after year, so does the quality of programming and choice they provide. If its getting to expensive you can always drop a few subscription choices and just have the ones you want.
Like many people in the UK, we subscribe to a digital television service provider. In our case this is with Sky digital. The reasons for this were two-fold really: 1) Number of channels available. 2) The unavailability of OnDigital (or ITVDigital now) in our area. Recently however Sky have announced a new planned service called Sky+ (pronounced Sky plus) - so what is Sky+, will it benefit YOU and does it represent value for money? Lets take a look at the basic run-down of what you'll be getting. Imagine the scene, you've had a rough day at work, the car didn't start this morning (I'm relating to this already!) and to top it all, that girl you've fancied in the office for MONTHS has just told you she's already got a bloke! Never mind, you think to yourself, my favourite movie of ALL TIME is on a film channel tonight; I'll settle down, console myself and chill out for a while. You're primed, the Doritos' are at hand, the Stella is poured into your favourite frosty beer mug and the movie has just started, great - the worlds not so bad after all, who needs women and reliable cars - you've got films! Then, horror of horrors, the phone goes, following on from the usual hunt to find the handset (which is behind the Sofa again for some reason) you think 'OK, I'll tell whoever it is to call back, I won't miss much of the film but, sadly, it's your mother, and, lets face it, she could Witter on for Britain about anything forever! Before you know it, the film has ended and you're sat crying into the sofa at Your bad luck! Sky + hopes to help you avoid these catastrophic situations. What am I getting? Sky + replaces your existing digital receiver (set-top box) with a similar piece of kit, but some very important new features! Two into one will go! Inside the box are two receivers - this means that you can
watch two different Sky channels at the same time, so whilst the kids are watching Rugrats on the portable, your watching a football game on Sky Sports. You can also watch one program on one channel and record a different show on a different station at the same time! Personally for me this is already a huge plus! Ditch those videotapes! Inside the unit is a hard-drive just like in your home computer. Instead of taping a TV show onto tape, you can store the program onto the hard-drive inside the Sky+ receiver. The benefit to this of course is that you can jump immediately to any TV show that you have taped, no more fast forwarding/rewinding and because the program is stored onto the hard-drive there will never be a loss in quality over time that we find in VHS Did you set the machine? How many times have you went out for the night, only to realise that you forgot to set the video to tape the latest episode of your favourite show? Sky+ removes the chances of that happening for you! You can tell the machine to tape the same show every week, so it automatically tapes 'Friends' or whatever each week without you having to remember to do it! There's nothing on! Sky+ can also monitor the types of show you like watching and suggest programs you may enjoy. So for example, if you watch a lot of cookery shows, it'll flash up a warning and say 'The smug chef is about to start, would you like to watch or record another useful, if not essential feature here. Never miss out! One of the great features of Sky+ though is the ability to be able to pause a live TV show, let the machine tape it all, then resume watching whenever you want. Let me try to explain that a bit better. Say you watched the first ten minutes of a program, then the phone goes. By pressing the pause button, you pause the live TV picture you're watching and the machine immediately starts recording the show onto
the hard-drive. You can come back, press resume and pick up where you left off - just like pausing a video-tape or DVD and watching it right where you left off! How cool is that! At the moment Sky are estimating around 20 hours of recording time onto the machine. However, you can select the level of recording quality to that you can store more shows onto the machine but at a payoff of reduced image/sound quality. This is based on the size of the hard-drive in the machine that is storing your programs for you. I'm convinced though that you'll be somehow able to replace the hard-drive with one of much larger capacity, so that hopefully wouldn't be a problem. Sounds great up to now! It does doesn't it, but as with most new technology theres' a price (literally). The set-top box itself will cost around £300 which is an awful lot of money and this is enough to put many people (including myself) off from taking this up. You also need to add an additional cost to your current subscription price too. That's the deciding factor for us at the moment, it's simply too much money at present. Sadly I love gadgets and cool toys like this, but at the moment I'll be sticking to my VCR and DVD player! But, like all new technology it'll eventually come down in price (I hope!) I think this is the way of the future personally - VHS is just too ropy nowadays, tapes can be easily destroyed/lost and the quality degrades over time - this will eradicate that. Like I say, it’s a lot of money, you do get something VERY useful (by the sound of it) but at the moment I personally don’t think it represents real value for money. Thanks for reading and I hope you found it some use!
For years of holding out and hoping the sport and movies would some how miraculously return to terrestrial TV, I finally had Sky installed at the weekend. I must admit I have been very impressed so far. I tried to have Sky installed the week before through BOX CLEVER, but hey could not get the right day and where very rude when I contacted them to chase them up (opinion on DooYou under electrical offline shops). So I contacted Sky directly and asked for them to install the dish and they booked it for Friday the 13th, very ominous indeed. However, I was able to request morning or afternoon and on the day of the installation I received a call to say he would be round later on in the morning. He did turn up, installed the dish, explained the use of the digibox and was very friendly and quick. All very good and what you would hope for, but strange how many companies can not deliver this good type of customer services. So I was off and running flicking through my 600+ channels, and very difficult task it would seem if this was a normal terrestrial service and my thumb recoiled just at the thought of it. This however is the digital age and life is a lot easier. You are presented with a TV guide button on your remote which list the various type of programs available and you can select from, ALL, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, SPORT, KIDS, NEWS, SPECIALIST, A-Z. Pick your choice and see the channels available under that topic and on at the present time. Then you can scroll through the next weeks programming and select the info button to read reviews on the forthcoming programs. Finally once you have selected your program and are watching you can then scan through a small preview panel on your screen of other programs available. This is just one way of selecting a program there are many more ways of choosing which allow you to break it all down it small and smaller sub categories, so many in fact it would take to long to list them all. So I watched a cou
ple of movies and some old TV programs like the A-TEAM. Then I got to play with the interactive side of Sky when I voted Josh off BIG BROTHER and switched between cameras in the house. Then the next day I watched a rugby match on Sky Sports interactive. I switched onto the matched and selected REF LINK and was able to hear all the decision made by the REF, and a bit shouting and swearing of the players. The REF LINK is brilliant as it allows to understand the REF's reasons for his decisions. Plus there was also, Statistics and Australian commentary (Loins Vs Australian) to select from. Later I switched into OPEN Skys email and shopping services which all seem to work very nicely for what it is, but I think I will stick to my PC for surfing the web and shopping. However if you don't have a PC then it will do the job, but will you probably need the key board if you want to use it a lot. It did have a go cinema listings section which will be a lot quicker than turning on the computer etc. Of course I should also mention that most programs seem to screen on Sky or Satellite channels first such as Friends, Buffy, Angel, X-files, Star Trek etc etc. Plus the of course you have your teletext services which are the same as before, but you can also get Satellite text services on certain channels which seem to offer the same services but in a different format. There is also a program planner available which will reminder you or auto matically switch over to your program when it starts. This wasn't working on mine so I called up the Sky helpline and was informed by a very nice Scottish women that all digiboxes are currently being software updated via the phoneline (Skydigibox should always be connected to a phone socket), and thus should appearing in a week or 2, if not I should call back and they will do it there and then. So overall very good, I still have to try the pay per view channels such as Sky Box office and get
to use the program planner. At the end up the day Sky have definitely pushed forward the boundaries up Television and will continue to do so. All that other companies like BBC, ITV regions, NTL, OnDigital can do is follow in its wake.
Theres no doubt about it. Sky digital is the best thing to hit the TV since TV itself. Ive had it for about 3 years now and as an avid TV fan, I try not to remember what terrestrial TV was like! Quite simply, the three things that Sky digital brings to you are choice, picture quality and interactive services. ---Choice--- This is where Sky really comes into its own. At the last count (not that I am counting) there are at least 150 channnels to choose from, ranging from sport to news, to documentarys to entertainment. These are all handily categorised on the onscreen menu and can be either selcted from the menu or by typing in the number of the channel (if you can remember it!). Now Im not saying that all of this choice is good material. There are a lot of crap programs particulrly on some of the more alternative channels. But if you like sport, movies, classic 80's programs and new american stuff then sky is definately for you. In terms of comparison to On-digital & NTL, Sky kicks them into touch in terms of choice. ---Picture quality--- What can I say. It rocks!! Forget lines across your screen when high pressure starts interfering with your normal TV set. Digital is crystal clear. The one thing I will say is that to take real advantage you need to have a digital TV set (I have a Sony WEGA)and control the picture through a scart socket. You occasionally have to reset the digibox because Sky can give interference (in the form of bright coloured blocks on the screen) but this is a small price to pay for what it gives you. ---Interactive services--- This is one area of sky that started off slowly but is now blossoming. It is quite simply revolutionary. The sports arena are where this really comes into its own. Being able to watch a football macth from 4 different camera angles which you choose!! Get information whenever you want it. And with Wimbledon recently, being able to choose which of 5 matches
to watch. It all adds to the entertainment. The interactive Open services are now coming good to. There is shopping, games (if you get bored of watching you can start playing) and movie reviews. You can even bank on-line and place a bet! But it doesnt stop there. The newest piece of functionality is probably one of the most useful. The Personal Planner option on the menu screen allows you to select a program to watch later on and sky automatically turns the channel over for you when the program is about to start! Now some of you may call me lazy, but this means that you can set your VCR to record a program on another sky channel at a certain time and you dont have to be there to change the channel (one of the big drawbacks of Sky is that you can only record from the one channel which the TV has to be set to). All in all if your a TV fan like me and you want quality, choice and top notch technology, forget the rest and reach for the sky!
Sky TV. When it was first launched it was like the old commodore Amiga. You had to have it or be left behind. The system at the time of its release was limited, and BSkyB invested millions to improve the service (at a substantial cost to the consumer) and buy all those great progammes from around the world. So, we all went mad and forked out a large sum of our wages every month for more channels. Then Sky decide that this service is to be upgraded, again at an additional cost to the consumer, meaning that you still pay the same for the channels, but you have to pay to upgrade your system. If you can't afford or do not wish to go digital with sky, then you have one choice. Lose about five channels every month. So, it was the decision of my household to finally give in to the constant harrasments of Sky, recieved through letters and countless annoying phone calls, and upgrade to digital. The decision was actually made after we only had two movie channels and a load of German stuff left that we could actually watch! So, after spending our thirty pounds and suffering the inconvenience that Sky provided by the cowboys that installed our system, we finally had the wonderous Sky digital to play with. We now have about twelve movie channels from Sky, which is the main attraction that they can offer. However, why does there seem to be only twenty films ever shown on these channels? The films shown in the day are merely repeated a few hours later, and the prime time movies are simply repeated the following day (indeed everyday for about a month) on a different channel. I thought that the digital service from sky was supposed to be about CHOICE. The only choice that you have is to pick the movie that you actually want to see, and then pay £2.99 just for the privelage. Either that or watch one of America's TV movies, which always seem to be about the same thing - Mid life crises with a little bit of murder. And sport. Sky, it has to
be said, is fantastic for its coverage of football. But what about boxing. Can sky really expect people to pay £30 for their service per month and then fork out £15 just for about 30 seconds of boxing. Pay per view. For the moguls it's just what I like to call PaperView - just watching the notes roll in..... Okay, I have to admit that Sky does offer some advantages over other services. The Simpsons and Friends before any other channel for example, and as I mentioned earlier, the great coverage of the football season. But it has to be pointed out that the BBC still makes the best programmes in the country, and at least there's not the one thing that is worst about sky; something that is even worse than all those shopping channels: ADVERTS. Whenever I wake up in the morning, or get home from work and put on the TV and press that TV Guide button on my chunky remote; I can guarantee that on about 99% of the channels available will be about ten minutes of adverts! All selling the same uselss rubbish that we don;t need, and all selling us the programmes that we just don't want to see. And just exactly how many shows do we have to have thrown at us about Ibiza? Shows that glamourise the use of drugs and the partaking in unsafe and unpredictable sex? Shows that contain all of those things that as a film maker I am not allowed to recreate in fiction on the screen, but that Sky are able to get past the censors, and into the minds of those children that we try so hard "to protect"...... I just don't know. DooYoo?