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#24Days: Sky Fail....

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2009 | No Comments

What is up with Sky+? Two days in a row now, it has failed to record programmes I’ve marked as “Record”.

I’m a reasonable guy, and I’m technical enough to understand that beneath all those millions of lines of code that makes these devices work that sometimes things can go wrong from time to time – a glitch every now and again is almost inevitable – but two glitches in two days in a row to me sounds like a much deeper problem.

The Sky+ recording service is one of those services that they promote heavily; “the ability to watch what you want, when you want” is the attraction of the service and the reason why most people rely on the service to view the shows they want, at the times that are convenient to them.

When the record fails though, the service suddenly transforms from being very useful to very annoying and frustrating – especially when you’re really looking forward to watching said recording.

My question is why does Sky+ fail to record? The EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) knows when the shows are broadcast and the machines knows that it needs to record that programme – and yet – it doesn’t take a copy of that broadcast and store it on your hard disk. How difficult could it be?

I run Microsoft Media Centre and I can record shows in just the same way as Sky+, yet I never get a failed recording. It’s the exact same process, only one works every time. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Sky+ and the only thing I ask is that it records those items I mark as record……every time!

In the US the Hulu (on demand, online TV service), is revolutionising the way TV is watched online – much the same as the BBC iPlayer can be used here in the UK – only across a much larger selection of popular TV shows and channels. Sky has an online service too and I’ve managed to use it once to watch an episode of “Lost” on my computer, but after reinstalling my PC, it seems that you can’t reinstall the Sky Player on your computer without first calling up customer services to reset your account – because you can only install the player on one nominated PC.

Now I get that Sky need to protect their programmes and customers subscriptions and the ability to watch Sky on multiple machines could cause people to share their username and password with non-subscribed customers, but in a world where households have multiple computers and TV is naturally shifting online anyway, why haven’t they changed their model to allow one log on per household and allow that logon to only access its programme library from only one place; if that logon attempts to logon from somewhere else, the other connection is severed? Surely it can’t be that difficult to set up and it would make a whole lot more sense than having to nominate only one PC.

It would also allow for a Sky Player via a mobile phone device. Again, further strengthening Sky’s position in the online world, fending off the competition from sites such as YouTube and Hulu.

Perhaps I’m moving too fast – if they could just fix the “Failed” recordings that would do me fine!

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