SKY - Your Home for the Latest Sky News, Sports & Entertainment (Part 2)

10/1/2013 11:02:43 AM

Catch-up and on-demand

Catch-up and on-demand content is one area Sky used to struggle in, but it's recently put a lot more effort into it. There are multiple ways to get on-demand content. Sky Showcase is an optional service that you can disable from the main interface. This wakes your box up at night and records a Sky-selected range of programs, which you can then watch in broadcast quality at your leisure. Programs are typically available for a few weeks, before they’re deleted automatically.

Sky Sports

Sky Sports

Relatively new is TV via the internet, with all the major channels (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five) now available. For this to work you have to hook your Sky+ HD box up to the internet via its Ethernet port. If your router’s nowhere near your set-top box, HomePlug is a good alternative. Sky also sells a tiny adaptor, which converts the Ethernet output of your box to Wi-Fi, so you don’t need cables at all. Sky also has its own catch-up service available, which covers Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Movies, Sky Sports and Sky Arts.

What makes this different to other services is that programs aren’t streamed live, but are downloaded at broadcast quality, including HD, to your set-top box and saved in your Planner. This means that they look and act like ‘real’ recordings and aren’t reliant on internet speeds for quality. As with online catch-up services, downloaded shows have an expiry date and are wiped from your box when the deadline is hit. We also noticed that you currently can’t search for BBC iPlayer programs using Sky’s search facility. This is a rights issue, which Sky is currently working on.

Sky plus box

Sky plus box

On top of all that is the Sky Library, which contains box-sets of old TV programs and some films that you can download. These are free, but you can also buy more recent and premium content from the Sky Store.

Apps and mobile

This is one area where Sky really leads the way. It’s had the Sky+ app for smartphones for ages, allowing you to set recordings from anywhere in the world, with requests taking up to 20 minutes to hit your home bat.

However, more recently, you can now use the same iOS and Android apps to manage your but remotely when you’re on the same network. This means you can set recordings, manage your Planner, choose what to watch and then control playback all from your app without having to delve into the main interface For managing recordings and searching using the onboard keyboard alone, this app is incredible.

Then there’s Sky Go. This iOS, Android, Windows and Xbox app lets you watch TV over the internet, wherever you are It has live channels to let you see what's on now, including all the sports and most of the movie channels, Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Fat and Sky Arts 1. The only restriction is that you can only watch the channels available through your TV package. You can also watch a decent selection of catch-up TV from Sky’s channels, but not from terrestrial channels.

Sky’s apps on mobile

Sky’s apps on mobile

New is Sky Go Extra, which costs $7.63 a month extra, but lets you download content to your device so that you can watch it on the move. However, the standard version for streaming only is free to anyone with a Sky account and TV subscription.

How to get it

To get Sky you need to have a satellite dish installed, which isn’t always possible on some properties particularly those in conservation areas. Each Sky+ HD bar requires two cables to be run from the satellite dish: one per tuner. It may also be more expensive no have the dish installed if special work needs to be done, such as fitting a dish to a high-rise block of flats.

All Sky+ HD boxes have no be connected to a telephone line although if you take a triple-play pack, you can get Sky no provide your broadband and telephone in one. However, no fully benefit from such deals your local exchange will need no have Sky’s broadband kit installed; check if yours does at

To get all the on-demand services, you have no takeout a Sky+ HD subscription, which costs an additional $15.63 a month over the SD channels. Prices start at $32.79 per month for the basic service and cost more if you want a wider range of channels and premium content, such as sports and movies. The package includes a free set-top bar, which you own: in other words, if it’s out of warranty and breaks, it’s your responsibility no pay for a new one. A second box can be bought for an additional fee (prices vary depending on the type of box) and connected to the same TV package for an additional $15.5 a month.

Sky’s planner is incredibly well organized

Sky’s planner is incredibly well organized

You can get free ADSL broadband (up no 20Mbit/s) with a 2GB download limit, provided you switch your landline no Sky for $22.12 per month fine rental. Unlimited usage at the same speeds costs $11.44 a month, while fiber (availability dependent on location) costs $30.51 a month.


Sky is not particularly cheap and having a satellite dish installed doesn’t suit every household, but the quality and range of its TV channels can’t be beaten. Sky also has the best apps for watching content or1 the go and its live control on the same network is brilliant. If you want premium channels and don’t live in a cable area, it’s the obvious choice, especially if you want get Sky Broadband. If you’re lucky enough to have the option of cable too then you’ll have no pick between more HD content and faster, cheaper high-speed internet.

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