Here in the Big Issue column
we take a regular look at the current issues that surround Sky+ and give
our comment and analysis.
- Sky+ Dual Recording by Callum MacFarlane
|Posted on Sunday 9th
been a long wait, but the anticipation is nearly over.
change to Sky+ since it's launch is a matter of weeks away.
until now, we have had to choose at times to watch old fashioned TV through the
Sky+ 2nd tuner, and not from the hard disk, including sitting through something
abhorrent to Sky+ users, commercials (pah -what a waste of 3 minutes), whilst
Sky+ is recording something else for us. The time of juggling the priorities of
2 programmes that clash will come to an end.
The software update that
delivers this "killer feature" will long be remembered as the day "Sky+ came of
age". And not a day too soon.
A huge channel choice is excellent for
the average Sky subscriber, but it is a "double-edged sword" for Sky+ owners,
especially those with families in the household. The number of times in any
week that that this household wants to record 2 programmes at the same time is
quite high, especially between 7pm and 10pm each weekday.
In fact, the
beauty of Sky+ has made it -its own worst enemy. Programmes that we as a family
would have in the past quite happily watched, and perhaps recorded other
programmes on at the same time into the Sky+ personal planner, have now taken
priority so that Coronation Street, Eastenders and the like are always recorded
as Series Links because it's just so damn convenient. We even skip storylines
that we find dull and just concentrate on scenes with a story we want to see.
This constant recording of our favourite soaps and series is great for
effectively time shifting these shows, but the number of other programmes that
we effectively have to miss is quite staggering.
taken the Sky+ Development Team quite some time to bring this amazing feature
to the masses. The Pace manufactured Sky+ box has always had the capacity to
record 2 programmes by the very fact that it has 2 tuners on board. However the
tricky part has been designing a user interface that is easy to understand and
that won't result in mass complaints to Sky if programmes don't get recorded as
The test of the new feature will be in the using. But already questions do
arise: Will tuner 1 and tuner 2 be dynamic and be able to utilise the software
so that if the tuner that you normally view Sky on is recording, but the other
tuner has finished recording, will we be able watch live TV on Sky? If
Eastenders overruns by 5 minutes to 20:05 and tuner 1 records it all, will a
programme on another channel that would have naturally been recorded by tuner 1
at 20:00 then switch to tuner 2, if so what happens if you're in the middle of
watching a film on Sky Movies? Will a message pop up? Will it just stick with
tuner 1 and miss the start of the other programme? The scope for confusion
But if Dual Recording is a menu choice to be switched on
in the Services Menu, then perhaps it need only be used by people who know what
they're doing. Dual recording is going to be straight forward for one person
households because there is little chance of anybody messing up your recordings
when 2 programmes are recording at the same time. Will this be the same for
households with couples, and families? Probably not.
You cannot teach a
4 year old responsibility of advanced features of Sky+. Yes young kids can use
the EPG & remote controls no problem. But when warning messages start to
pop up when the child tries to change to CBBC for the Teletubbies, your 2 tuner
recording of Hollyoaks and Star Trek The Next Generation is in jeopardy! Unless
that is of course Sky introduced PIN number confirmation for channel changes
when 2 programmes are being recorded at once, that would get around the child
pressing the normal buttons.
And for adults too, the action of entering the PIN
no. would at least gain the acknowledgement that they are screwing up
somebody's else's viewing pleasure. This may even make them check with other
household members that it is ok to stop that recording of Footballers Wives so
that Scooby Doo can be watched.
might ask why all households don't invest in a 2nd digibox and mirror
subscription to cut down on the potential channel changes, but again the Sky+
box has brought about its own problems. This household so enjoys the
convenience of time shifted, commercial free TV through Sky+ that watching
shows live on our digibox is a 2nd rate activity that only occurs in extreme
circumstances. When you've used the best - and that is what Sky+ is, it's very
difficult for people to accept an inferior service such a standard digibox.
In fact this household would like a Sky+ box in every room. It's now
the problem that's there's so much great stuff to watch that we've recorded on
our Sky+ that although certain parties watch recorded shows that interest them,
there's not enough hours left in the day to watch the shows I want to watch. I
currently have 14 Stargate SG-1 episodes to watch, but heaven knows when I'll
have time to watch them.
If Sky did an offer that
gave a 2nd Sky+ subscription that was reduced - say £5 - I'd buy another
Sky+ tomorrow. Then we could all watch different recorded programmes at the
until then, roll on Dual Recording, it will be great to have all we want
recorded, my query to the Sky+ development team is just when will they give us
that feature that gives us more hours in the day?
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