Saturday, 08 February 2014
YouView vs Sky

2014-02-03T10-19-24_0I've been a Sky customer for over 11 years and while in the early years I didn't think much about shelling out near to £50 a month for all of the channels through the years, I realised how wasteful that had been seeing as I didn't watch most of them. I began by cutting back on the channels as much as Sky would let me getting my bill to about £23 a month.

If you're a Sky customer you'll be no stranger to Sky's offers, where they'd like to give you the movies or sports package for a large discount for 6 months or more. The problem comes when trying to cancel those channels. In the past I've been on the phone to the cancellation line for almost an hour trying to drop channels and with them suffering slow systems. Sky make it very easy to add new channels you can even do this online, however the functionality to remove channels was not made available online.

Don't get me wrong I have had no other problems with Sky through the years as a service and I have found it a reliable service. I even managed to save money by learning how to service my own satellite dish without taking out a service contract. However I couldn't help but be fascinated by BT's YouView option. BT give you the option of a YouView box along with 18 other channels among them SyFy, Universal and Fox which were some of the channels we seemed to watch the most on Sky. All of this would only cost me £7 a month added onto my existing broadband package. Previously I had been put off BT's service in the past because you couldn't record these extra channels which were sent to you over your broadband connection. After an announcement was made that these channels were recordable, I took the plunge and ordered the BT TV service and ran it alongside Sky for a few months to compare them and to start recording my shows on the new box.

The comparison 
It took me a bit of getting used to the interface on the YouView box but after a while it started to make sense. It also came across as more intuitive compared to the Sky program interface, the ability to go back in time on the planner and watch shows that had already been aired was a brilliant idea. Recording shows was simple enough and so was recording a series of a show.

On Demand Shows
2014-02-03T10-45-43_0Both boxes provide on demand content and there is no competition when it comes to the latest content Sky does win hands down. That's not to say BT's "BT Player" service doesn't have an impressive catalogue however quite a lot of the on demand content is older and much of it has probably been removed from Sky's catalogue already.

But wait! Is that Sky in the On Demand section on the YouView box I see? It is indeed! So while you have access to BT Player in the On Demand section on the YouView box from BT which features all the on demand shows BT have sourced you also have access to content from BBC iPlayer, ITV, 4OD, Channel 5, MilkShake, NOW TV, Sky, Dave and S4C.

The Sky Store player in the on demand section is basically giving you access to pay per view movies from Sky. If you're looking for the latest movie releases you're more than likely going to find them in here before they reach the BT Player Box Office section. Sky Store funnily enough actually seems to work better on the YouView box than it does on Sky's own box. The Sky Store is also available separately on other services.

What about NOWTV?
NOW TV is also a service available from Sky basically providing Sky's regular content over broadband (at a price). Don't get too excited though the NOW TV player on the YouView box does not have the ability to stream live content from NOW TV as it does on their website or via the Xbox such as Sky Atlantic or Sky One but Sky does mention they are working with YouView to make this available. For now the only content you can get off NOWTV on YouView is Sky Movies. I'll be writing a separate article about NOWTV and their dedicated NOWTV Box later.

Other on Demand Content
And as usual the other on demand players such as iPlayer, itv Player etc are freely available on the YouView box as they are via a web browser on your PC. I will admit I have only made use of BBC iPlayer and 4 On Demand and have had no problems so far with the quality of the service.

Anything Else?
I have found the YouView Humax box provided by BT reliable and haven't had too many problems with it. I have only had one issue watching a SkyStore film which kept on stuttering, the issue was corrected by quickly resetting the box by holding down the power button on the front for 8 seconds.

I suppose I will find out soon enough if I will end up regretting my decision to drop Sky. Only time will tell Smile

posted on Saturday, 08 February 2014 14:28:20 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 26 July 2012
Is YouView too late?

YouView has taken an incredibly long time to launch. The idea behind YouView I believe is a brilliant one, however I can't help but think they're a little late to the market and when you see what they have to offer you can't help but think ".oh is that it?"


Don't get me wrong its nice having a set top box that enables you to watch on demand content from your TV but the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5 have been available from the XBOX 360 (£174) and PlayStation 3 (£187) for several months now. It makes you wonder if anyone will shell out £299 for the YouView set top box. Look at all the new SmartTV's out there that already have the above mentioned services built in or available to download as apps and you end up scratching your head wondering if its really worth it. The majority of the content that YouView boasts to have besides the ones I have mentioned above are freely available right now if you have Digital TV. There is no need for a set top box. You are basically just getting the ability to watch the above on demand content as extra. 

Enter Sky's new service which will be added to YouView called NowTV and all of a sudden the above starts to look a little more viable. While NowTV is currently only a movie service, Sky will later be offering Sky Sports and content from its flagship channels Sky1, Sky Atlantic and Sky Living. Granted if you are a Sky subscriber and have an Xbox you're probably already seeing some of this content on Sky Player. The one problem there is you have to be a Sky subscriber to get to that content and as always some shows are blocked on the live Sky Channels on Xbox because they don't hold the digital rights to stream it over IPTV. It makes you wonder if we will see the same issue taking place if they end up streaming live Sky channels over YouView?

Its important where you get YouView

Look closer at the offers for YouView available from BT and Talk Talk as opposed to buying one solo and plugging it in. Suddenly things start to get a bit clearer, not all YouView offers are equal. Get a set top box from Talk Talk for YouView and with an additional "boost" you can get some of the Sky Channels without the need for a dish and a subscription with Sky. It appears TalkTalk will be offering the service they currently used to offer on TalkTalk TV in addition to YouView content which is great news for TalkTalk customers.

BT appear to be offering the same content from BT Vision to people who get a YouView box with them. However looking at BT's line up I prefer the selection of content and channels that appear to be available from TalkTalk. The dilemma there is I prefer getting my broadband from BT instead of TalkTalk.

Over the coming months it will be interesting to see how this pans out. I'm also interested to see what Sky does with its content. In the past they've always been interested in owning the platform and the rights to the content instead of sharing their content with other platforms for a fee.

posted on Thursday, 26 July 2012 09:03:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 02 April 2012
Sky Anytime+ with any broadband

If you haven't already seen it. Sky Anytime+ is available without the need to sign up for Sky Broadband.

I managed to sign up to it over the weekend. However I did have a few teething issues with the Sky+ HD box not being properly registered at Sky. However after phoning up Sky they managed to sort out the issue and after a few minutes I was seeing Sky Anytime+ content on my Sky+ HD box through my BT Broadband.

posted on Monday, 02 April 2012 20:23:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 03 July 2010
The technology push to your living room

I've been reading articles about Google TV, Microsoft, Sony, BT, Sky and (now) Apple with interest regarding their push to your living room to put content on your TV.  There's a hell of a lot of content on the web and the age old issue of watching this content conveniently on your TV instead of having to fire up browsers on your PC is a problem none of the big companies appear to have really solved.

Sure you can watch some of Sky's content on your Xbox 360 now. But you won't get all of Sky's content because of content restrictions enforced by content distributors. You also won't get 4OD, BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player on this service. In addition to that you won't get YouTube, Hulu or Joost. Basically there is not one set top box that will give you all of these services through your TV without having to switch or unplug some box out of the VGA, SCART or HDMI slot on your TV. My guess is that Google are trying to address this with their new set-top box idea. Weather it will work remains to be seen, because at the end of the day it doesn't matter how fancy your platform is, content is still king.

Content distributors also hold a lot of sway, they dictate how their content can be distributed. If a channel is distributed via the Internet and over encrypted satellite in the eyes of the content provider they are separate mediums which require separate content rights. Hence Sky's problem of only being able to broadcast some of their Sky 1 shows via SkyPlayer and blocking the channels for the duration of that show for SkyPlayer customers while satellite customers get to view it.

Likewise content providers may give the writes to distribute a show over a streaming Internet Service with the caveat that it cannot be streamed to a service that connects to a TV as this right could have been solved to a terrestrial provider. This arrangement makes things incredibly difficult while all the user wants to do is watch their TV shows in the most convenient way possible.

I wish Google TV every bit of success although I am struggling to see how they will be able to offer the content we want all through one set top box. In addition to this problem when watching a series on TV sometimes people would like to start from the beginning of a series people are all raving on about. Content providers don't make it easy to get to this content and their appears to be a high amount of people using illegal downloads via services such as Bit Torrent to get to this content. The video/TV entertainment industry appears to be out of touch with how people would like to consume their content. The same thing happened in the music industry which saw a huge shift in how music was distributed which lead to services such as Spotify.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a service that held just about every movie, TV series, documentary that had ever been made, made available on demand? You could pay for the content per item or for a monthly fee have access to all of it?

posted on Saturday, 03 July 2010 10:42:38 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Project Canvas

The BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and TalkTalk have been given then go ahead for Project Canvas a project to enable people to watch Internet based TV on set-top box's connected to their TV's. Its a brilliant idea and one we disgruntled customers have wanted for some time. Its great content guys but I'd love to watch it on my TV screen easily instead of having to watch it on my computer screen. Yes there have been alternatives for instance Sony's PS3 openly supports and advertises that you can watch BBC iPlayer on its games console and the same service is also available on the Wii. The Xbox 360 being somewhat of a walled garden has snuggled up to Sky who also have rather good content but charge and horrendous amounts for their subscriptions to watch their on demand content on the Xbox and not all of Sky's content is available on the Xbox as it is on the PC.

So why Project Canvas? Well not all of the content from the above mentioned broadcasters Internet content are easily available on a TV as the BBC iPlayer is. Even if you do plug a PC into your TV, the usability of it still isn't as easy and seamless as it should be. The way we want to watch TV is changing we want to watch show's when we want to and not when a schedule tells us we can and the industry has been a little late giving us what we want and how we want it. The way I see it, is that Canvas isn't any different to another method of delivering content to your TV. In the past we have made use of set-top box's, the only difference with Canvas is - this set-top box gets its content over a cable, but so does Virgin Media's cable service? Ahh but we have quite a selection of broadcasters and its all on demand. Virgin Media does this to? Yes but you need a cable subscription Canvas in theory should work on anyone's Internet connection ah!

In theory Canvas should do away with the subscription model to see this content and break us away from a technology walled garden. Its no wonder BSkyB is not happy with the idea, Canvas would (if it worked) be open to all and on demand which gives it more coverage than Virgin Media's service. This threatens Sky's service which is mainly delivered over a satellite dish. Or if you are willing to pay for it get yourself an Xbox 360 and a subscription to a limited amount of their content on demand.

What I like about this partnership is that the broadband providers such as BT and TalkTalk are part of the group and can make allowances for the extra content that is being sent over their networks. This will inevitably be paid for with some paid for content being provided on this new platform.

posted on Tuesday, 22 December 2009 13:04:33 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 23 November 2009
My home entertainment revolution

You've seen the adverts on TV and on the Internet we are in the middle of a home entertainment revolution. Games consoles are at the forefront of how we are going to consume movies and TV shows in our living rooms, no longer will we have to watch digitally available content in front of our PC screens. Multi media consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PS3 will revolutionise this experience they are  marketed as being the centre of your entertainment universe.

Are they? Well lets take my Friday night experience into account. Having survived the week, treated ourselves to takeaway and and collapsing on the sofa in front of our TV talking about how exhausting the week had been. We decided it would be nice to watch a film, I pick up the Sky Plus remote control and press the box office button 2 minutes before 8pm. The laboriously slow menu system on the Sky Plus box isn't very forthcoming on the entertainment it has to offer me tonight as it sluggishly provides very poor information on each film. We as usual look up the films available on to see if they are any good using one of our laptops, and as usual there's not much that grabs us. Next I decide to fire up the PS3 as I've heard someone mention there are some new entertainment features available and I might be able to start downloading or streaming films. On firing up the PS3 I realise I need to plug the HDMI cable in as it was used earlier for my PC. I'm then presented with a hard disk corruption message and told the system will attempt to restore the hard disk corrupted sectors. The task succeeds but I'm presented with a message telling me that I will need to run a System update. I ignore the message click on the Playstation store icon and am told before I can proceed I must do a system update. Fine I'll do the system update, I set the PS3 to do a system update and decide while I am waiting I may as well fire up the Xbox 360 to see if there is anything in Zune or Sky Player.

I log into my Xbox 360 and enter the Zune store. But there's not that much new content in the Zune store, the majority of the content is old films and there are not many of them. The newer films that have been released such as the new Star Trek film and Moon are not available. I like the idea of Zune because it enables me to stream content instead of having to wait for a large movie to download. Having not found anything I want to watch there I checkout Sky Player. There's a lot of movies here but unfortunately I need to subscribe to the movie channels on my Sky Movie package before I can get any of these movies on demand. I already have a multi room subscription and I have a package that includes the entertainment and documentary channels. Having multi room enables me to use the Sky Player on my Xbox 360, I had kept multi-room because I had been locked in a contract on it from my previous home and had planned on cancelling it and taking the movie channels but this means I couldn't use Sky Player on my Xbox 360. What a dilemma! I can't even watch Sky Movies on the Xbox 360 on Pay per view because its on my Sky account. I shake my head and wonder how the PS3 is doing, it looks as though the update failed something about a server connection problem. So I decide to fire up the Mac Mini connected to my TV and look at the iTunes movie store. It also requires an update so I get that running and am eventually able to browse the store and find the film I wanted to watch Star Trek! I set the Mac up to download it. Apparently its going to take an hour.great. We decide to play Rockband on the Xbox 360 while we wait. After 40 minutes the film has download and I get it to play on the Mac through the RGB cable on my TV. The quality I must say wasn't stunning, for some reason films still have the "letterbox" view even on wide screen TV's. Why? The letterbox view is a lot narrower than usual and you can tell by the full screen mode that pixels are slightly stretched every now and again the action scenes give this away. I probably wouldn't have noticed this if I had watched it on my laptop screen, which I kind of feel seems to have been he target of this format. What family watches films on their laptop or PC screens together?

So what's the problem? Well there is no doubt that services are now available for watching shows on demand through your TV. I have a Sky Plus box, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3 and Mac all connected to my TV. The problem is the Xbox 360 may provide a streaming high quality service which is brilliant for watching content on demand when you want it, but it lacks the content in Zune. The iTunes store has the content but it can't be streamed you have to download it and that's just as bad as having to wait for a film to come on at the right time on Sky Box Office. Besides the quality of the content on the iTunes store isn't as good, maybe I would have a better experience if I had bought the Apple TV box? (more money to spend and yet another box). The Sky Player service on the Xbox is prohibitively expensive, Sky appear to treat Sky Player content as though you were a completely new Sky TV subscriber. It doesn't work on the idea that you are a Sky TV subscriber already and just want another way of watching the same content on demand. It basically gives you that ability but it charges you for it in the way of multi room subscriptions.

What about the PS3? Well I eventually got the PS3 update to work and discovered it had a movie section which seemed to have the same content as the iTunes store. Great news I suppose, but it appears this content is not streamed content but has to be downloaded. Not so good..

Buying content to own is also another dilemma, what format do you purchase the content for? If I purchase the film on my PS3 I won't be able to play it on my Mac or my Xbox 360. I'm not a pirate all I want is the ability to play the media I bought on what ever platform I choose. Unfortunately content providers don't really understand or are unwilling to let their content be available on multiple channels even if it is watched by the same person who purchased it to begin with. Rights for content is distributed by channel not by who purchased the content to begin with. I believe we are going to face a big issue unless just like DVD and Blu-Ray, the industry comes up with a standard for the delivery of the same content across multiple platforms digitally.

posted on Monday, 23 November 2009 22:20:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 15 November 2009
Where is the Sky One content on the Xbox 360 Sky Player?

The reason I signed up for the Xbox 360 version of Sky Player, was mainly because I was annoyed having to plug a laptop into my TV to watch missed episodes of shows from Sky One. I had naturally thought that any content that was available on the PC version of Sky Player would be available on the Xbox version of Sky Player right? No!

It looks as though Sky has to obtain separate broadcasting rights to broadcast most of the Sky One content on the Xbox version of their Sky Player service. It kind of makes you realise just how much production companies tie down their content. To me using Sky Player from an Xbox compared to a PC makes absolutely no difference its just a question of convenience to me. The only difference to me is one is mainly connected to my TV and the other isn't. To production companies it makes a big difference to them, there appears to be a distinction between providing the same content on a TV set as apposed to on a device that is not connected to a TV. Apparently this distinction is very important to production companies when it comes to revenues they can sell the online rights to one company for a region and the TV rights to another. In my case it looks as though Sky hasn't yet obtained those rights for the Xbox Sky Player. Its a shame there is such a distinction between the two, it can at times be infuriating when all you want to do is watch a show you missed on your TV screen instead of your PC screen.


Email from Sky below


Dear Mr Street

Thank you for contacting Sky Help Centre.

Unfortunately at this moment in time you will be unable to access Sky 1 content on the Xbox. The reason behind this is that we do not have the broadcasting rights to show this content on the Xbox as yet. We will be able to broadcast this sometime in the future however we cannot put a timescale as to when this will be. I apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause you.

Kind regards

[name censored]

Sky Help Centre

posted on Sunday, 15 November 2009 18:43:06 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Sky Player on Xbox 360 a bit slow off the ground

It seems as though today's highly anticipated Sky Player service for the Xbox 360 got off to a bit of a shaky start. It launched at 10am this morning with some good early indications, but by time I had got home to try the service on my Xbox it was displaying an advert on Xbox Live stating it was coming later today, the advert eventually disappeared. So what happened?

Well it appears according to Neowin some users were suffering issues streaming content. Microsoft have taken down the service because of "an unforeseen technical issue"  and it appears the decision was made to protect the quality of service for all customers. According to an article on Digital Spy it was a problem caused by the streaming coming from the Sky Servers which was affecting the whole Sky Player platform.

posted on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 20:03:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 29 May 2009
Sky to be available on Xbox 360

Well we all know it makes sense and a lot of you have said how it would be such a good idea to watch on demand TV on your Xbox 360. If you can see it on your PC why can't you see it easily on your games console which is actually connected to your TV? Well Microsoft and Sky have finally seen sense and quite soon Microsoft will be offering Sky content on the Xbox 360. If you look at how Sky delivers its current offering called Sky Anytime PC, they are using Microsoft's Silverlight technology while everyone else (BBC, Channel 4 and ITV) are using Adobe Flash.  As you can see Sky and Microsoft are quite compatible on the technology front.

While Sky Anytime PC is a good service they do not offer all of their channels live through the service. The majority of the content provided is a catch up service for missed TV episodes (not bad) and for Box Office Movies. It doesn't (and I could be wrong here) look as if Sky will be offering their flagship channel Sky One live through this service, it would be great if they did.  In the ideal world I would like to see everything that is offered via my satellite dish also offered over an IPTV service including on demand content.

It used to be possible to view Sky Player content on your Xbox 360 but only using a Windows XP or Windows Vista machine as a proxy hopefully this should change all of that.

posted on Friday, 29 May 2009 21:53:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 13 May 2008
BBC iPlayer for Freesat

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been on holiday in the Caribbean for a week. It looks like the BBC iPlayer will soon be available on Freesat. Now what I find interesting, is that if the BBC iPlayer gets onto the Freesat service it wouldn't be too hard for Channels 4's, 4 On Demand service getting on there to. They basically use the same Microsoft DRM technology under the covers like Skys Anytime service does. BBC iPlayer is already available on Virgin Media's TV service. On demand TV is definitely the future and to be honest Sky's attempt at it from their set top box has been pretty shoddy in comparison to what Virgin and Tiscali have on offer. I have heard a rumour that Sky may be offering a better on demand service from their newer set top box's that is served over the Internet. Lets see what happens hey?

posted on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 20:50:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 25 November 2007
4oD on XBOX 360 and TV over the Internet

image If you've been reading my blog you will have noticed my fascination of trying to stream content via my Xbox 360 for services provided by the BBC iPlayer, SkyAnytime PC  and now Channel 4's 4oD service (TV and Film on demand). Basically the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 all provide separate services for which you can download content off the Internet. This could be an episode of Star Gate SG1 you may have missed (Sky), Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (Channel 4) or East Enders (BBC and no I don't like it but my wife does).

What all of these technologies have in common is they all use Microsoft's DRM (Digital Rights Management). What this means is that the content provider (BBC, Sky or Channel 4) can control how long you are able to watch this content until it expires, this also controls who can watch it. All this is taken care of in the background where a licence is downloaded to your machine enabling you to watch the content. While all of these providers may appear to have different innovative interfaces, under the covers they are all really using Windows Media Player which supports DRM. The BBC got a lot of flack for not using an open source platform for doing the same thing. The truth is this method has probably worked out cheaper, as so many other providers are using the same technology its tried and tested (until someone cracks it of course).

One of the let downs I found of these services was there was no way of watching the content you missed on your TV. You had to watch it on your computer. Unless you were a bit computer savvy and knew how to plug your computer into your TV (not all TV's support this) there wasn't really much of an alterative. That was until the Xbox 360 started to be able to stream content from your Windows Media PC. I found the Xbox 360 proved to be a cheaper alternative than having a dedicated PC for watching content from the Internet on your TV. I have also found it also works well with content from Channel 4's service 4oD. The only problem I have found is that 4oD's videos are not as higher quality as those provided by Sky (this may probably change), it gives the impression of a pixilated image on my 1080i LCD screen. I think Microsoft can provide a lot more upgrades for the Xbox 360 to take advantage of this place in the market. Although I suspect they may be keeping a bit quiet about the potential because they may be thinking of a separate content deal they want to put together, so they can charge Xbox Live subscribers for the privilege.  

It looks as though no one has really taken advantage of the potential for a TV Over Internet Provider (TOIP) box that could pull all these providers together maybe even including Joost?

posted on Sunday, 25 November 2007 12:44:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 15 November 2007
Goodbye Video Machine

My video machine has finally left the TV cabinet and here ends an era.

It started gradually I suppose when DVD's started replacing Video tapes in the video shops and I got my very first DVD player in the form of a Playstation 2. It was quite an exciting time, movies were crisp and all of a sudden I had Dolby Surround Sound - virtual bullets were flying through my living room along with a a stampede of horses. This was the true magic of home cinema I would no longer be able to go back to VHS after I had discovered this new and wonderful way of watching movies. Soon my video machines only use was for recording the odd program on TV I desperately wanted to watch. But alas - soon the poor video machine was no longer doing this when the Sky Plus box entered my household. Gone was the issue of ensuring you selected the correct channel on the video machine, setting the time on the video machine and finding it had recorded nothing but static. The Sky Plus box made recording live TV, pausing and rewinding it child's play. So much so the only job left for the poor video machine was to show the time. Later it was not even useful for this when it was replaced with a small LCD clock and eventually consigned to the loft. Maybe one day old videos machines will become expensive collectors items for watching old VHS video tapes not available on DVD?

posted on Thursday, 15 November 2007 19:51:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 23 October 2007
SkyAnytime PC on Xbox 360

Just to recap on my last article about how to watch BBC iPlayer content through your Xbox without using Media Centre I have now tested it with Sky Anytime PC and it works like a charm.

The best way to make this work is to log into Sky Anytime PC and click on the "Account & Settings"  button from here you can find the "Default Download Location", copy this and then open windows Media Player 11, click Library > Add To Library and click add to add the folder location you just copied from Sky Anytime PC. Now next time you download a file from Sky Anytime PC it will automatically be added to your Windows Media Player library. If you followed the steps in my previous article to share your library with your Xbox you should be able to now watch SkyAnytime PC content on your Xbox withut having to drag the downloaded movies into the My Movies folder.

posted on Tuesday, 23 October 2007 21:45:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 21 October 2007
Watching BBC iPlayer content on your XBox 360

Having recently bought an Xbox 360 I heard there was a way of streaming content from your Windows XP machine to the XBox, the reason I was particularly interested was that I had started using the BBC iPlayer and Sky Anytime PC service for watching TV programs on demand. It was great for catching up on shows I had missed or forgot to record on my Sky Plus box. The only problem I had was that it wasn't much fun watching these shows on my laptop screen when I had a 42inch LCD screen with surround sound sitting around being unused naturally the Xbox filled this chasm.

Having looked around the net many people who do not have the Media Centre edition of Windows XP do not seem to be able to stream DRM protected content to their Xbox. Well the solution to the problem is pretty simple and you don't need to use TVersity (great free program by the way).

The Solution

  1. Ensure you have Windows Media Player 11 installed you can download this from Microsoft's web site. Chances are if you have the BBC iPlayer or Sky Anytime PC installed you will already have the latest version of Windows Media Player.
  2. Click on the Library tab and select the option Media Sharing. From here tick the checkbox "Share My media to:". If you click on settings in this window you have the option to select what type of content you wish to share. Click OK to close this window.
  3. Now after you have downloaded some content from BBC iPlayer first select to watch the content. What this will do is get the licence (DRM) to allow you to view the video. No need to watch the video you can close the BBC iPlayer window.
  4. Copy the movie into your movies folder (found under my documents) and then drag it into Windows Media Player. This part is quite important I couldn't get this to work unless I carried out this step for some reason it has to be inside the Movies folders located under My Documents.
  5. On your Xbox select the media tab, select Video and then select computer. If all goes well you should see your Windows XP machine. Select your computer.
  6. Back on your Windows XP machine go back to Windows Media Player select the Library > Media Sharing over here you should see your Xbox. Select it and then select Allow and then OK. (Don't worry you only have to do this once).
  7. Go back to the Xbox and press the backup button and select the Video option again as in step 5 you should now see the video's you had placed on your Windows XP machine. Select the video and enjoy!

Now don't panic you don't need to carry out the steps above all the time. Every time you want to add a new movie try to watch it first to acquire the DRM licence then place it into Windows Media Player and then watch from the Xbox. This seems to have been the only way I could get this to work. I see no reason why the above will not work with SkyAnytime which I will be testing shortly. If you are not able to see your Windows XP machine from your Xbox backup to the media tab itself and go back in. If this doesn't work ensure your Xbox is connected to your network.

If you know of an easier way of doing this I'd love to hear from you.

posted on Sunday, 21 October 2007 19:03:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [6]