Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Skyplayer on the Xbox 360 my initial thoughts

I finally managed to get onto Skyplayer for the Xbox 360 today after a few hiccups with the service yesterday was keen to see how good it was. Having used the Skyplayer service from my PC for many months now I was expecting Skyplayer for Xbox 360 to be almost identical when it came to content. Being an existing Sky Subscriber and Xbox gold member I was able to get access without to much problem, however I did start adding up the costs in my head as I used the service (more about this later).

Anyone who is not a SkyPlayer user or a Sky Subscriber will instantly fall in love with the service if you are a regular Sky subscriber its basically a limited Sky box with on demand content. It gives you 24 channels to watch live however none of these channels are any of the channels I would normally watch on Sky and was a bit disappointed they didn't stream Sky 1 and Sky 2 on there. If you are not a Sky subscriber the service will cost you £38 a year for an Xbox gold membership and then for the basic Sky package £15 a month or £32 a month for the full package. Its a bit expensive in my book, because getting a traditional Sky box with satellite dish for a £32 a month subscription gives you a hell of lot more including channels such as FX, Sky 1, Sky 2, Virgin 1 etc. If you are a Sky Subscriber but don't have Sky Broadband or a multi room subscription it appears you won't get much of the live content. Luckily for me I have a Sky Multi room subscription.

My main usage for the SkyPlayer Xbox 360 service was to catch-up on shows I missed on Sky, such as Lie to me and NCIS: Los Angeles because my Sky+ box is very selective on what it actually chooses to record these days. So I scrolled through the menus using my Xbox controller to the Sky 1 on demand section only to find it only had two categories "Reality TV" and "Chat Shows" what!? Maybe they had removed them? So I logged into the PC version of Sky Player to see if I got anything different. Sure enough I got all of the other categories under Sky 1 on demand "Reality TV", "Chat Shows", Action, SC-FI and Drama. Why hadn't Sky made these available on the Xbox version of Sky Player? Maybe it was something to do with what machine was considered the master? But there was no way to make the Xbox master.

Then after a while the service started to fail on the Xbox, I decided to check it on the PC and I got the following error in my browser.

 

Service Unavailable - DNS failure

The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later.

 

Had Sky miscalculated how much bandwidth they would need? Surely not? The BBC iPlayer is incredibly popular and I have never seen it suffer such performance issues before how could Sky? I am sure they would have taken all of this into account. I must say its quite disappointing In the states services like Hulu seem to run okay and they are served via the Xbox, what could possibly have gone wrong?

posted on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 18:32:20 (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]