From: What Satellite & Digital TV

Sky gadget gossip

Hereís a few things we learned from Brian Sullivan, Sky's chief of customer operations and architect of Sky+, at last nightís launch of the limited edition SkyHD designer boxes.
We canít show you the actual boxes because the designs are embargoed until they go on sale in October. But if youíre looking for a box you can put on a pedestal, theyíre very nice.


Sky is working on a new multi-room box. It will have two video outputs so you can watch separate channels in different rooms. It wonít be a networked device using so-called Ďthin clientsí which decode a data stream sent over wireless, Ethernet, Powerline or anything else. Brian says the wireless and Ďno new wiresí network technologies still arenít ready for mass deployment.

There wonít be a Sky-branded portable media player. The Sky2Go project has been dropped because Sky didnít want to deal with all the end-user complications of an extra product range and extended Digital Rights Management. Brian expects portable media players to arrive using a third party DRM like the Windows DRM used in Sky Anytime on PCs. So you might be able to transfer Sky Anytime downloads onto compatible players from your PC, but it doesnít look like the USB port on your Sky+ will be getting any exercise for the forseeable future.

It wonít be too hard to add extra hard disc capacity to Sky HD via the Serial ATA port. You can plug any size of hard disc into this baby, and Sky has overcome an issue with the NDS Xtv formatting system used on Sky+, which adds extra discs to the existing capacity without seeing two individual storage devices. This would have meant that if your external disc was disconnected or crashed, youíd lose all your recordings. Thereís no timeline yet for the update, and Brian said Sky wonít be selling a branded line of hard discs, again to avoid customer service issues.

Copyright issues have stalled hopes for a Slingbox-style upgrade or product for Sky customers. Brian told us it would be technically possible (not easy, but possible) to reprogram the existing SkyHD hardware to deliver a Slingbox-type service via the built-in Ethernet port. The problem is those pesky rights-holders in Hollywood and the Premier League. Instead of seeing the viewer as the end-point for delivering their content, they see the set-top box as a fixed end-point in a territory, and they sell rights by territory. If you move out of that territory, you no longer have the rights to watch your subscription. Wake up you numpties, this is the 21st century and people donít stay in one place. I donít care where I am, I want my TV.

Our thanks to Brian and congratulations on the new addition to your family. Iím sure he told us more but thatís all I can remember through the champagne haze. Itís hard work sometimes.