We love Sky+ here at Tech Digest. It’s a great system for recording your favourite programmes without the hassle of typing in VideoPlus numbers into your VCR.
But – and you probably knew there was a but coming – there are just two complaints we have. First, you have to fork out £10 a month, just for the privilege of using the system. Second, a 40Gig hard drive is a bit miserly. Thankfully Sky has now addressed our cost complaint – and announced details of a new system to control the box via your mobile phone and the Internet.
From October 1 – the fifth anniversary of Sky Digital – Sky is waiving the £10 a month charge to anyone who subscribes to two or more of Sky’s premium sports and movie channels (which is probably most people who have the Sky+ system). Of course, you still have to pay £199 for the box, but it’s nevertheless a pretty good deal.
This is sure to boost the numbers of Sky+ boxes which remain disappointingly low, considering the excellent application of the technology (105,000 subscribers at the end of June 2003).
In another announcement, Sky confirmed it is also working on a system that will enable mobile phone users to set their Sky+ box to record when they’re out and about. The system, which will enable users to instruct their boxes to record programmes via SMS no matter where they are is expected to be available from early next year.
Sky is also understood to be working on a system that will enable control of programme recordings via the Internet.
Finally, set-top box maker Amstrad has said its Sky+ set top boxes will be available from the fourth quarter of this year – presumably in time to meet the anticipated demand for Sky+. Unfortunately, though, the Amstrad box will be exactly the same as the existing Pace box – in other words the same 40 gig hard drive.