So today satellite TV service Sky announced that Sky+ digital video recorder users can set their shows to record by sending a text message. The idea is, if you’re out and about and suddenly realise you’ve forgotten to set the video for Doctor Who, you can text Sky and they will tell your Sky+ box to record it for you. If you’ve got the right sort of phone (2.5g or 3g) you can download the actual Sky menu system that lets you see what shows are on for the next seven days so you can set them from afar. Alternatively, if your phone isn’t up to it, you can just text your required programme, with details of time, date and channel, and the Sky service centre will do the rest. I had a quick go with the basic text Remote Record service earlier and so far I’m still reserving judgement.
I love the idea of it – even if you usually set your favourite shows to record automatically via series link, if you’re out and remember there was a one-off show you wanted to watch, you can just text to record it. The only slight downside is that you’ll need to set it all up first. This was fairly straightforward – although be prepared to pay for using Sky Interactive while you do it – but for some reason it didn’t quite finish off when I did it. When I tried to set the video for Cash in the Attic at 12.15, I got a text back saying my account had been suspended so I had to go back and reset it.
By the time I got the text to send, the show had already started. Rather than actually record the show, the Sky+ set it to record tomorrow’s show – slightly annoying, but it did at least spot that the show is starting earlier tomorrow.
So I tried for a show starting at 12.30 and my text was never confirmed. 12.30 came and went and no recording was done. I’m going to give it another go before I form a definite opinion. I think it’s a nice idea – and although the plain text service costs 25p a text, the more advanced blue on-screen guide service (which I’m also planning on testing soon) is free, apart from your phone operator’s data charge.
The service will be available online soon as well, which is going to be very handy indeed.
If you want to try the service, you can register for it via Sky Interactive (go to My Sky options) and then you just need to text: Name of the show. Channel. Date. Time. to 61SKY (61759). Up to eight mobiles can be registered on one box.