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Sky by broadband - world's first combined review-tutorial!

by Bob Crabtree on 30 January 2006, 04:14

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Brian's very caring email

I've now got the Sky by broadband video-downloads service running and thought you good people might like to have a review in which I also tell you how I'm getting on with all the free downloads. Can't wait? Well, I'm getting on pretty well, actually, but I'll give chapter and verse on later pages. First, though, the obligatory bit of background.

I first got involved back in late November when Sky asked eligible people - self-identified as subscribers to its premium services who have broadband connections - to sign up to show their interest in the company's promised service. See our write up from the time.

Naturally, being a broadband-using/premium-services sort of a guy, I signed up. Then, yesterday (Jan 24, 06), roughly two months later, I received an email from signed "Brian Sullivan, Director of Customer Products & Services".

Brian's boiler-plated email had this to say [I've added comments, as you'll see],

Thanks for your interest in the new 'Sky by broadband' service. [Brian, I'm delighted that you welcome my interest, so thank you.]

It's my pleasure to be able to tell you that you can now sign-up to download this fantastic new service. [Well, it's my pleasure, too, as well as my HEXUS.duty; but, oddly, I thought I'd already signed up. Never mind, let's not fall out when we're just starting to become friends]

As you already subscribe to Sky Movies 1 & 2 and Sky Sports 1 & 2 you can register to Sky by broadband today - simply by clicking on the link below. [You're right, I could and I did - though there was a little bit more to it than you're suggesting what with my subscription being in someone else's name (it was a gift you understand) and me not being able to find a way to change this over the years even though I've been paying the bills.]

Then, in next to no time you could be enjoying some of Sky's fantastic entertainment on your PC - all at no extra charge.
[Brian, you do know, don't you, that I don't have a Tardis? First I'll have to separately sign up online as a Sky customer - or did you think I'd done that already? And that after both sign ups are completed - or three if you include the one I had to do in the name of the person who bought the original subscription - I'm going to have to spend 15 minutes downloading a 50MByte executable installer file for three programs, two of which ( Framework 1.1 and Flash Player 7) are on my PC already and the last of which (Kontiki v51102.0 KService/KHost that controls the file-sharing and copy-protection stuff) I also have installed, though this might be a different version?]

[And, are you forgetting that - before I can start picking something to download - I'll have to run the installer for these apps, too? This didn't take more than a few minutes and, thankfully, didn't seem to have any nasty effects - though I haven't got round yet to seeing if the version of Kontiki installed with AOL's trial-downloads service, that we wrote about in mid-November, has been broken by your version. And, Brian, you're surely not overlooking the fact that movie downloads can take an hour or two, cos the files are quite big, nearly 700MByte in some cases, and you distribute them use a peer-to-peer file-sharing system?]

Not only does this feature a choice of hundreds of movies from Sky Movies, there's also over 1,000 clips from Sky Sports.
[I haven't yet counted - so, for now, I'm taking your word - you seem like a very nice man.]

I hope that you enjoy many hours of entertainment from 'Sky by broadband'. [I'll drink to that, or would if I weren't teetotal].

It's yet another way we're working to improve your viewing experience.
[The Sky by broadband service looks to be one of the first of its kind and Sky is also pioneering HD TV satellite transmissions (can't wait!). Clearly you and the gang are sweating on our behalf, so thanks for all that.]

We'll keep you updated on any more exciting new developments. [Please do.]

In the meantime, have fun! [I am, already!]

Yours sincerely

Alright, it's a bit unfair to take the Mickey like this but boiler-plated, auto-sent emails and letters have this effect on me. And, it's been one way to introduce you to some salient facts about the service, what's required to get it running and how long you can expect that to take. Excuses over, let's press on with the review - hopefully the first published but, doubtless, you'll tell us if it's not.