The Sky+ news section will carry press releases, reports and any other relevant information that surrounds Sky+.

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  Sky+ Interactive Launches
  Posted on Monday 27th September by Callum MacFarlane
Sky have released their interactive recording application on all Sky+ boxes.

As previously reported this facility is not a "cure all" to record all interactive content, but is instead Sky's attempt to allow viewers limited control of certain programmes that are streamed interactively and will appear in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) as sub items behind the main programme.

Only programmes with specific start and end times are likely ever to be considered to be candidates for interactive recording, considering the way in which this solution has been designed.

How Sky+ owners know in advance which programmes can be interactively recorded is currently unclear. There appears to be no ability to record interactively recordings using the Manual Recording options.

  Sky+ Designer looks in time for Christmas
  Posted on Monday 6th September by Callum MacFarlane
Not that it will make the slightest difference to the perfrmance of Sky+, but Sky's latest wheeze seems to be to create the Sky+ device in striking designer versions, in addition to the standard silver / grey models.

Home Cinema News is reporting that that it appears that Sky has teamed up with a number of leading fashion designers to launch a collection of exclusive designer Sky+ boxes intended to hit stores in the run up to Christmas

To discuss this why not visit the premier Sky+ discussion forum on the web at Digital Spy - you can find the link for this subject here

  Thomson to build Sky+160 - first photograph published
  Posted on Monday 16th August by Callum MacFarlane

The first picture of a Sky+160 system became available today. The new 160GB unit will be manufactured by Thomson, who have not made any Sky+ systems before. Although Thomson did manufacture the UK's illfated competitor to Sky+ - Tivo.

The Sky+ 160 will offer approximately 80 hours of TV programme storage (four times the current capacity) and will be available from October costing £399 plus £60 installation.

The new unit is manufactured by Thomson and also includes a USB port, though Sky say they have no current plans that incorporate it. There are many things it could be used for - including transferring content, gaming and even video conferencing.

More news as we get it.

To discuss this why not visit the premier Sky+ discussion forum on the web at Digital Spy - you can find the link for this forum here

  Amstrad Sky+ - first software update sent out
  Posted on Thursday 12th August by Callum MacFarlane

Amstrad Sky+ owners woke up to find that their Sky+ boxes had received their first ever software upgrade.

Model : A20A804
Version: 4f2001
O/s: 1.31A08
epg: Sky+1.28.d

See below for screenshot of the new Amstrad Sky+ software - click on the image if you would like to enlarge it.

click on the image if you would like to enlarge it.

(Screenshot Acknowledgements: Hughie and Mark - thanks guys)

There will likely be another Amstrad update tonight to bring the boxes up to version 1.31A8. Thats what happened to the Pace Sky+ boxes - 2 updates in quick succession.

If anyone can take a screenshot of this first ever Amstrad update showing the systems details screen and e-mail them to me, I can put the screenshot on the Plusworld website (and I will blank out your viewing card number)

To discuss this why not visit the premier Sky+ discussion forum on the web at Digital Spy - you can find the link for this topic here

  Sky+160 to sell Movies to your Hard Disk
  Posted on Tuesday 10th August by Callum MacFarlane
Sky+ television viewers will be able to buy and download films through their dishes under plans being drawn up by BSkyB, reports The Times newspaper today. Its reporter Dominic O’Connell says that the broadcaster, is understood to be in talks with film-makers over securing the rights to distribute film via satellite.

Sky will take its first step towards the service at Christmas, when it launches a new version of its Sky+ personal video-recorder service, the so called Sky+160 - the 160 referring to the size of the hard disk - 160 Gigabytes - approximately 80 hours of visual & audio broadcast. It will sell for £399.

To read the report in The Times in full see the article here

  BBC working on "on-demand" alternative to Sky+
  Posted on Tuesday 10th August by Callum MacFarlane
'You could watch the best of last night's TV on the train to work' reports the Independent newspaper today.

It is reporting how 36 year old BBC boffin Ben Lavender is masterminding the way that we will watch television in the future.

He is developing the Interactive Media Player (known as an iMP). It is a revolutionary idea, a step further down the road from the hugely popular Sky Plus and TiVo personal video recorders that already allow early-adopting viewers to create their own channels by stockpiling programmes that they prefer not to watch at the time of transmission.

The article says that 1,000 non BBC testers are trialling the service, with testing due to end by 26th August.

The writed of the article had a test run of the system and gives his views on the proposed service.

As he points out, for all the technological limitations of broadband, etc, the best thing about this service will be it will be free, and offered to other broadcasters.

To read the full report in The Independent see the article here

  Radio Recording to be made Easy on Sky+
  Posted on Friday 6th August by Callum MacFarlane
BSkyB announced via their monthly e-mail customer announcement that all sorts of Sky+ service improvements are due soon.
One aspect not so far mentioned is the improved ability to make radio recording on Sky+ easier. What form this will take is not yet known. Here is the full text of the e-mail, the radio improvement mention is at the end of the article.

"Other news coming this Autumn for all Sky+ boxes (both the new Sky 160+ and existing Sky+ boxes) will be an automatic software upgrade enabling viewers to record interactive programmes. The new functionality, the first of its kind in the world, will be available for interactive services offered by Sky and by other broadcasters. Sky+ viewers will be able to record up to two scheduled video streams broadcast in an interactive application. Viewers will be able to select the events from the Sky guide before the programme or event starts or when they have entered an interactive application after the event has started. Other new enhancements coming soon include the introduction of new sorting options in the Sky+ Planner and easier radio recording."

  Luxury Sky+ launches in October 2004
  Posted on Wednesday 4th August by Callum MacFarlane
BSkyB stunned commentators and potential Sky+ subscribers alike by finally announcing the long awaited arrival of a higher specified Sky+ system.

The stunning news was not so much the specification of the device, but the fact that a £75 hard disk has made their new product £200 more expensive than their current Sky+ 40Gb offering for £199.

2 USB Port additions may soften the blow for those looking for an official bigger storage system for a new Sky+, but these may have no immediate use upon installation.

BSkyB's new premium product will be called the 'Sky+ 160' - and will offer an average of 80 hours storage capacity. It will cost £399 and come with two USB ports for future expansion.

In the long term, (as reported in the article below) Sky hopes that one in four of its customers will have a Sky Plus box by 2010, allowing it to look at downloading movies and music to the box and transferring them to portable devices.

Brian Sullivan, Director of New Product Development and Sales at Sky said today: "Sky+ is transforming the way we watch TV. The next stage of that revolution will be the forthcoming launches of Sky+ 160, and the software upgrade to all Sky+ boxes, providing even more flexibility, choice and control for our growing customer base.

"Feedback from Sky+ owners since it first launched in 2001 has been amazing and we are constantly working to make the product the best TV experience available anywhere. After listening to customers we are delivering this new interactive recording and sorting functionality as well as the option for an average of 80 hours storage space with Sky+ 160. Once again Sky is leading the way in digital TV, putting viewers in control of their TV schedules."

To discuss this why not visit the premier Sky+ discussion forum on the web at Digital Spy - you can find the link for this topic here

  Sky+ sales boosts Sky and aims for 2.5 million Sky+ homes
  Posted on Wednesday 4th August by Callum MacFarlane
The number of Sky+ households continued to grow strongly, increasing by 75,000 in the quarter to reach 397,000.

Sky+ continues to drive new subscribers to Sky, with 22% of new Sky+ customers in the quarter being new to Sky digital. The growth in Sky+ penetration continues to drive the uptake of the Multiroom product, with the number of households taking two or more digiboxes increasing from 270,000 to 293,000 in the quarter.

One of Sky's main business objectives is to have:
Sky+ penetration of 25% of DTH subscribers in 2010.
Based on their estimates 10 million homes taking Direct To Home Sky services by 2010, this equates to a target of 2.5 million subscribers to Sky+ within 6 years.

Such growth will be fostered by an increase, "in the long-term", to 80 per cent in the proportion of UK and Irish television homes signed up to paid-for services, compared with 43 per cent on June 30.

Introducing a wider range of new products, such as enhanced versions of Sky+ and a new high definition television service. "This implies that, over time, a further 10 million homes are expected to take pay television services," BSkyB said, adding that growth would be driven by "generational differences", evidence from the US market and the development of high definition television. The broadcaster, said it would "reintroduce" the Sky brand, increase advertising and propose enhanced versions of Sky Plus to capitalise on the market expansion.

  Amstrad Sky+ update fails to materialise
  Posted on Wednesday 4th August by Callum MacFarlane
Despite Amstrad Sky+ owners waiting patiently for their Sky+ software download, it has failed to appear. It has now been two weeks since Pace Sky+ users received their new updates.

No reason has been publicised by Amstrad for the delay, but Plusworld understands that as Sky insist that all Sky+ receivers must be the same with the same functionality, then to meet that standard Plusworld would expect Amstrad to get their software update out to their Sky+ owners as a matter of urgency.

The last thing that Plusworld wants to do is have to recommend to potential new Sky+ subscribers to refuse a Sky+ box that does not have the current software version. Watch this space for further details.

  Amstrad Sky+ update due on 28th July 2004
  Posted on Thursday 22nd July by Callum MacFarlane
Amstrad Sky+ owners have less than a week to wait until the latest Sky+ software update is delivered to their boxes. No news officially from Amstrad , but a well placed source said Amstrad owners can expect their update next Wednesday.

  Sky+ software update delivered for Pace boxes
  Posted on Tuesday 20th July by Callum MacFarlane
Pace Sky+ owners have been delivered the latest Sky+ software update today. No news on when Amstrad owners can expect their update.

Click here for full details and screenshots
The new software version for a Pace version 1 box

The Pace update has the following new features:
First and foremost the ability to properly sort your entries in your Sky+ planner (see screenshots below)

Check out the Options arrows - screen bottom

See the 4 new coloured button entries for Sorting

Pressing A-Z gives this result

Pressing Viewed gives this result

Pressing Recorded gives this result

Pressing Booked gives this result

On the Search and Scan banner a yellow indicator allows you to check from messages from Sky.

Checking for messages currently gives this result

Under Services 4 0 1 Select (the hidden menu) there is a new option to do basic housekeeping without deleting any planner entries. This may show the correct or improved % free space on your Sky+ box. Carrying out this function does reboot your Sky+ box.

The Services 4 0 1 Select Menu with a new no. 7

Selecting Option 7 gives this warning screen

A status report once you press select

Once rebooted, you need to switch Sky+ on

When I tried this it made no difference to % free

Pace Sky+ boxes have also now got picture settings control on the 2nd RF output

Reports suggest there may be some functionality in this update to allow recording of certain Interactive Programmes, but only ones that have EPG start and finish times on the Electronic Program Guide.

There is also a "helpful" reminder screen if you start up Sky+ without connecting a phone line - reminding you that you need to plug a line in.

The minor improvements in this update probably hide the fact that quite a few bug fixes will have been rectified in this software version, making Sky+ more robust and less prone to errors.

To discuss this why not visit the premier Sky+ discussion forum on the web at Digital Spy - you can find the link for this topic here.

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