Skip Navigation


XBox 360 Sky Player floored by demand?
Friday 30 October 2009 10:01:32 by Andrew Ferguson

It looks as if the XBox 360 and the new Sky Player that runs on the platform has attracted too much interest in its first week of existence. This has lead to Sky adding the message "Following an unpredicted technical issue at launch on Tuesday, the Sky Player on Xbox 360 service was suspended." on the Sky Player page. This highlights the problems of offering TV over a broadband infrastructure, i.e. it is not just the issue of contention but getting scaling of servers and other facilities ready. The suggestions are that the problem arose due to unexpectedly high demand for the service.

Greg Howson on The Guardian Games Blog has written about his experience of the new service, with the summary being when it worked it was impressive. From watching the publicity material it seems the avatar mode where people using the XBox 360 can join each other in a 'theatre' to watch a programme may prove popular for the football fans out there, though surely most people will simply go around to their mates house.

The price of the service looks confusing at the moment, with a dozen lines of fairly small print text setting out the various offers. Basically if you have Sky Broadband Unlimited or Sky TV Multiroom then the Live TV channels are free. If you have Sky TV but no Multiroom subscription you pay £9.75 a month for the basic channels. Non-Sky customers pay £15 a month. The offer running at present is that the Multiroom rate is reduced to 2/3rd's if you sign up for a three month subscription. Various packages are available with the bill rising to £50 a month if you take sports, movies and ESPN - a basic movies package costs £24 a month. Don't forget to add the monthly cost of the XBox Live Gold subscription.

IPTV at the prices Sky is charging seems expensive, but then movie channel subscriptions are not cheap on Sky or Virgin Media. Potential users of the service should consider the alternate options such as buying movies via XBox 360 Marketplace and postal DVD rental services. For people considering using the XBox 360 as an alternative to installing a satellite set-top box in a room, remember that while you can add wireless to an XBox 360, for video streaming an Ethernet (wired) connection will much better. An additional consideration is the amount of data used by the service and how this may eat into any monthly usage allowance your broadband service has (and remember that some unlimited services actually slow down as you go over what are sometimes undefined usage levels).

Sky has a special promotion in partnership with Amazon.co.uk, that is offering an XBox 360 Elite (120GB HDD) with 3 month Live Gold membership, Pure and Lego Batman games plus an extra wireless controller for £199. A little hunting around shows similar priced deals are available, though from a quick search the addition of the Gold membership makes it better than most.

Comments

Posted by TonyHoyle over 7 years ago
So it's launched then.. Maybe (Switched on and got the firmware update this morning, but it doesn't show anywhere so it's not active).

Is it a full service or is it like the cut down PC service (26 channels, which excludes nearly all the channels I watch..). Does it have the silly restriction like Sky Player that you can only watch it from a single registered device? (in which case I'll skip the xbox and keep the laptop registered as it's useful when I'm on holiday).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
I'd love to answer fully, but no XBox 360, the games blog linked to goes into a fair bit of detail on the package, but does not cover the registered device. One presumes that a PC and an XBox are allowed in the same house.

The XBox is streamed, whereas the PC is download for future streaming or stream now - or has that changed?
Posted by nredwood over 7 years ago
MS pulled it from the Dashboard as Sky's servers couldn't cope. So unless you managed to download it on Tuesday or Wednesday, you have to wait for it to be rolled out to you. A tab will appear in Video Marketplace and / or Spotlight. It hasn't reached me as yet.

It is a cut down version. IMO channels are pretty poor
More info here
http://forums.xbox.com/29719318/ShowPost.aspx

You can have 1 XBox and 4 PC's registered

Cost is far too high for me and Sky don't seem to offer a payment method that I could use if I did want to subscribe
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
"you can add wireless to an XBox 360"

...But it's cheaper to buy another router, put it into bridge mode and connect it via ethernet to the 360.
Posted by nredwood over 7 years ago
Even cheaper to buy a longer RJ45. 30m cable here going up 2 floors :)
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Yup... or homeplugs.... never the rip off 360 adapter tho
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@GMAN99

Aren't those things meant to be banned soon for health/interference related problems?
Posted by EnglishRob over 7 years ago
I'm really disappointed about this offering. Not only do I have to pay £40 for a year's gold subscription (or £5 a month or £15 or so a quarter), I've also got to subscribe to a minimum pack of channels I'm not interested in. Now if Sky offered say Sky 1 (in HD), Nickelodeon and Disney Channel for about a fiver a month then I would have been willing to sign up.
Posted by EnglishRob over 7 years ago
To me, I'd see more value in having the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player on the XBOX 360 with HD capability.

Rob
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Im not sure if its worth the cost or not, what would be important to me is the quality of the stream, can any sky playeer users comment on that?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Oh almost forgot, it will probably be back soon as earlier tonight i saw a 360 TV advert mentioning sky player.
Posted by nredwood over 7 years ago
They've been running the adverts all week regardless. I've seen thead a few times since launch day last Tuesday
Latest news last night was that they were using the Sky Player beta community (i.e Sky staff who had it) and those that had already managed to download it to stress test Sky's server over the weekend with a view to continuing with full rollout next week.
It's purely a Sky owned problem - MS just provide a feed from the XBox Dashboard to the Sky Player service
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
"Posted by otester 1 day ago
@GMAN99

Aren't those things meant to be banned soon for health/interference related problems? "

Banned? Not that I've heard... do you have a source for that?
Posted by CaptainW over 7 years ago
@ Andrew: You now have two main registered PC's and 3 secondary. Your main PC and Xbox 360 are both main PC's within the same household. You don't have to deregister, or adjust your existing main PC.

@ Carpetburn: Picture quality is the same as the Sky Player - which I reckon is really good.



Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
pricing looks overpriced, really people on a sky subscription should get the channels that match that subscription free or at least only for a modest fee. But the fact that sky couldnt handle demand even at these prices proves there is a IPTV market.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
It's just like when it comes to grocery shopping, people only want the cheapest and don't realise the damage they are doing to themselves.

This current trend in the broadband market encourages under-cutting and inhibits network growth.

BT/VM's debt hasn't exactly made this any easier.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
otester - Except in the UK, that isn't true in grocery shopping.

When WalMart came to the UK and tried cheap-above-all in Asda, it's sales plumeted, and Tescos in particular picked up market share...it had to improve it's quality again before it could claw some of that back.
Posted by Kaufhof over 7 years ago
"Posted by GMAN99 3 days ago
Yup... or homeplugs.... never the rip off 360 adapter tho"

Please don't use homeplugs. They are a disaster for Radio Amateurs because of the interference they create.
Posted by xb0xguru over 7 years ago
@CARPETBURN - PQ is on par with SD broadcast, at least whilst viewing through a 50" Plasma via HDMI.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
"Please don't use homeplugs. They are a disaster for Radio Amateurs because of the interference they create. " - That's an issue for the developers to resolve though isn't it, not the end users? I wouldn't have thought anyone considering using Homeplugs would give two figs about anyone else. (No offence) I have heard the Comtrend adapters do bang RF out a bit, dunno about other models.
Posted by audioslim over 7 years ago
I never expected Sky to give anything away for free. They just dont do that trick. Their only interest is getting new customers onboard and to hell with the existing customers.

I'm a Sky subscriber, but I dont have multiroom.
Why on earth anybody without Multiroom would pay for this is beyond me, when you could get
another box for the same price, and have much better quality.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
sorry I meant 'inclusive' not 'free'. I agree if you already have a dish but dont have multiroom (meaning this costs money) then its not too attractive. But still it seems sky are on to a winner as they failed to meet the actual demand, so once they fix the tech issues they will be happy I expect.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote xb0xguru "@CARPETBURN - PQ is on par with SD broadcast, at least whilst viewing through a 50" Plasma via HDMI."

Thanks for that info, would it be possible for you or someone with a sky player service to give me details about the resolution it operates at and the bitrate they use. Id be quite interested in their online service if it sounds to me as if its up to a standard worth the cost.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.