ASA warns Sky over instant movie gratification
The Sky Anytime+ service has probably resulted in many households downloading an awful lot more data than they have done previously. Of course Sky is keen to promote the service which is a free addition for Sky TV customers and works with any broadband service and in some of their advertising they suggested that you could 'rent movies instantly'.
BT complained to the ASA on the grounds that the wording of the advert was exaggerating the speed with which consumers could use the service. Sky's response was that the vast majority of ADSL customers should be able to starting watching a movie within 1 minute of starting the download, i.e. the point at which the software decides it can play the film without any buffering.
The ASA upheld the complaint, as they took the stance that instant meant straight away, or with no noticeable delay. It was judged by the ASA that a delay of up to a minute for most customers was well outside the scope of 'no noticeable delay'.
Having used Sky Anytime+ ourselves we decided to run the service against some movies we had not watched before, and on a below average ADSL2+ connection, i.e. supports downloads of 6.3Mbps (connected at 7616Kbps), both an SD (854MB) and a HD film (2.5GB) were available to play 14 seconds after selecting. Even for slower connections the time before start is unlikely to be too much longer than a minute. A connection that can download at 2 Mbps, would take one hour to download a complete 90 minute standard definition movie, i.e. it will download faster than it can be played back, and after 1 minute of download time it will have 90 seconds of buffered film to cope with momentary speed glitches.