Why I love Sky+

What a day. I’ve been quite mobile today, dashing about from one place to another. It’s good, though, so good, to be able to come home and plonk myself in front of TV. I’ve been watching some blogs about all this Windows Media Center mularky – I’ve tried it myself, but … sorry my Sky Plus wins every time.

I have a simple and easy philosophy when it comes to technology. Firstly, it’s got to work. Secondly if it doesn’t work, can I fix it within a few hours?

If not, it’s in the bin. This was the story with my Windows Media Center. I bought a top-of-the-range slimline PC, I installed Windows Media Center, then I installed all the drivers, put the IR receiver thing on the box, put the cables in, fiddled about with the Sky box and then… It worked… for a bit. Over the coming weeks I added more drivers and had to reboot it a couple of times when it froze up. Emily complained about the noise of the hard drive as it purred away on our TV stand and then… it crashed. All I was doing was recording one show and watching another and … Bang, blue screen.

After yet more faffing about I got it working, but after another few driver problems and yet more nights spent in front of our TV with a keyboard and a mouse Emily went mental.

“Just get Sky+”, she said.

So we did. For those who don’t remember, I did it a rather cheap way. I didn’t realise it would get the reaction it did with websites talking about they way I did it, but it works fine and I’m happy. The PC ended up being sold and now there’s a box with a quieter HD under our TV which does exactly what I tell it to do, every time. Right now we’re recording one TV show on Sky whilst recording another show on Sky. Brilliant. I’ve got series links set everywhere and all my favourite shows record without me even thinking about it. Excellent. Now Sky have implemented a new thing where I can remotely set the box to record stuff, and I can simply press the green button or the red button to record a programme which is being advertised on one of those “coming next week” things. Lovely.

Sure, there’s not the video library / picture gallery / RSS feed implementation BUT, after a hard day I can always sit down and press that magic green button to access all the TV shows I’ve recorded. Simple, worry free and – best of all – I get a LOT more TV shows for my Sky subscription!! No matter HOW much I loved the functionality and internet connectivity of the Windows Media Center, it couldn’t ever record two Sky channels at once, or let me watch one channel on Sky whilst recording another Sky channel. Well, not unless you’ve got two Sky tuners and a second subscription…plus two cards on your Windows Media Center too.

All I need now is some way of getting the Sky remote to work my amplifier. :(