Sky’s digital TV service - the biggest thing in television since
television, as claimed by its advertising - was installed in our house
this weekend. It had a lot of hype to live up to.
As existing subscribers we only required an upgrade installation. This
took nearly four hours! Eventually, I was handed the much vaunted new
remote control, or EPG (electronic programme guide). I have to agree
that it is extremely easy to use, particularly when combined with the
on-screen information. The front page of the TV guide offers eight
categories to choose from which take you into sets of channels. These
have been grouped by genre, for example, movies, sport or entertainment.
From there, you can make your choice and the guide selects the channel
The picture quality is good but not, to my eye, demonstrably better than
its analogue equivalent. Digital sound does seem better.
Currently, the main point of difference Sky Digital has to its analogue
counterpart is many more movie channels and the opportunity to see
up-to-date film releases - if you are prepared to pay pounds 2.99 a time
for the privilege. The pay-per-view films were easy to order and the
fact they start every 15 minutes made them attractive.
There were some niggles. First, the lack of the Cartoon Network, which
caused a mini-riot involving my three-year-old son.
Second, some time after installation we discovered the video no longer
worked. I was sure a call to the Sky customer service centre would soon
remedy the problem. Not this time! My first call resulted in me being
cut off after I had explained the problem. The second attempt involved
hanging on for seven minutes until I was promised that an engineer would
phone back by 9pm. Twenty-four hours later, I’m still waiting ...
In summary, we are pretty satisfied with the service so far. However, I
would make one plea to Mark Booth - Cartoon Network please. Soon.
Paul Van Barthold is the director of TV for the Media Business.