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Sky+ Series Link

January 22nd, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sky PlusSky+ is one of those rare killer apps that has actually been well designed, however there are a couple of weaknesses in one of its most useful features – Series Link.

Sky+ Series LinkFirstly, the EPG (and hence series link) can only ‘see’ 7 days in advance. As often happens on the BBC, a programme gets postponed for a week. A prime example is Doctor Who making way for something like the Eurovision Song Contest on a Saturday night. Series Link cannot see two weeks ahead, so the link gets broken, and unless you spot this, you start to miss episodes.

Secondly, and more importantly, the series link information is provided by the individual broadcaster, so whether you get the correct information about the next episode is entirely down whether the broadcaster can be bothered to provide the information in the first place, and if it does, is actually competent to do it correctly (or at least understand what constitutes the next episode).

What is really annoying, is when the broadcaster does provide information, but it is wrong. In some ways this is worse than no information at all because you are trusting them to get it right. Again, the BBC seems to be the villain here for two distinct types of false information:

Often a new series is repeated a couple of times a week (especially on BBC Three), so for example Episode 1 could be shown on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. If I record Episode 1 on the Sunday and set Series Link, I expect the next recording to be Episode 2 on the following Sunday, but I often find that the Monday repeat is the next to be recorded. Why the hell would I want to record the same thing again? Obviously someone at the BBC doesn’t understand what series link is for and is just setting the next time that ‘programme name’ is shown. The problem here is that if I cancel the rogue recording, it breaks the link, so I need to set up the Sunday recording again.

The other situation I have seen is when the person setting the series link information ignores my wishes and seems to think that I would like to record a related programme rather than the one I asked for. Typically this would be a ‘behind the scenes’ programme (BBC Three) or another programme in the ‘season’ of programmes (BBC Four), rather than what I had asked for, namely the next episode of the same programme.

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