Posts Tagged ‘Television’

Setanta’s troubles are hardly surprising

June 20th, 2009 No comments

Setanta has lost the rights to their Premier League matches after failing to make a contractual payment.

I can’t say that I am surprised by this. While I don’t agree with Sky having a monopoly on coverage of a particular sport (or any other broadcaster for that matter), the European ruling that rights must be split between broadcasters was ill-conceived.

Prior to this, it was possible to pay one subscription to Sky and watch your team on Sky. When the rights were split, consumers (whose interest the ruling was supposed to favour) were faced with paying an extra ten quid a month to get the same as the previous season; Sky’s subscription did not reduce as a result. The European ruling completely failed to increase competition from the customers point of view; the only winners have been the rights holders as it has allowed them to split the rights packages and sell them for more than they would have got for the package as a whole. You have to wonder where the interests of those making the ruling really lay.

Competition requires the availability of a choice (such as a telephone company or electricity supplier) for the same service; Sky and Setanta were not providing the same service; you could not choose to watch the same match on Sky or Setanta.

Faced with this decision, only the most hardened fan would shell out another tenner (over 20% on top of Sky’s complete Sport/Film/Entertainment package) just to see a handful of matches, especially in a family household where the full Sky package is likely to be accepted by a spouse, but an extra tenner for sports would not go down well.

Even without the current economical downturn, Setanta were always facing a mammoth task to break even.

Sky+ bug

January 24th, 2009 No comments

Sky PlusWhile Sky+ works well most of the time, I have found a bug in the software when faced with a dual recording.

Normally if you have a concurrent recording set for channels A and B but are watching channel C, the box will pop up with a message saying that you have to cancel a recording to continue watching channel C – fair enough as it needs both tuners to do the recording. If you do not respond to the pop-up it will assume you are not there and record both programs, switching away from channel C.

Having two young daughters, Sky is often still tuned to CBeebies when they go to bed. CBeebies closes down at 7pm. If Sky+ now has two recordings set it still displays the pop-up but doesn’t time out meaning that one of the recordings fails unless you come back, switch the TV on, see the pop-up and respond to it, which normally results in missing the start of the one of the recordings.

It would seem that if the channel C in the example above is a channel which is not currently broadcasting, Sky+ fails to time out and you lose one of your recordings.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

12 Month Countdown to Winter Hill Switchover begins

December 2nd, 2008 No comments

Winter Hill MastOne year from today, Winter Hill will cease to transmit analogue television signals. The two dates to remember are 4th November and 2nd December 2009.

On the first date, BBC TWO will cease analogue transmission which will free up space for more digital channels, while on the second date all analogue transmissions will cease and more digital channels will become available.

More details here.

Is John Sergeant the Thorn in Strictly’s Side?

November 9th, 2008 No comments

Telephone VotingI really detest the telephone voting shows that currently pass as Saturday night ‘entertainment’, but my wife watches Strictly Come Dancing. What I do find funny, is the continued survival of John Sergeant (often misspelt ‘Sargent’) and how it’s really starting to annoy the judges.

However, it got me wondering – what if you wanted to intentionally sabotage one of these programmes? What better way to do it than to use their over-reliance on telephone voting against them.

EurovisionRemember Eurovision 2006 in Athens, when Finland group ‘Lordi’ famously won with a heavy metal rock track? Thousands of viewers across Europe saw the chance to tip the result in favour of the outsider. Whether this was the otherwise silent number of hard rocks fans or Eurovision-skeptics looking to make a fool of the competition, it is not known, but the result was a resounding win for outsider Finland.

What if John Sergeant’s survival is not entirely down to his fan-base, but is in fact due to a long awaited backlash against this kind of show? What better way to discredit Saturday night pseudo-talent-judge-vote shows than to make a complete farce of the selection process by making the judging of any actual skill irrelevant. John Sergeant even alluded to this last night, when he pointed out that they were only playing by the rules – the judges only account for 50% of the vote.

Whether John’s votes come from a disparate number of ‘mischievous viewers’, simply trying to throw a spanner in the works, or an organised number of people intentionally trying to tilt the vote (Top Gear maybe), Len Goodman’s comments last night about people voting for John making a nonsense of the show, have only served to help John’s cause by keeping him out of the bottom two for yet another week.

Winter Hill Changes for Digital Switchover

October 19th, 2008 No comments

Winter Hill Changes - click for larger Anyone who lives near to the Winter Hill transmitter will have noticed that it has undergone a few changes in the last couple of years.

In preparation for the digital switchover in Autumn 2009, new antenna arrays have been installed, while the arrays installed as a temporary measure during the concurrent transmission of analogue and digital TV are being removed. Click on the image on the right for a larger version.

There are also pictures of ongoing work on the mb21 site including the sections of GRP shroud that have been removed.

Sky Launches Remote Record on Sky+

July 8th, 2006 No comments

Sky PlusSky have finally got around to launching their Remote Record functionality on Sky+.
Basically there are three ways to remotely set your Sky+ digibox to record a programme.

  1. via Sky by Mobile, a small app running on your compatible mobile phone.
  2. by text message “Programme title. Channel. Date. Time.” to 61759
  3. and finally via sky’s web page, although this is not yet live

So far, I have only tried the first option. You need to register in the Customer Zone on Sky are then supposed to send you a wap push message to your phone including the address to download the mobile app to your phone, but nothing arrived, even when I tried resending it from the customer zone services area. I found a post on Digital Spy’s forums, which gave the download address for the 156 kbyte app. (the messages did eventually arrive about 2 hours later)

Sky Mobile TV Guide on a Sony Ericsson k750iYou then have to register your mobile number via your Sky digibox. Press the interactive button on your Sky+ remote and choose ‘Sky Active’. Then go to ‘My Sky’ and select ‘Remote Record’. Enter your mobile number and you should be set up. Note this step requires the phone connection on your digibox as it needs to dial in your registration.

The TV Guide has the same look as on the Sky+ EPG, however you cannot skip forward by typing the channel number as you can on the EPG. This makes finding higher channels a bit of a chore as the data is downloaded for each page.

When you set a program to record, a message says that it will be sent to your digibox in the next thirty minutes, but in practice it’s only a couple of seconds.

Not sure how well the text messaging option will work. What happens if you don’t get the programme name or channel number exactly right? Will the system guess? Also, this option atttracts an extra 25p charge for the confirmation text from Sky.

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,

Day 7 without a TV

June 28th, 2005 No comments

Back in 1990, I purchased a Panasonic TX24-A1 24″ TV (along with an NV-F70 Video recorder). The TV served me well for 15 years until the sound started going on the right channel. Feeling that I’d had a good innings out of the TV, and sensing a long awaited excuse to upgrade to a widescreen model, I purchased a Panasonic TX32-PD50 in April from Sound and Vision in Farnworth, Bolton.

Now, only two months down the line, the TV has developed a fault. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,