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Sky TV Launches On Xbox 360

Gordon Kelly


Sky TV Launches On Xbox 360

Microsoft and Sky certainly have become chummy...

Following the launch of Sky on Windows 7, the Sky Player on the Xbox 360 has also now gone live. As the name suggests, this latest service will provide customers with direct access to Sky's online TV service of the same name, plus a selection of live streaming channels. It also has no requirement for a satellite dish.

As with Sky Player both online and through Windows 7, a wide range of content is available including shows from Sky1, films across the full range of Sky Movies channels, comedy classics from G.O.L.D., kids entertainment from Disney and Nickleodeon, documentaries from National Geographic, Eden and History channels and the latest trash from MTV.

In all, 24 live streaming channels plus on-demand (with over 400 flicks at any one time) will give you more viewing hours than you can possibly cram in. Equally importantly, Microsoft and Sky have combined their savvy to create a fast and intuitive UI with one or two neat tricks up its sleeve. Foremost amongst these is 'Avatar Party Mode' which lets viewers use their avatars to watch live TV alongside their friend's - a dorky, but charmingly social feature.

Downsides? No HD content will be initially available while pricing is somewhat complicated. For example, to watch Sky Player through your Xbox 360 customers will need an Xbox Live Gold membership. Non-Sky Direct to Home (DTH) customers will also require a monthly subscription which starts at £15 per month to Sky Player's 'Base Entertainment Pack'. Customers who want to watch Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra, ESPN and the Sky Movies channels will be able to add these 'Sports Pack' and 'Movies Pack' bundles to their Base Entertainment Pack for an additional cost.

Existing Sky subscribers are given free access to on-demand content with streaming channels thrown in for Sky Multiroom and Broadband Unlimited customers. On top of this, a Sky Player retail bundle pack including 1 month Sky Player Subscription (Sky Sports Pack), Media Remote and 3 month LIVE Gold Membership Subscription Card hits shops today priced at £29.99.

Told you it was complicated...

Update: By popular request, here is the full price breakdown of all the Sky Xbox bundle pricing...

Update 2: Well, that was a damp squib. Technical difficulties postponed the launch. In an official statement Sky has declared: "The service has been suspended due to an unforeseen technical issue. Sky Player engineers are hard at work to resolve the problem. We expect to have the full service available on Wednesday." {ie today}. Here's hoping!


Xbox 360 Sky TV Product Page


October 27, 2009, 5:03 pm

Nevermind Sky, i think it would be far more useful if BBC, ITV and Channel4's content could be served up via Media Centre or the 360, but then i guess there is no money to be made by that deal.


October 27, 2009, 5:18 pm

It's not following the launch of the service on WIndows 7... that isn't available yet. Still says "coming soon".


October 27, 2009, 5:22 pm

these two options means I can finally watch sky - haven't in the past due to the satellite dish devaluing the house as it is quite old.

Matt G Baish

October 27, 2009, 5:28 pm

So I can't just get xbox live gold sub & then pay-per-view for on-demand sky stuff? (i.e. I *have* also to pay a minimum £180 per year subs to sky). I thought sky were touting the pay-per-view model was the way forward? Obviously not. Bah - I was looking forward to this as well.

Rubbish - I'll stick with Freeview/Freesat/iPlayer/4oD/Tversity etc etc


October 27, 2009, 5:29 pm

Hmm.. I'm usually a bright guy but I struggled to follow that pricing matrix.

Help me out here-

-I'm a sky customer with a full subscription to every channel.

-I'm also an Xbox360 user but with no Gold membership (I spend loads of cash on on-demand HD movies and Arcarde titles so presumable Bronze or Silver).

Can I watch SKY through my Xbox? Or do I have to shell out more cash?

It would be great if I can, as I already own VirginMediaHD+ for those (all to frequent) days when the Sky box or dish just don't want to work. So this would give me options.


snoop 7

October 27, 2009, 5:42 pm

I have Sky Player, not via X box, but via a desktop app. The live content is not entirely live but delayed by 2 minutes which frustrates the hell out of me and currently I'm battling with Sky to have it rectified. Sky's rationale for the two minute delay is because the "way sky encode the picture and send it via the server and deliver it via the Kontiki software". All very well but technically it is not live.

So expect to celebrate that important goal two minutes later from Sky satellite subscribers!


October 27, 2009, 6:03 pm

so complicated microsoft have removed the sky player tab from the dashboard at the moment until they can actually get it to work.

Sir Stuie

October 27, 2009, 6:20 pm

Its already saved Sky one customer. I was planning on leaving Sky BB in the new year after their claims of improving my BB in Sept resulted in a minimal speed increase and daily dropouts. Looks like I will just keep on moaning at them in vain, dam them.

Tim Sutton

October 27, 2009, 6:46 pm

@ snoop_7

A 2 minute delay really isn't that bad, honest! If you've ever tried to watch live sport via Sopcast or tvants etc then a 2 minute delay would seem like nirvana. On those applications you have to allow for buffering time if you want anything close to acceptable video quality.

I actually set my buffer to 15 minutes manually, and there are still occasional breaks in the stream.

How does the video quality on the Sky player compare to the BBCs iPlayer live coverage of Formula 1? I've been impressed with that, and that's actually not significantly delayed, now I think about it. Hmm.


October 27, 2009, 6:46 pm

@Andrew: Sky Player's been available via Desktop PCs for a while (although probably not the ideal set up for some people I admit).

@Dan: Yes, from what I gather, you'll need an Xbox Live Gold Membership subscription too.

@snoop_7: I think I'd be OK with two minutes...

Meanwhile, I don't have an X360, but am waiting patiently for the BBC to sort out their Wii iPlayer channel... taking forever (note: it used to work through the internet channel before, but the latest update broke it and there's an 'in construction' page).


October 27, 2009, 7:00 pm

they've now re-added the sky player tab to the dashboard, with a message underneath saying 'coming later today', when you click on it you get a little sky sports news advert...why can't they actually sort these things out before they release them?


October 27, 2009, 8:10 pm

@Simon: BBC, ITV, in fact almost all on demand services can be had on Windows Media Center using an add-on called TunerFreeMCE (sadly iPlayer and any flash based services won't work on extenders due to no flash streaming support on extenders)

I'm also dissapointed at there being no PPV pricing/availability mentioned as I was really looking forward to that. We left Sky when we switched to Windows Media Center & Freeview and have no desire to get back into a monthly fee (even if it is only on a per month basis). Sky have only a few shows I want that aren't all on at the same time so a PPV model is far more cost effective.

snoop 7

October 27, 2009, 9:34 pm

@ Tim Sutton

My internet connection is 7mb so I rarely have buffering problems. I understand where you're coming from as compared to illegitimate players such as Sopcast the quality is great but still when you're paying £34 pm for a sports package you expect no delays. I've had it for nearly a year so slowly accepting it. However, I am sure Sky can resolve this if enough people nag away at them.

The BBC iPlayer also carries live stream and the delay I've noticed with their website and the actual channel is 3 seconds or thereabouts so technically it is possible to resolve.

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