Itâ€™s been visible for sometime, however today is the first day that the Sky Player functionality in Windows Media Center works. Iâ€™ve never used Sky Player online before so I had a bit of work getting my account setup and the rights to access our subscribed channels but after about 15-30mins I had it all working.
The UI is clean and mostly in-line with the style of Windows Media Center. Some elements such as the TV Guide I felt where not sympathetic to the Media Center UI and should be updated to give a better feel of integration.
The Now Playing mini-menu items also arenâ€™t Media Center-esk at all. They are evidently Skyâ€™s UI at work here, and again I feel they should be integrated into the Media Center look at feel.
The number of channels available is a bit on the slim side â€“ I was expecting to see the full line-up available making a seamless experience across Sky+ or Sky+HD set-top and WMC (not to mention Xbox 360) but this is not the case.
The channels currently available are as follows:
- Sky Real Lives
- Sky Arts 1
- Sky Screen 1
- Sky Screen 2
- Sky Sports 1
- Sky Sports 2
- Sky Sports 3
- Sky Sports Xtra
- Sky Sports News
- Eurosport UK
- Eurosport 2 UK
- ESPN Classic
- Sky News
- National Geographic
- National Geographic Wild
- Cartoon Network
- Disney Channel
- Nick Jr.
- I was only able to view a small handful of the channels because we no longer have Multiroom, nor do we subscribe to Sky Broadband Unlimited â€“ More on this in a minute.
- The whole experience is Silverlight powered which was to be expected, hence using the UI elements from the normal web based Sky Player.
- You get the ability to rent on-demand content such as Lie to Me and there are Sky Movies and Sky Box Office films available for rental also.
- My biggest beef with this offering from Sky is the pricing. For me without Sky Multiroom or Sky Broadband Unlimited, to access channels I already pay for in my living room would cost me and extra Â£9.75 a month, whilst programmes like Lie to Me which I can watch and record on my Sky+ box for free with our subscription which includes Sky 1, however using the on-demand features it would cost me Â£1.75 to rent it.
- I understand Sky need to make money but I think they are taking the biscuit in charging people an extra Â£9.75 for the privilege of using WMC or Xbox 360 to view Sky content, and not even the full channel line-up at that, but to then charge to access on-demand content which you can record for free it the last straw.
- I wonâ€™t be paying for it for certain, but then again, I refuse to pay Â£10 for Sky+HD when the line-up of HD channels is far from what US networks offer for no extra charge, and the limitation of 2 tuners still.
- Iâ€™m going to be starting a petition on Facebook or somewhere to try and get Sky to bring out a quad tuner box â€“ Then I may consider paying for Sky+HD.