Sky by Broadband – Movies On Demand

skybybroadband.jpgWhen I first heard about this service from the UK Digital Satellite Television provider Sky, I was very excited by the prospect. Downloading full length films through your PC on demand and then streaming them to my Xbox 360 using Windows Media Center Edition gave me goosebumps, however after having a go I am far from impressed.

Firstly logging in. Using the Xbox 360 requires the use of the Windows Media Center remote control, which is fiddly for entering the username and password. Entering the information in once is fine, but the system doesn’t remember on subsequent visits which makes life very tedious.

Using Windows Media Video Compression which I really like, although the resolution choice of 540×432 is far too low and the bit-rate of 860kbps is just silly for movie content. I would hope for at least 1.5mbps and then maybe it would be spot on.

I do have Sky+, which is a 40gb Digital TV recorder which is quite frankly superb, but Sky by Broadband really needs extra effort to convince anyone seriously to use it. I expected a lot better and instead I was left with a very lack lustre effort. On the bright side though, with some better bit-rates for the movie content and software improvements, it could still turn into a very useful way of viewing movies.

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology.

Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.

  • Richard

    How did you do this? I am also interested in watching downloaded movies from Skybybroadband.
    I have a MCE2005 machine. My 360 has the MC Extender and it works for music, photos, mpeg and WMVs that aren’t DRMd. But it doesn’t work for WMVs downloaded from Sky. I can use the MCE interface part on the 360 and login to my Skybybroadband account, but it still doesn’t work…

    Is there anything I’m missing?

    Thanks,

    Richard

  • Hiya

    Are you going to the ‘Online Spotlight’ area to select Sky by Broadband? If not you can’t stream directly because of the DRM like you say.

    Can you play Sky by Broadband through your PC with no problem?

  • Saul Tracey

    I also have and occasionally use the sky service and am mostly in agreement with James on this. However i would like to know how James managed to stream to the 360 from the PC coz i didnt know this was possible and also i think the 360 requires WMP 11 whereby Sky By Broadband requires WMP 10. To be honest i find all this really quite confusing and annoying. It would be great to play downloaded content from my pc on my 360 but i haven’t quite figured out how to do this, does anyone have any ideas?

  • Saul Tracey

    Just read this – IPTV coming to 360 http://www.gamespot.com/news/6163829.html

  • [Comment ID #15603 Will Be Quoted Here]

    When you install Sky by Broadband, if you check the ‘Online Spotlight’ on Media Center for the Xbox 360, there is a Sky by Broadband option where you enter your username and password. I haven’t tired the service since upgrading to version 11 of Windows Media Player though, I had 10 when I first wrote this post.

    I have Windows XP – Media Center Edition on my PC so have been able to stream audio, images and importantly video for a long time. You only needed version 11 if you didn’t have this version of Windows XP.