Mass Media & Technology

Digital TV

Were you an early adopter?

SE
settopboxing New member

Even with OpenTV it would have taken a bit of work to get the software running on each box/CPU. OpenTV makes developing the EPG software easy as it handles all the input/DVB/graphics stuff. However OpenTV still needs an OS (Nucleus RTOS on SD Sky boxes) with drivers to run on top of, so each manufacturer would have had to write drivers for their box and compile the OS and software to run on their CPU of choice.


Oh, absolutely, but I assume there'd have been ports of the likes of Nucleus and VxWorks and either drivers written for some of that hardware already by the chip vendors (since they were all STB chipsets anyway) or at least an expectation that writing such ports would be beneficial for re-use in the future. That, and I don't suppose Sky themselves had a whole lot of reasons to care, as long as the box manufacturers got the job done with the OS and the middleware so they could come in and plonk their OpenTV bytecode on top.

The interactive card did get some use the mid to late 00's, Sky had a credit card for a few years which allowed you to check the account by putting the card in the interactive solt and accessing it on Sky Active. Nuts magazine also had a TV channel at the time which had a loyalty card using the interactive slot.

However like you I personally have never seen it used.


That's good to know, I'm mostly interested in the analogue and early digital eras so mid/late 00s is a little later than I'd usually be looking for info about, but a fuller understanding of the platform as a whole is always helpful, I shall have to look more into that.
PE
Pete Founding member STV North Reporting Scotland
Why did you used to need to connect your Sky Digital box to the phone line? That was also a thing iirc?
ELM 2011: I am sick of been persicuted by you immature TV Forumers!
IT
IndigoTucker
They transmitted the shows you watched and your activity to Open for data analysis over the phone line off-peak IIRC. It also enabled you to pair viewing cards, purchase Box Office, and access emails, shopping, pay for games etc. As a result, Open massively subsided the price of your box from £400? down to £200, or free eventually IIRC. You were free to not sign the subsidy contract, but pay the full price.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member Central (West) Midlands Today
They transmitted the shows you watched and your activity to Open for data analysis over the phone line off-peak IIRC. It also enabled you to pair viewing cards, purchase Box Office, and access emails, shopping, pay for games etc. As a result, Open massively subsided the price of your box from £400? down to £200, or free eventually IIRC. You were free to not sign the subsidy contract, but pay the full price.


Yes, in the days before On-Demand became a thing, the Box Office stuff/premium was done over the phone line. Nowadays it'll just use the internet connection.

Sky multiroom used to have a requirement to be connected to the phone line, which was something they did actively check, though not in the way of bashing your door down of course... That changed in 2013. "To enjoy Sky Multiscreen, each TV in your house needs its own Sky box and they must all be connected to the same phone line, unless you activated your viewing card after 17 December 2013, in which case no phone line connection is needed. However, make sure your boxes are connected to your broadband network where possible."
UK
UKnews

Given what I've heard about some of the other boxes, that Pace 2200 was probably by far the most reliable of those four, particularly the Amstrads prone to power supply failures as I understand it.

I think most of the Amstrad boxes (the original digiboxes and Sky+ boxes) were awful until they weren't made by Amstrad any more. I don't remember any major issues with my 1TB 'Amstrad' Sky+ HD box in the 5 or 6 years I had it.

The early Sky+ HD boxes made by Thomson were, I seem to remember, notorious for blowing their power supplies. There were quite a few people online who replaced the the capacitors with better ones and found the boxes to be much more reliable after that.

I think that, whilst not perfect, the hardware Sky supply now seems to be pretty good. I had a 2TB Sky Q box for about 4 years and, whilst it wasn't crash free, its certainly better than a lot of equipment supplied by service providers, for example the routers from a lot of ISPs. They've also spent a lot of time on the UI, something I only really fully appreciated when I got my Virgin V6 box. Now counting down the months until that contract is up (although the broadband has been pretty good).
PF
PFMC84 UTV Newsline
A neighbour of mine had the Pace 2200 Digibox since they upgraded to Sky Digital in 1998 and were using it up until 2 years ago when they finally upgraded to a Sky+HD box but even then it wasn't one they got from Sky, it was given to them by a family member. They turned their TV and Sky box off at the plug when they were finished watching TV and never put it into standby first or left it in standby, even if it was going to be for a short period of time. As a result, they ended up going through several TV's in that space of time but the Pace box soldiered on, albeit much, MUCH slower than when it was new and the last time I saw it in operation it took around 3 seconds after a button press for it to register on screen, but this didn't matter to them, they were used to it. The upgrade to a newer STB with different layout and faster reaction times must have been mind-blowing for them!
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
A neighbour of mine had the Pace 2200 Digibox since they upgraded to Sky Digital in 1998 and were using it up until 2 years ago when they finally upgraded to a Sky+HD box but even then it wasn't one they got from Sky, it was given to them by a family member. They turned their TV and Sky box off at the plug when they were finished watching TV and never put it into standby first or left it in standby, even if it was going to be for a short period of time. As a result, they ended up going through several TV's in that space of time but the Pace box soldiered on, albeit much, MUCH slower than when it was new and the last time I saw it in operation it took around 3 seconds after a button press for it to register on screen, but this didn't matter to them, they were used to it. The upgrade to a newer STB with different layout and faster reaction times must have been mind-blowing for them!


Switching off at the power socket, rather than using the remote for standby shouldn't do anything to intrinsically shorten the life
of either a telly or a (non hard drive equipped) Sky box. I had a Pace 2200 for many years too. It normally required a mains reboot every few days, so if anything your family member may well have experienced greater stability from it !
NL
Ne1L C Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I switch off at the mains for safety's sake. The only downside is that the Nvidia Shield takes about 60 seconds to be ready from powering up.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I switch off at the mains for safety's sake. The only downside is that the Nvidia Shield takes about 60 seconds to be ready from powering up.


Actually, it was pointless sticking a 1998 Sky box into standby anyway, it consumed a fraction of a watt less compared with being on. I think I measured 18 watts on and in standby. With 10 million subscribers, that's a national load of 180 MW 24/7 assuming everyone left them in standby or on when not using. (Which clearly Neil wasn't the case ! Cool )

14 days later

NL
Ne1L C Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I leave it on standby now. it proabaly doesnt use much power anyway.

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