Sky had been planning an overhaul of the EPG for quite a while. In 2004 many Digiboxes 'failed' due to the number of channels (the 'missing channel syndrome', sometimes requiring a box to be physically unplugged and restarted several times a day!) so a fix was eventually released. This fix was more temporary than final as - apparently - there were difficulties with adding 'new' channels to the existing line-up, especially radio channels.
The 'big change' was previewed to take place in Autumn 2005. Well, Autumn came and went and all we saw was a nicer-looking EPG. Perhaps somebody out there greatly underestimated the complexities of revamping the EPG on all possible Digiboxes, even the old ones!
However a date was been set. February 28th.
The update took place in two phases...
You need a card to set a parental PIN. This is unlikely to change as I think the box communicates with Sky in the process of setting up a PIN - perhaps as a security measure?
The system test still requires a phone line to be connected...
And, interestingly, Sky have not altered the yellow button and message stuff. I wonder if they ever will implement messaging? What would be kinda cool is if they could provide a phone number where you can send SMSs. The start of the SMS would be the "version" and "serial number" of the box or (if a registered Sky subscriber) some sort of shortcut (like "RicksBox"). Then the remainder of my message would be sent on to me.
For example, if you SMS'd:
9F03060029643010I can't email you, your mailbox is full!
to Sky, then it would extract the "where to" from the numbers at the start, and then the message indicator on my box would light up. When I press the yellow button, I would see:
Until such a thing happens, we'd still see:
An idea of how to implement this... The box should hold, internally, the last 20 messages received along with a "seen" flag. Then, upon receipt of a message, Sky should broadcast it as
out-of-band data immediately, then after 15 minutes, then in increasingly longer intervals until it has been broadcast perhaps 10 or 20 times. When the box receives a message, it should check the internal message ID (perhaps a datestamp) with those it already knows about. If it is known, ignore it. If it isn't, add it to the list and turn on that yellow light! Perhaps in "Services", you can review received messages, including 'Delete' and 'Reply to sender' (will need a phone line for this!). When you delete a message, the box should probably retain the message ID (so rebroadcasts of the message, if you delete it immediately, don't cause it to appear as a 'new' message).
And how not to do it - turn on the message indicator and require the user (who'll have to be a subscriber) to get their box to call out in order to retrieve messages. As it stands I have a few people who could easily tap out an SMS to send to my Digibox to appear on-screen as a message to me. But, then, they can just as easily send an SMS to my mobile.
Make it accessible and friendly, Sky, and you might get a few pennies for each message. If not, their pennies will instead go to Orange. Your choice.
(and if I was resident in the UK, I may even have used my box to send replies - writing SMSs on my mobile is not exactly the simplest thing to do!)
For some reason, the 'Narrative' in the audio setup has been changed to 'Audio description' (which is messily abbreviated 'Audio Des' (is that like Mel&Des?)). Don't tell me that this has been dumbed down because people didn't know what 'narrative' meant!?!?
Did they read my suggestion? This is great!
Go back up to the pictures of the new EPG index. Did you notice that little blue button? Did you notice what its caption said?
Yeah - really! The EPG will now show you the line-up of only those channels that you have marked as 'favourite'. So now you can see, on two pages, what it'd take a lot of faffing around to do in the main EPG. Oh YES! This is a real "When Harry Met Sally" moment. You know what I'm talking about. :-)