Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Skyaphobia

I really do not want to call the Sky TV call centre. I am not sure I have strong enough blood pressure medication for that. Yes, it is silly. Almost a phobia. Oooh, is that a new phobia - skyaphobia?

Yes, I subscribe to Sky for TV. Well, I have been on Sky TV enough times :-). I know some find that odd, sorry. I think I was "the one" the broke their system by having 7 sky boxes on multi-room. They even tried quoting the contract terms that said "if you have a sky mini dish you can have up to 4 sky boxes" which did not work as I do not have a sky mini dish - I have a huge dish with quad LNB and a distribution amplifier in the loft. I installed it myself when younger and more inclined to go up a scaffold tower. They did manage in the end, and we do have 7 Sky boxes on multi-room!

The whole "all connected to the same phone line" also confused them when the "line" was an ISDN2 with 100 numbers and each box has its own number. But we resolved that with VoIP and making all call from the same London number (we are not in London). A SIPURA can work well using a-law to support a Sky modem call.

On a serious note I hope the move to checking multi-room at an Ethernet level on the LAN and not using phone lines soon. Someone in Sky take note (happy to discuss at next forum we are at together). It would avoid the simple trick of making Sky boxes all over the country call from the same VoIP number.

The issue is that half the kids have moved out. In fact, only 1½ live here full time now. I hardly watch Sky myself now I have the man-cave, but I'll keep on as an extra room subscription. My wife watches a lot and we have grandkids around quite often and they watch it. So we can reduce things down to maybe 4 cards. Sadly we only have 3 working boxes, and need a new one.

Now, this should be simple - reduce the number of cards, buy (yes PAY FOR) a new box, and set it all up, ideally without me engineering some sort of phone lines, and without paying  a Sky engineer to "install" the new box, FFS!

I even considered just cancelling the whole lot and then having my wife sign up as a new subscriber - it would be easier I feel (as well as cheaper I expect).

But I have spoken to their call centre before, and it fills me with dread. Skyaphobia!!

So I wonder - has anyone managed to just write a letter stating what they want and Sky actually handling it?

20 comments:

  1. Why not look at Sky Q if you can manage with just 2Tb. No need to pay for each multi room box either as its a one off cost instead of monthly charges.

    Sky boxes no longer use phone line for callbacks, it's all done via Ethernet / wireless if they are connected.

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    1. Sky Q is only available if you have Sky broadband, natch.

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    2. Only for a short period of time and then it's open to all on any ISP.

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  2. I've read somewhere you have to change the LNB on your Sky dish for Sky Q. I suspect it's to a quattro LNB so all polarisation/band combinations are available to the ridiculous number of tuners in the Q box. Anyway, this may not play well with the Rev's distribution system. I've been unable to find out details, Sky say nothing about this in their adverts for Sky Q.

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    1. We have quad LNB and I think the distribution amp is happy to feed all 4 combinations. The issue is number of cables needed :-) However I have no idea what Sky Q is, but I may be able to guess.

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    2. Sky Q is one box that has 12 tuners, the main box connects to dish and the multi room boxes stream from it via Ethernet / wireless (power line is also built in to each box but not active at launch)

      They would change the LNB but one main benefit is no extra multiroom monthly charges.

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    3. Yep that is what I guessed, and would actually be quite cool, and i have a quad LNB already... I my have to ask them :-)

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    4. Quattro != Quad.
      Quad LNBs have polarisation and band selection based on a DC signal and 22kHz tone from the receiver. Quattro LNBs output 4 fixed polarisation/band combinations, and are usually used with a multiswitch type distribution amplifier that handles the selection signal from the receiver, feeding it one of the 4 signals from the quattro LNB.
      I'd be surprised if the Q box required a quattro LNB though, that would imply they just left out the pol/band selection hardware...?
      (Not a satellite engineer - happy to be corrected if I'm wrong :-)

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    5. Mine has 4 cables to allow for my distribution amp to feed lots of sky boxes. It is the right sort of dish! The reason they would need one is different boxes watching different channels at once - same issue as a distribution amp. If you just used selections on the feeds that may not allow all combinations at once.

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    6. No, I meant it would be odd if they insisted on a quattro LNB - a quad LNB can act like a quattro if you fix the pol/band selections to ensure you get all four combinations - just to save the cost of the selection signal h/w. (Or maybe they just want to upsell new LNBs and paid-for installation...)

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    7. I believe the new LNBs send all the horizontally polarised transponders down one cable, and the vertically polarised down the other. So it makes all the transponders available simultaneously to the wide-band tuners, with no new cabling above a "normal" Sky+ install, and no signalling required by the box. Running 4 cables into the living room would not be popular with most punters.

      As such, it's almost certainly not compatible with your system, as your DA will be expecting to provide one of the 4 traditional (narrower band) combinations on receipt of the appropriate signalling.

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  3. Register with the Accessibility department - http://accessibility.sky.com , they are UK based (in Dunfermline), so much more helpful and, perhaps most importantly… actually carry out instructions as requested. :)

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  4. Have you looked at repairing your faulty sky boxes?
    http://www.satcure.co.uk/accs/page12.htm

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  5. Even with just a minidish you could use quattro lnb and a multiswitch to serve a large number of receivers. There's even a nifty fibre optic system made by global invacom that lets you distribute the signal using simple passive optical splitters.

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  6. When moving multiroom check to IP, wouldn't routing/vpn/natting be even easier than hiding behind same VoIP account, avoiding the need of an FXS per box?
    Purely rhetorical question as both aren't particularly hard.

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    Replies
    1. i was thinking an ethernet level check, and latency is impossible to fool.

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  7. RevK- as you may remember we are very close to Sky so can potentially put you in touch with a suitable person to sort it for you. Let me know if we can help. Rmp @ Ivista

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  8. RevK- as you may remember we are very close to Sky so can potentially put you in touch with a suitable person to sort it for you. Let me know if we can help. Rmp @ Ivista

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  9. They already support multiroom check via IP (have done for a year or two). The newer Sky+HD boxes don't even have the ability to connect via phone.

    The Sky Q LNB is indeed a wideband one, using one connection for horizontal and the other vertical. They also offer a hybrid LNB supporting both Q and freesat.

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  10. The new sky Q thing, is, I believe, basically a quattro capable box, with lots of software decoders interally to give you multiple "channels" of record.
    The next step after this I am told, is VoD via the Sky Satellite, I forget exactly how that's supposed to work.
    What I'm doing however is far simpler, I'm going to stick the box in the attic and I've bought a Cat5 to HDMI 4 in, 4 out switch. So I'll run cat5 to each TV from the central point and pop a little unit behind each tv. I can then use HDMI CEC to switch input, and they carry the IR channel also via a little reciever and emitter at either end. Not cheap though, around 1k this unit cost.

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