Sky has removed a number of apps that used to give older boxes, including Sky+HD, extra functionality via the Services and Interactive buttons.
- Basic account-related functionality no longer available on Sky HD and Sky+HD boxes.
- Sky previously delivered a range of applications to its receivers via the satellite signal.
The removal ends 25 years of delivering platform-specific interactive applications via satellite. In its heyday, Sky offered subscribers access to games, email and extra content. Sky originally required users to connect their satellite receiver to their landline, enabling the full functionality of their receiver.
Most of these services disappeared years ago, leaving SD boxes without any interactive functions. But basic account-related interactive functionality for Sky HD and Sky+HD boxes continued. The apps broadcast via satellite allowed viewers to manage their account, reset PIN and program their remote.
Sky has now discontinued the broadcast of these data streams on satellite. They used to be broadcast on Astra 2E transponder 16 (12012V) and Astra 2F transponder 27 (12227H).
What’s broken as a result of the change?
As a result, viewers using a Sky HD or Sky+HD will find that some features under the ‘services’ and ‘interactive’ menu no longer function. This includes ‘My Sky’, ‘Get Sky Products’ and ‘Help & Support’.
Instead, affected subscribers will need to log on to Sky’s website to make modifications to their account, including adding extra channels.
Sky Q isn’t affected. Unlike Sky+HD, the receiver doesn’t rely on apps being delivered via satellite. Instead, the functionality is delivered via broadband internet.
What’s not affected…
The interactive services that have been withdrawn do not include any broadcaster-specific services. So for example, red button services from the BBC aren’t affected. And extra streams delivered by Sky Sports and TNT Sports are also not covered by these changes.
In a separate development, Sky did recently reduce what was available to tennis fans on older Sky boxes during the US Open. It’s a sign that further functionality may be lost on Sky+HD boxes.
What to do if you’ve got Sky+HD
The move isn’t surprising. Sky has been withdrawing support from its former flagship boxes for some time. And it’s been a number of years since the boxes received any noteworthy upgrades.
Sky wants customers to upgrade to one of its newer devices. It’s pushing its internet-based Sky Stream puck or Sky Glass TV. Alternatively, it is still possible to upgrade to Sky Q and remain with satellite-based reception.
But older Sky HD and Sky+HD boxes still provide access to Sky’s core satellite TV service, including free-to-air HD channels. Unlike even older Sky+ and Sky digiboxes, these can still be used to receive BBC and ITV channels after January’s closure of SD channels.
Effectively, anyone using Sky+HD or Sky HD will continue to receive a no-frills Sky TV service. However, some of the extra streaming services and useful features (like voice control) only available on Sky’s newer platforms are offered ‘at no extra cost’. This means viewers paying the same, but using Sky+HD will be receiving a lot less for the same money.