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226 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 101605 4-May-2012 14:25 One person supports this post Send private message

I have noticed (since getting the box a yr ago) a usb hookup in the back of my Sky STB (MySky HDi). I can guess this is for one of 2 options or both. One is for manual updates via usb stick and the other is for the ability to hook up and external Hard Drive to expand the recording time the STB could use.

I have seen several STB boxes with usb hookups in the back and dating back to 2006 (you will note these are North American STB's), Dishnet, Star Choice, BellExpressvu, Rogers/Shaw, Direct TV, Free to Air box. Around approx 2007-2008 many (pretty much all of the companies started to enable them) of these usb ports got enabled to allow an external HD to be hooked up for added recording time.

I have to ask...

If this usb port on the back of the Sky box has the same capabilities as the previous other STB's I have mentioned (which is highly probable).

I can't help but think Sky is shooting themselves in the foot by not enabling this feature.

My reasoning is this - if I could hook up an external HD for more recording space....I would most likely subscribe to a few more channels like Soho (for one), the wife would like that equestrian (horse channel). Everytime I see Soho commercial....I see all these shows I would like...but then I end up thinking - Forget it! It would just take up too much space I don't have.

I could delete things off the current box for recording...but to this date the wife won't approve such action.

Just curious if recording space is holding back any others from subscribing to more channels.

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  Reply # 619552 4-May-2012 14:30 Send private message

By the same token, it would also give the opportunity to format-shift and therefore negate the commercial hold they have over current subscribers.

I don't see them opening it up to enable hard-drive expansion, personally.





Handsome Dan Has Spoken.

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  Reply # 619553 4-May-2012 14:33 Send private message

Azzura: I have noticed (since getting the box a yr ago) a usb hookup in the back of my Sky STB (MySky HDi). I can guess this is for one of 2 options or both. One is for manual updates via usb stick and the other is for the ability to hook up and external Hard Drive to expand the recording time the STB could use.

I have seen several STB boxes with usb hookups in the back and dating back to 2006 (you will note these are North American STB's), Dishnet, Star Choice, BellExpressvu, Rogers/Shaw, Direct TV, Free to Air box. Around approx 2007-2008 many (pretty much all of the companies started to enable them) of these usb ports got enabled to allow an external HD to be hooked up for added recording time.

I have to ask...

If this usb port on the back of the Sky box has the same capabilities as the previous other STB's I have mentioned (which is highly probable).

I can't help but think Sky is shooting themselves in the foot by not enabling this feature.

My reasoning is this - if I could hook up an external HD for more recording space....I would most likely subscribe to a few more channels like Soho (for one), the wife would like that equestrian (horse channel). Everytime I see Soho commercial....I see all these shows I would like...but then I end up thinking - Forget it! It would just take up too much space I don't have.

I could delete things off the current box for recording...but to this date the wife won't approve such action.

Just curious if recording space is holding back any others from subscribing to more channels.


Sky will not enable the usb port. 

Sky are a monopoly provider. Opening the usb port will eat into profits (people choosing a larger harddrive must pay , with usb, they do not). 





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Master Geek
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  Reply # 619563 4-May-2012 14:41 Send private message

Initially it might eat into profits but having a potential subscriber for 20-30yrs on a channel is going to make them more money in the long-term. Wouldn't it?

Perhaps I am missing something. Does it cost more per month to be using the larger recording STB Sky offers?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 619566 4-May-2012 14:44 Send private message

Azzura: Initially it might eat into profits but having a potential subscriber for 20-30yrs on a channel is going to make them more money in the long-term. Wouldn't it?

Perhaps I am missing something. Does it cost more per month to be using the larger recording STB Sky offers?


Yes, $5 per month more, Sky are excellent at parting you with your $

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  Reply # 619575 4-May-2012 14:50 Send private message

The format shifting argument deosn't hold too much water, surely it would be a proprietary file system that would not work on another machine, they could lock it to that one decoder.

The argument about them not being able to sell the 1Tb model does hold water though, and that is the reason they won't enable it.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 619588 4-May-2012 15:00 Send private message

trig42: The format shifting argument deosn't hold too much water, surely it would be a proprietary file system that would not work on another machine, they could lock it to that one decoder.

The argument about them not being able to sell the 1Tb model does hold water though, and that is the reason they won't enable it.


Bell encrypted anything that was recorded to the external drive (pretty sure all the STB's I mentioned do). So like you say the format shifting doesn't seem correct.

It is possible that after they see no more market penetration with the 1tb models and channel subs level out. They might start thinking enabling the external usb as an option to gain more channel subs. Or it may never happen at all.

$5 bucks a month vs $20-30 more from a person like me (and I am sure there are many many others) for more channels. But as it is now...they get nothing but the basic sub. Lol I just can't bring myself to plunk down the large get in fee of buying the larger recording box (I know it doesn't make sense).

I am starting to find the FreeVu boxes are starting to become even more appealing with the more recording space option. The start-up cost is a bit..but not paying a sky monthly bill will pay it off pretty fast. They may start to lose more customers as people see this as the cheaper option in the long run....maybe ..maybe not.

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  Reply # 619855 4-May-2012 22:07 Send private message

Handsomedan: By the same token, it would also give the opportunity to format-shift and therefore negate the commercial hold they have over current subscribers.

I don't see them opening it up to enable hard-drive expansion, personally.



Don't think that format shifting is a material consideration:

1.  It doesn't add an additional avenue for format shifting if the recordings are encrypted and locked to the STB for playback (like the freeview-approved recorders with external drives do already)

2.  Anyone with a few $$$ for cheap(ish) kit, and half an hour of google time to find and order it, can already easily format shift without an external drive. Macrovision suppressor and DVD recorder for standard definition. HDFury and Hauppauge HD PVR for  high definition.

More likely they want to make the only option for more space to be subscribers paying them the extra $5 a month for a MySky with the larger drive. It's not about format shifting, it's about subscriber gouging.

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  Reply # 619920 5-May-2012 00:44 Send private message

The HDi box is dumbed down.
Its quad tuner. One is reserved for pay per view/box office. A significant portion of the hard drive is also portioned off for pay per view/box office even if you don't use it. If you want more space, you need a HDi+, which costs even more. From memory there are three USB ports, all are useless. I believe there's an eSATA port, also disabled. Ethernet port - once again, disabled.

Pretty sure theres more than that. But there no point in them enabling these features when they don't need to. People will keep paying anyway.

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  Reply # 619923 5-May-2012 00:50 Send private message

there is also an element in there that isn't really sky's fault.
The content rights holders (MGM, NBCU etc) do not like having their stuff able to be recorded indefinitely. By having a limitation on the size of the hard drive, stuff tends to get watched, then deleted. If people could plug in a hard drive and swap them over then they could quite easily hoard TBs of content - which the rights holders hate hate hate.

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  Reply # 620142 5-May-2012 15:48 Send private message

NonprayingMantis: there is also an element in there that isn't really sky's fault.
The content rights holders (MGM, NBCU etc) do not like having their stuff able to be recorded indefinitely. By having a limitation on the size of the hard drive, stuff tends to get watched, then deleted. If people could plug in a hard drive and swap them over then they could quite easily hoard TBs of content - which the rights holders hate hate hate.


The decoder has the capability to "expire" recorded content, so that argument doesn't hold water either.

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Biddle Corp
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  Reply # 620147 5-May-2012 15:57 Send private message

It is also worth remembering that you have no legal right to keep recordings for an extended period of time.

Changes to our copyright act only a couple of years finally legalised VCR's, but video recordings of shows are only legally allowed to be kept for the bare minimum of time to allow watching them, ie time shifting. You are not legally allowed to keep recordings for any extended period of time, and format shifting of video content is also illegal.

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  Reply # 620205 5-May-2012 18:14 Send private message

sbiddle: It is also worth remembering that you have no legal right to keep recordings for an extended period of time.

Changes to our copyright act only a couple of years finally legalised VCR's, but video recordings of shows are only legally allowed to be kept for the bare minimum of time to allow watching them, ie time shifting. You are not legally allowed to keep recordings for any extended period of time, and format shifting of video content is also illegal.


Oh well, I'm sure that some friendly GZers will come and visit me in jail after the boys in blue haul me away. Just like they did for transferring CDs to my iPod (before recent legal changes allowing it) and, shock horror probe, even recording TV on a VCR and sharing tapes with my family when they missed stuff.

In short, I'm not sure it is actually remembering that stuff.... in this respect, the law is an ass! Smile

Plus, the Sky installer even supplied a new cable gratis and hooked up my DVD recorder when I changed decoders over recently, so it's not like they are unfamiliar with knowing that their customers record stuff.

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