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265 posts

Ultimate Geek

#22217 20-May-2008 17:26
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Okay so I know most of you will think this is grandstanding, but I'm interested in what you think about this letter I've written to Sky, are my points valid, etc...

"To whom it may concern,


I'm writing to express my extreme disappointment that you guys aren't supporting Macs with your new Sky Online service. It's not like no one owns them, in fact it's the fastest-growing computer platform available. You should be aware that TVNZ tried a similar thing with TVNZ OnDemand, a crippled Microsoft-based DRM service that just pissed people off. What do you know? TVNZ changed their distribution platform to online streaming, because it was less restrictive and more people could watch it. 


The style of content distribution you're engaging in is embarrassingly out of touch. People want content shifting, surely you understand that? They want it on their computer, iPod, phone, they want to stick it on a USB drive and watch it through their PS3 or Xbox... Why is Sky so afraid of letting consumers view content how they choose to? Crippling the service with DRM is just alienating the very people most likely to use this service, and that is tech-savvy consumers. 


Look at Apple and their iTunes model for buying TV shows/movies. They get it in a format which is playable on any number of mediums, including PCs/Macs, iPods, TVs, phones, etc. And look at Apple's reputation - people love them! Can't Sky learn anything from this? The fact that consumers pay Apple for each individual piece of content is no different from the fact I pay Sky upwards of $100/month for TV content.


In fact, even New Zealand's own current examples outshine your 'amazing new service'. TV3 has streaming of all their current affairs stuff, and TVNZ allow for downloadable content to iPods and other portable devices. What has Sky given us? Nothing.


I'd love to hear your rationale behind the way you've gone about launching this embarrassingly crippled service, excluding not only Mac users but each and every one of Sky's tech-savvy subscribers.





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8 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #132120 20-May-2008 17:58
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I doubt SKY really had a choice. Given the hassle the movie studios are making over the requirement for HDCP over HDMI for HD, I doubt they will allow unencrypted streaming using Flash.

Windows Media is really the only DRM choice right now -- Apple won't license Fairplay to third parties and unfortunately Microsoft stopped supporting Windows Media for Mac a while ago.

I guess, like the music industry, the movie studios have to learn the hard way that adding more and more DRM to content isn't going to stop piracy - it just penalises those who are actually going to pay for the content and makes the alternative, downloading from bittorrent all the more attractive.

4025 posts

Uber Geek


  #132123 20-May-2008 18:04
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Not that they will admit it, but windows media DRM is very pointless when it can be broken so easily, i think this is why TVNZ ondemand changed.

Perhaps try user agent spoofing if you really want to access the site?
about:config in firefox address bar, create a new string called general.useragent.override and insert the following:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080404 Firefox/


1705 posts

Uber Geek


  #132259 21-May-2008 09:03
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I think you raise a fair point.

However I think Sky had no choice but to use Microsoft DRM, what other choice is there that they could have used.  Sure no DRM would have been nice, but they would never do that.  Especially since as SamJ said "Apple won't license Fairplay to third parties"

Flash is even worse IMO, I actually want to be able to be able to use it outside of my browser.

1850 posts

Uber Geek

  #132265 21-May-2008 09:33
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Okay, so let’s critique your email.

Don’t call them ‘guys’, they are a multinational company, not a few small people sitting in their garage running a business. If it doesn’t annoy them outright being called ‘guys’ it’ll get to them subconsciously.

Don’t use terms like ‘pissed off’ It makes you sound juvenile. In a letter like this you have to sound as serious as you feel your letter is.

Don’t say things like “What do you know?” It’s a school yard taunt, really not something to make you sound intelligent. Not to mention that ‘you’ is a little too personal, this email isn’t to a person, it’s to a company right?

Saying things like “surely you understand that?” is again, too personal. I wouldn’t even put it in, the comment is implied by the statement about content shifting, you don’t need to ask them if they understand. There is an assumed level of understanding in a letter like this, if they don’t get it, then the comment about content shifting makes them aware of it, not your comment.

“Can’t Sky learn anything from this?” Too many questions, man, if you were to say anything, make it a statement, i.e. “Sky could learn something from this”

“Current affairs ‘stuff’“… Go get a thesaurus and get some more words for programming that aren’t as vague as ‘stuff’

Lastly, I know it is “embarrassingly crippled” but insulting them so outright won’t help your email. Maybe an incomplete vision or some such thing would be more suitable.

And lastly, I know it’s something that should be brought to Sky’s attention, but as has been said already, Sky is unlikely to have had a choice. They would have been well aware of such limitations their service would bring (they probably spent more money figuring out the system than you or I will earn in a very long time) so it’s really just another annoyed customer emailing them and your correspondence will either be filed in the ‘spam’ folder on whoever receives your email or given a generic reply.

I fear your feelings may be in vain, however valid.

1 post

Wannabe Geek

#132294 21-May-2008 11:27
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Sky has to Protect the rights of the owners otherwise they would more than likely not be allowed to post such content online.
If you have an unstoppable desire to watch a program on your iPod then applications like Tunebite allow you to do this.
The only concern is that you would have to review your legal position in doing so... Wink

6376 posts

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Lifetime subscriber

  #132307 21-May-2008 12:39
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Okay, so let’s critique your email.

Great response Disrespective, you summed up everything I was thinking!

265 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #132308 21-May-2008 12:45
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Yeah I agree. Being a bit of an English nazi myself, I appreciated your criticism ;)

I think my problem was that my email started out as a casual complaint, and as I continued to write it sorta escalated hehe...


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Master Geek

  #132321 21-May-2008 13:41
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I generally take a two-stage approach to writing complaints:
1. A rambling, disjointed rant.
2. A more coherent and focussed request for specific action.

More often than not, I delete version 1 and never write version 2.

Stage 1 can be useful for me, as it acts as a form of therapy.  But ranting incoherently is unlikely to achieve anything in terms of getting the company to do something.  That's where stage 2 comes in: if I want them to do something, then I ask them to do that, while providing sufficient context about how the problem arose so that they know why I'm asking.

Occasionally, a company will actually listen and act when you present a reasonable case.  Complaining/ranting will just get directed to the round filing cabinet (otherwise known as the rubbish bin).

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  #132713 23-May-2008 09:00
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TVNZ allow for downloadable content to iPods and other portable devices.

Does it? Where?!

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  #132916 23-May-2008 22:41
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Or wait till they launch and then email them telling them that you would have bought some show on it but you cant use it how you like, and your friend who got it off bit torrent 6 months before sky had it was able to, so what reason is there for you to pay them?


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