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Hurrah! Sky+ boxes have been reverted to the old software version 1.30q

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by Cynthia 7, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Cynthia 7

    Cynthia 7
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    My box kept switching off, maybe a dozen times over lunchtime. When I checked my system details the EPG Software Version is now 1.30q as it was before the last software update when it changed to 3.31 (can't remember the number).

    Hopefully things will go back to normal now.
     
  2. headcovers

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    If they roll us back to the old software and then the new EPG update rolls out next week, surely all the tests and coding are based on everyone being on the latest update.

    I don't think they will be rolling us back....doesn't make sense, as it would probably cause more problems than it would solve!
     
  3. Cynthia 7

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    Hi headcovers,

    I left my box on standby for thirty minutes this afternoon to allow it to recalibrate fully.

    The new EPG has gone. The PIN request has gone. BUT what is so maddening now is that I cannot watch one programme on Sky and record another. I have to watch on terrestial to record another. If a programme is recording on Sky and I switch to Sky, every channel says "No Satellite signal being received" although the recording is o.k.

    I thought the reversion would be a good idea until the perfected software update, maybe next month, but I'm not so sure now. My box is a Pace version 3, maybe they have reverted those first. I would be interested to know if this roll back to the old software has happened to everyone with Sky+. The last disastrous update seemed to occur on different days for different boxes.

    I saw on another forum that people had complained to Watchdog and Watchdog had contacted one of those people. Maybe Sky felt they should be seen to be trying to rectify the problems.

    It doesn't make sense, as you say, to go back to the old software version, unless it's for the interim and they are just testing the water.
     
  4. Geordie Bry

    Geordie Bry
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    i could be wrong but im sure 1.30q is the latest software
     
  5. JBaum

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    After days last week trying to figure out the problems I was getting with my Pace 3, notably with failed recordings, or recordings simply failing to start at all, after months of perfect usage. For most of last week I couldn't get a real person on customer service or tech support at Sky, despite going through all the menu options. Then Sunday morning I phoned and found a whole new menu system in place, with new options, including, low and behold, one for recording problems that definitely was not there up to then.

    I spoke with the tech support guy for around half an hour, and what was interesting was that although he conceded that the live pause issue is a Sky software issue which is being addressed, the failed recordings can be expected, because a Sky+ box is a computer, when all said and done, with a hard disk that is prone to all the problems that any hard disk is likely to get. In my case, we totted up the total recorded space, and the stated free space, which all came to less than 100%. After trying several things he arrived at telling me I would have to reformat the drive, do a full system reset, whatever they call it. His view, presumably that of Sky, is that these boxes are computers and these things are going to happen, and he rattled off a whole load of reasons why recordings might fail, such that anyone thinking about buying one probably wouldn't!

    Now, I'm well aware that hard disks can glitch or fail for all sorts of hardware reasons, but that the performance and stability of a hard disk can also be badly affected by corrupted files, which can also be caused by the software that's writing them in the first place.

    I'm left wondering just what the problem is, or what the root of it is. To Sky, it seems that the issue is that Sky+ boxes are computers and prone to the universe of faults we all suffer with those from time to time. I'd have to say though that many computer faults are largely software related, and as such if people had so much trouble, notably with recordings, after the recent Sky software update, surely that's not a coincidence.

    After I reset my system I will have no idea (as far as I know) if anyone disk space has been lost for good. The problem is that once I have done that and wiped the drive, it will display 100% available of whatever space is left.....which may not be the original capacity of the drive.

    I guess I'm saying that much as I applaud Sky, kind of, for admitting the live pause problem, I'm not convinced the recording problems are not unrelated. Trouble is, these boxes are going to break down, and yes they are computers, so we are looking at corrupt files and damaged hard disk sectors, etc.

    After months of trouble free operation, and as it outwardly seems a fairly transparent thing to use, perhaps we forget that Sky+ boxes are simply that, computers. I'm not defending the failed recordings and so on, but it seemed very clear to me that Sky's stance is that we're using computers here, alot of the time they work fine, but sometimes they screw up and you lose data, and occasionally you may have to reformat the drive and wipe what's on it. The point I make back to Sky is that much as the hardware is a computer, that computer is useless without the software that runs it, and that is entirely their responsibility - if the software is broken, the hardware will break, in whole or part, doesn't matter, either way the functionality of the device is compromised.

    I'm left with more awareness of the Sky+ boxes' shortcomings, and equally that each time I set something to record, it seems I'm entering some kind of lottery.

    Julian.
     
  6. Cynthia 7

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    Hi bryan,

    I hang my head in shame! What an idiot not to have remembered that it was 1.30q for the last update, thank you for reminding me. It's the Panasonic box upstairs that had 3. something. Because of the box switching off constantly and the changes in the box I had assumed it was the old software. Ah well, it's just swapping one lot of problems for another now!
     
  7. Cynthia 7

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    Hi Julian,

    I would have enjoyed listening in to your conversation with the Sky tech man. Certainly, the boxes are complex items and computers but I do think on this occasion the Sky software is to blame for most of the problems. In the past, my Sky+ box has behaved impeccably, perhaps half a dozen glitches in a year when disconnecting from the mains cured the problem. Also loss of reception during heavy rain as we live in a densely wooded garden.

    We both have new Pace 3 boxes and yet experienced the same failed recordings; it's so maddening to see them sitting on the planner with the R symbol alongside and nothing happens. Or it records then says Failed. Sky must know their update has created mayhem but perhaps in admitting it they lose credibility and future customers, hence the tech. man has only admitted the pause problem. He was probably reeling after his conversation with you as you probably know a lot more than he does about computers! Although I play around on my laptop I am not au fait with computers at all. Don't understand files or folders, yet mysteriously I have some somewhere!

    My Sky+ boxes have heavy use but I do treat them carefully. I have seen people jabbing at the keys, switching back and fore to check loads of channels on different days, all at great speed and they wonder why the box has switched off! I do the same things but reasonably slowly. Now, even more so.
     
  8. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    No, you're not wrong, and paranoia rules :cool:
     
  9. gavan

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    Sky's argument that since the boxes are essentially computers, we should expect them to go horribly wrong like this is weak, weak, weak. Computers can be stable and other than the ones you might find on your desktop at home or work, most of the 'in the background' ones are extremely stable. I don't see too many people's washing machines, car engines or microwave ovens going belly up and failing to work properly all the time because the manufacturer screwed up the firmware.

    Maybe Microsoft have managed to plant the notion in consumers' minds that "it's not our problem, guv" when it comes to companies making buggy software, but the bottom line is that Sky are responsible for supplying (forcing) an upgrade that has ruined the Sky+ service for very many paying customers.

    Sky+ is a video recorder device and as an end user I *don't* expect to have to put up with chronically annoying problems such as have plagued mine since the last upgrade. If the release before was stable (and for me, it was) there's no excuse - other then sloppy work on Sky's part - why this one shouldn't be too.


    They display this 'not our fault' attitude because they effectively have a monopoly on UK satellite TV and come pretty close to being a UK pay TV monopoly too. If they continue to act in this complacent manner, the market is likely to eventually teach them a lesson they can't ignore.


    Gav
     
  10. Knyght_byte

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    ok, bit tipsy to read every word, but thought i'd comment regarding HDD's....

    my computer HDD is used extensively every day for gaming purposes, probably one of the most intensive uses of a HDD other than one in a heavy traffic server........it even beats video recording for use, because quite simply the game is constantly writing and overwriting the information.......well, my HDD in my current computer has been going over a year now, with approx 4 hours gaming per day average......so far as im concerned a Sky+ boxes HDD should be able to cope with the same...if it doesnt, then its the operating system in the box thats screwed up and not writing correctly..

    ok bedtime :)
     
  11. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    Interesting points, but Sky+ is rather more than a hard drive in a metal box. When you look at all the things that this box can do (simultaneously), you will see that the software that controls it is very complex. The fact that it contains many components common to a PC, doesn't make it a PC.
     
  12. fortean

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    It seems strange that there is such a range of problems that do not seem to be related to each other. I have only experienced one problem since the upgrade. The box switched off a few minutes into a recorded program that I was watching. After a few seconds I could switch the box back on again and watched the program from the beginning again.
    My first thought, when this happened, was that something in the recording had caused the shutdown but this was clearly not repeatable.
    After reading a lot of the threads on here I am beginning to think that the new software is making use of additional or more frequent signals to authenticate decoding of the data.
    When you are having problems is there any reason to suspect the quality of the signal? Is it raining for example. It was raining when my box reset.
     
  13. matturin

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    Nick,

    I'm not sure what you point is regarding the Hard Drive. It is a major component of Sky+, without all of the Sky+ features would be redundant. If the firmware is unable to cope with corrupt data (through error handling) "on the fly" then problems will occur, resulting in the need to manually undertake a full system reset in order to regain full functionality from the Sky+ box.

    This shouldn't be an issue. Afterall computers were designed to perform repetative tasks.

    Only you are comparing it to a PC. A computer is defined by:

    "A device that computes, especially a programmable electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information."

    It might not look and operate like a PC, but the underlying principles are the same. It's still a computer.

    The complexity of the software shouldn't really be an issue. I'm sure all the different functions of the Sky+ box have been broken down into seperate routines. Sure, some of these routines will require interactions with other routines, but the complex system can be broken down into basic smaller blocks.

    The fact remains that any software change should be fully tested before release. The Live Pause function and instant rewind are a major selling point of Sky+ and therefore you would expect these features to be fully tested before going ahead and upgrading customers set top boxes. You would hope that the development team would have a few boxes (of each version) to play around with.

    Perhaps a better idea would be to only upgrade the deveopment teams personal boxes and if each of them is still happy with the functionality after a couple of months to go ahead with a full roll out. Hang on. That's what software companies do by releasing beta versions of products to a select few. Maybe this could be a way forward for Sky, who truely need to learn (and improve on) this "mistake".

    Matt.
     
  14. Nick_UK

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    The fact that a full reset restores some functionality doesn't mean that the problem is related to the hard drive. Although I suspected that the problems could be hard drive related when the firmware was first updated, it seems that this is not the case at all.

    Although there are a few people making a lot of noise on these forums about problems with the new firmware, the truth is that not many people are affected, and of those that are, not that many are having really bad problems. If the problems besetting these boxes were due to one single piece of the hardware, then it would mean that everyone would be affected to the same extent, and that's clearly not the case either.
     

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