Is Sky keeping 5.1 for Sky+ subscribers?

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by Tony P, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. Tony P

    Tony P
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    I've read a Web page about the apparent inability of the Sony Digibox, with optical digital output, to carry the Dolby Digital 5.1 movies on Sky Digital. If the correspondence posted from Sony and Sky is correct, then it looks like Sony manufactured the '760 Digibox to Sky's specifications, and both parties were aware from the outset that the best sound format the optical connection could deal with would be Dolby Pro-Logic. It was never intended to carry Dolby Digital 5.1, as is the case with DVD players and Sky+ receivers.

    If this is true, then I'm both relieved and annoyed. Relieved because I resisted the temptation to replace my existing Digibox with the Sony model when I upgraded to Sky+, and annoyed because Sky have apparently imposed a block on third-party manufacturers making standard Digiboxes that can be connected to a Dolby Digital equipped amplifier. This is even worse for the many people who, with good intention, bought the Sony in anticipation of 5.1 channel TV. On top of this, it seems like Sony and the retailers who sell their product (including Sony Centres) were either unaware or unwilling to reveal the restriction.

    I can't really see why Sky would do such a thing except to contain a unique feature within the reach of Sky customers paying £300 for Sky+ and then £10 per month to make the full system work. Surely if 5.1 was available to more people, Sky would benefit by attracting a larger costomer following, a good portion of who would be more likely to consider Sky+ for the video recording capabilities.

    I'm not one who like to complain about Sky, as I do like their service, but I'm struggling to explain this one.
     
  2. Starburst

    Starburst
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    If SKY allowed DD 5.1 hardware to be on one digibox they would be more or less forced to have it on all digiboxes.
    Also replace nearly 5 million digiboxes previously handed out.
    They could never advertise the 5.1 features as the service would be unavaliable to the majority of SKY subscribers, by only having it on a "full price" product they don't have this problem.

    DD 5.1 is now a feature of the SKY+ box so subscribers to the normal SKY D products are not getting cheated or denied a service that other people who have payed the same can access because they were lucky enough to subscriber in the last 12 months and get a SONY box.
     
  3. Chippy99

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    What's your logic there? Some digiboxes have digital out, some don't. Some have s-video out, some don't. just because the Sony can do digital out, it doesn't mean ALL boxes must. And they don't. So if they allowed DD5.1 out, then why would they ALL *have* to have it? This doesn't follow at all.

    Same again. Why? They didn't go around replacing every box in the world when Grundig brought out an s-video capable digibox.

    Of course they could advertise it! They advertise DPL now, yet you can't get it unless you have a DPL amp. And Sky Premier Widescreen, whether or not you have a widescreen TV. Why couldn't they advertise about DD5.1, with the same understanding that you need appropriate kit to make it work?
    OK, I can see where you are coming from a bit. So they would have to be consistant in what they supplied. Not too difficult. Just supply all boxes either DD5.1 capable or not. If they went the "not capable" route, then each subscriber would have the option to either (a) specify a DD box at the time of order - for perhaps a £50 fee? Or (b) source their own DD capable box. Neither of these would be exactly "tricky" to implement would they?

    No, I am sure ALL of this has got nothing to do with these issues. Its purely about Sky wanting to create as much demand as possible for Sky+ (for which they get another £10+, forever.) If DD was available on other boxes, they figure they'd shift less SKy+'s

    Chip
     
  4. Starburst

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    OK, Everything I've said in the last post and this one is just guess work and if it sparks a discussion then great:)

    Every SKY digibox that is part of the subsidised agreement has some things in common.
    Some as you have pointed out have features which have been added by the manufacturer to enhance it's product, s-video and optical out are the obvious additions.
    However the S-Video doesn't improve on the RGB that is standard on all boxes and the optical doesn't improve on the standard phonos for delivering mono/stereo/surround soundtracks. The optical has it's uses when paired with other SONY products but these are not SKY related so can be ignored.
    As for DPL, well that isn't hardware related it's purely down to the programming transmitted, every digibox sold/given away has the capability to output DPL so no subscriber is getting less for their monthly subscription money.

    Now IF a single subsidised box had a feature that was unique to it and SKY chose to push that feature as a selling point for it's service then all the subscibers over the last 3 years who now pay the same subscription but do not recieve the same service would have a valid case for reduced subscriptions.

    They could as you say charge a Premium for a DD5.1 enabled digibox, hang on they do !!! It's called SKY+.

    You could be right, they are blocking the SONY from accessing and outputing the DD5.1 soundtracks to increase the percieved value of the SKY+ digibox (with or without £10 subscription) but it wouldn't surprise me if there were legal ramifications by supplying subscribers with differnet levels of hardware under the currect subsidised packages.
     
  5. rigman

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    Can anyone tell me if the 5.1 is possible if you decide to buy a box but not give sky the £10 a month extra? I know the recording facility would be blocked but is the 5.1 also blocked

    cheers

    Darren
     
  6. Starburst

    Starburst
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    If you do not subscribe to the SKY+ service the optical output(DD5.1 enabled) and s-video on the SKY+ digibox are fully functional.
     

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