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Sky+ requiring PIN since upgrade

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by leng, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. leng

    leng
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    You may be interested in my exchange with Sky on this subject. I've arranged it in chronological order and fixed up some formatting but it is otherwise unedited

    ======================================================

    [My original feedback]
    Since a recent software upgrade to my box (sky+ version 1) the following functions are pin protected :
    Viewing any 18-rated material
    Playback of 18-rated material
    Any use of the copy function.

    No amount of playing with parental control etc will remove these irritating restrictions. How do I get rid of them?

    [Sky Response]
    Dear Len

    Thanks for your recent communication, we value your feedback and welcome this opportunity to explain our position.

    The objectives behind the recent parental control enhancements were to act responsibly as a broadcasting organisation and respond to our customers’ needs, many of whom have young families. As programme offerings expand and change, especially amongst free-to-air channels, we want to take all steps to ensure that our customers are able to control household viewing, and protect their children from accessing material that may otherwise be deemed unsuitable if they so choose . Whilst these objectives have been achieved by the upgrade and the response has been very positive, we recognise that the out-of-watershed PIN control enhancement has caused problems for some customers.
    When we develop enhancements to any of our services, ease of use is one of the most important aspects.

    We considered and tested a number of options to provide customers greater control over

    * The ability to watch free-to-air and "basic" channels, where there has been a substantial increase in the availability, variety and nature of adult orientated content
    * The appearance of adult channel listings in Sky Guide
    * The extension of PIN protection to programmes recorded after 8pm with Sky+ (post watershed) and played back between 6am and 8pm (out-of-watershed)

    After consultation with customers, channels and other interested groups it was felt the best solution to the out-of-watershed playback issue was to make programme ratings (i.e. whether the content is suitable for viewing by children aged over 12 years, or young persons aged 15 or 18 and over) automatically trigger the PIN protection. This was viewed as the most effective implementation option supported by our customer research. For Sky+ customers this means that a PIN request is automatically generated for 12+ rated movies and other content when it is played out of watershed.

    As a result of feedback we are now investigating a range of options to further improve the PIN control features. We hope to be able to introduce these as soon as possible, after successful tests have been performed.

    I do hope that my explanation goes some way to addressing your concerns, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to bring your comments to our attention.

    Should you have any difficulties regarding your PIN, please contact our Customer Services Team on 08702 404040 who will be happy to assist.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to contact Sky.

    Robin Bourn
    Viewer Relations

    [My reply]
    Dear Robin,
    Thank you for your reply. When considering your options please take into account the fact that there are a lot of households with no underage viewers and it would be nice to have an "adult household" option which disabled all this nonsense (even if it were necessary to register this with Sky and have it enabled via a smartcard download).

    However, you have not explained why it is necessary to pin-protect all "Copy to VCR" options even if it is only transferring sesame street after midnight.

    Len

    [Sky Response]
    Dear Mr Goddard

    Thanks for your e-mail about PIN protection..

    Your further comments have been noted and passed to the relevant department for their information.

    With regard to the requirement to insert your PIN number to transfer programmes to video. This was introduced as part of the recent changes to give subscribers greater control over what is viewer and accessed via Sky.

    Thanks, once again, for contacting us. We always welcome customers' comments and actively encourage viewers' feedback.

    Yours sincerely

    Morag Carson
    Viewer Relations

    ===================================================
    I have to say that the second response leaves me completely baffled.

    If you want to try your luck, you can either use the Sky feedback page or simply email ViewerR@bskyb.com
     
  2. Cynthia 7

    Cynthia 7
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    Hi Leng,

    I was interested to see your post as the recent update regarding PIN numbers really irritated me. We are an adult only household too and found it annoying to enter the PIN to watch a 15 category recorded horror film earlier in the day. I thought I had cured this by entering Parental Control but it doesn't sound as if this is effective after reading the Sky replies to you.

    It's understandable to protect children from the content of some of the programmes (they shock me too!) but I remember my 12+ sons used to creep down and watch
    horror and adult videos passed around amongst their friends. We weren't aware of this at the time. Doubtless this happens nowadays with Sky and most children probably know the PIN number better than their parents!

    I shall certainly e-mail Sky, thank you mentioning this. If enough of us complain then they may give us another option, as you suggested.
     
  3. Starburst

    Starburst
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    According to a few previously good sources on the DS forums some sort of "fix" will be issued next month allowing you to opt our of parental control, why that wasn't included in the first place is beyond me.
     
  4. potshot

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    I have kids and I don't want parental control. I can control my owns childrens veiwing without sky poking their nose into my business. I paid for the box and pay the subscription money for what I receive. It should be upto me how I use the equipment and what when I watch a programme. Sky can bog off with their nanny state attitude, no doubt this is something blair brought up in his cosy little chats with murdoch. Try and control us even more.
     
  5. ijd

    ijd
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    well just because you keep your pornographic mags under your bed and tell the kids not to read them does not mean that they dont when you are not there,
    i do think this is a resposible move by sky,yes there are those that will tell the kids what the pin is, but there are many who wont,and they are the ones who probably dont know how to set the pin anyway,now they will have to find out if they want to view this content.
    however this is only my opinion.
     
  6. Starburst

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    I agree, a parental control feature that gives parents more power of their childrens viewing habits is not a bad thing.
    However the system should be transparent to those that do not want this feature (for whatever reason) and this implementation is simply too obstructive and cumbersome for everyone.

    The current broadcast regulations prevent SKY from broadcasting some content before the watershed even on subscription and premium channels.
    For those that complain about the "nanny state" a well designed PIN system would allow SKY to offer 18 rated material at anytime with the required safeguards to prevent kiddies from watching, good for everyone I would have thought and certainly not a step in taking further rights away from the individual.
     
  7. Nick_UK

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    The PIN system is desirable, and should be on by default, and not the other way around. I don't have young kids myself, but I don't object to the PIN system being there if it's useful for those that do.

    I really can't see why people are making such a fuss about pressing 4 extra buttons on a remote - has the art of the couch potato descended to a whole new level of laziness ? :rolleyes:
     
  8. potshot

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    If I record a film on sky+ and I don't want to mess about with pin numbers if I want to watch it in the afternoon, it should be upto me if I want the pin system on or off and not sky. I can understand some people wanting it withkids but anybody who doesn't want should be able to turn it off. After all under the parental control you can turn it off for any channel aged u to 18, that means it shouldn't affect your sky+ recording just because you want to watch it at 2pm in the afternoon shouldn't mean you have to put in a pin.

    ijd I don't keep porn mags so please don't suggest everybody does, but do you. Nick-uk its not a another level of laziness just to push 4 buttons but extremely annoying. Before this new parental control was downloaded I wasn't told anything about it by sky. I had to ring a 0870 premium number to find out my pin because it wasn't the same as last digits on my sky card. Sky earns half the money of the call charge. How much money has sky made from subscribers having to ring them to find out their pin number. Why weren't we written to with our sky pin number, why because it would of cost and they would lost the money from all the calls they received just for a pin number.
     
  9. ijd

    ijd
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    no i dont and i did not suggest that any one does, purely an analagy,not my fault if you did not get it..
     
  10. Nick_UK

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    Really ? So you never get the Sky magazine ? You didn't receive the leaflet giving details of all the new functions ? You haven't seen any of the "infomercials" that Sky have aired on all of their channels in the last 3 months ?

    If your PIN wasn't the last 4 digits of your card, it's because (a) you changed it or (b) you had an old Sky card previous to this one, and it's the last 4 numbers of that. Most people know their PIN, because they've used it to watch PPV stuff. If Sky sent out letters giving customers their PIN numbers, that would rather negate the security that they're trying to establish, if the kids get to the mail before the parents do.
     
  11. reckless

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    The magazine is next to useless and goes straight into the bin. I certainly haven't seen the infomercials. Probably because I rarely watch anything when it's on, I record and then watch it at my convenience without the ads.

    First I knew about it was when I recorded a film and it wouldn't let me watch it. That in itself is irritating enough but when my wife tried to download emmerdale to video and it prompted her for a pin then it becomes ridiculous.

    It's not a question of laziness in inputing the pin, it's the principle that I shouldn't have to. This is the nanny state gone mad. I've also had a similar mail to the original poster and I followed it up with a suggestion that by all means leave the functionality on by default but let those of us who do not wish to use it knock it off.

    Reading between the lines, I anticipate a revision to this software that will sort this out.
     
  12. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    HI,

    I think that ultimately, Sky should have given us the option of disabling the Parental Control function. That way, they would have pleased everyone. Those that wanted it, could seet it to whatver restrictions they wanted. And then those that didn't want/need it, could also switch it off. Simple - hardly brain surgery! :rolleyes:

    However, at the moment, Sky is forcing everyone who has a Sky or Sky+ box, to be forced to use the Parental Control functions, and when you don't set any, it still asks for PIN numbers to watch certain material.

    To me, that's Sky telling me, I can't be trusted to set choose whether or not I set the Parental Control function in my home! And, for me, that's a gigantic :censored: , and a big :eek: and a big :rolleyes: as well!

    Sky keep using the word "choice", in all their ads. Yet this function is not a choice for me. It's been inflicted on me, even when I've told the box I don't want it! For that, Sky needs :suicide: or a good kick up the arse! :mad:


    Pooch
     
  13. reckless

    reckless
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    Exactly. :smashin:
     
  14. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    i just got sky+ multiroom installed yesterday, took me a few moments to work out my pin is the last 4 digits of my card...lol..not sure how i did that now tho...heh

    anyway, question if someone could answer please, if i stacked up say 5 things to copy to VCR, and the third thing in line needed a pin number to watch (say because it was 15 rated film but it was 3pm when i did sky-VCR recording) does the sky box request you enter the pin when you start the recording session or will it demand it when it gets to the third item (ie after the first two have already recorded to the VCR)?

    answers mucho appreciated......i gotta archive the pr0n correctly...heh
    (just kidding, this is actually more for my folks benefit bless 'em, i dont have a VCR in my room to record to....lol)
     
  15. ijd

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    Quote"The magazine is next to useless and goes straight into the bin."unqute.
    am i being thick, i can only agree with the above quote if i were to of thrown it in the bin,
    but i cannot see the point of that because the mag is usefull tool in that it helps sky subscribers get the most out of sky, i am not a know it all so look for anything that may help me get the best from my sky system, as i read it i knew about the very useful information about this upgrade.
    however i am sure there are those that know how to control all the options they need,had they of read the magazine perhaps they could of put forward there concerns and sky would of had the feedback they needed.
    However to not read about forthcoming changes or indeed throwing that information(that is so obviously not useless)in the bin and then bleat about it after the event is above my humble self,
    if sky made these changes with tight lips, then i can understand, but is has been common knowledge for a long time ,with those who are far to clever to read the info complaining about it now.
    Strange.
     
  16. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    If you're doing that with the COPY function, then the PIN will be requested for all transfers.
     
  17. potshot

    potshot
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    ijd

    sure you don't work for sky because you sound like a advert for sky singing their praises.
     
  18. ijd

    ijd
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    No i dont work for sky, i just like their product.
     
  19. DarrenB

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    I agree, its smashing for bashing flies. :)
     
  20. DarrenB

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    Went to do a copy to dvd of 12 episodes of some old cookery tut for the missus this afternoon...it asked me for my PIN, would accept it and i spent 26 minutes waiting on the 'phone for sky to reset the beedin' thing!

    Wonderful.
     
  21. reckless

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    I also like their product. I just don't see the use for their magazine as, on the occasions that I have looked at it, it's just one big advert. I accept that they put this information in an issue but I would question whether this is the best way to communicate such a change.

    Given that there are so many people with issues over this update, that seems to indicate to me that either we all decided to ignore the issue when Sky informed us in their magazine, deciding to wait until it was in place before losing our temper, or none of us reads it. Well, I can't be certain about this but it looks to me as though I'm not the only one that doesn't read it.

    Besides, if I had read it, I'd have probably thought to myself it was a late April fool as the idea that you have to input a pin that you can't override to watch something that you've recorded because of the time of day is so idiotic as to beggar belief.

    I'm sure that when they asked their customers what they wanted the question wasn't framed:

    "shall we add a feature that requires you to input a pin number every time you want to watch a 12 film in the afternoon, every time you transfer an item to tape or manually record something? As an added bonus, if you have to pause playback (to go make a cuppa etc) and don't want to leave it paused on screen (as you have a plasma screen etc) then you can have the pleasure of inputing it again. Likewise if you have to answer the door. Or go to the toilet. "

    If the idea is to stop children watching dodgy films etc when you're out, perhaps you should be asking yourself as a parent how your child is at home alone watching tv when they should be in school.

    Again, I have no problem with pin access by default, but it is simply common sense to allow others to switch it off.
     
  22. ijd

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    Quote "Again, I have no problem with pin access by default, but it is simply common sense to allow others to switch it off."

    ok your right there should be a way to switch it off and i am sure sky will sort this out,
    kids talk at school and those that dont know the pin will find out how to get it from other kids before long anyway.
    the only conclusion i can see why sky did it this way was to make those parents who want to set the PC but dont know how to to actually get up and find out how to do it,a lot of people are technophobes and the thought that something the kids cannot bypass would be to complicated for them to set up, more so to change the pin, you and i both know that is twaddle, changing the pin is no more difficult than setting the personal planner, however how many people actually venture into the service or interactive options on their remote, not many i bet, talking average joes here, and not the likes of those who would wander into a forum such as this.
    i do believe it is responsible as far as sky are concerned, my children are all grown up now, but i remeber switching channels when they were younger because i did not feel content was appropriate,i also know people who dont give a damn about what the kids are watching, its those children that to a point may get some protection, as an example, i know of a family where they think its ok for their 4 yr old to swaer with no boundaries, the F word seems to be his favourite, and they just say "well he hears it on the telly" . That is not acceptable as far as i am concerned, i am no prude but this is a 4 yr old kid, and he is on his way to being out of control.
    it may not stop all kids not protect kids not only from the swearing but also scenes that really are not suitable but it is a step in the right direction,
    i also have to put in that pin,and i do understand where you are comming from, but as a parent i welcome this decision,
    as far as the mag, i just flick through it, most of it is junk,but on the odd occaision it is full of stuff we should all know.
     
  23. Karma

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    I'm not normally one to jump into a debate. However I was also mystified by the need to input the PIN.

    I also did not know anything about its implementation, and confess to throwing the Sky magazine in the bin without reading it.

    I'm sure there are many that remember when the Sky magazine actually had programme information in it, but with the advent of Digital and the on screen prog guide that all went by the board.

    I seem to recall an option at one point to be able to opt out receiving the magazine at all.

    As a long time and ongoing subscriber to the Radiotimes (other listings magazines are available) I find that satisfies my need to know what future programmes are scheduled.

    However, just as I was about to join in the "nanny state" "damn right...get rid of the PIN" debate, a little alarm bell went off in my head.

    It wasn't so long ago, that when the Liberals looked to be forming a coalition with Labour, a law "known as the Mickey Mouse ruling" nearly made it onto the statute books.

    The argument was that there was no way to protect our little ones from watching anything they like, even after the watershed, because of the proliferation of bedroom tv's / videos and the inabilty of some parents to monitor and control their offsprings viewing. Therefore NOTHING should be shown on TV, at any time of day or night, that would have a rating greater than a notional U or PG certificate.

    This led to a lot of broadcasters saying that they would not be able to make programmes with content stronger than a Mickey Mouse cartoon, hence its name.

    ....please don't even get me started on the question of parental responsibilities and control.......

    Remember, this very nearly became law. So, while I am firmly in the camp that thinks the PIN number is an idea of the devil, I also think that sadly it is going to be an increasing (if infuriating) way of watching TV. But if this gives me the option as an adult to watch what I like, when I like, then it is a neccessary evil.

    Incidentally, there is only the present and final Mrs Karma and myself in the household and there has never been any children, so maybe I don't understand how difficult it is to stop them watching TV.

    K
     
  24. Knyght_byte

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    cheers, do you have to enter the pin at the beginning of each program that you are transfering tho? (ie you stacked up 5 progs, each an hour long, and every hour you got to put the pin in, meaning you cant just leave the thing for 5 hours, or do u enter the pin for all 5 at the beginning?). If its the awkward way, can you just set up the sky+ box to play 5 things and make sure the normal scart output is going in to the vhs player and record? (this last one assumes the programmes are not normally pin protected for viewing purposes)

    To put my tuppence worth in on the debate over pin etc, tbh i really dont care, i already have about 6 pin numbers and 20 passwords revolving in my head, another one doesnt make any difference......i guess to someone with a memory less able with numbers you could just sellotape the pin to your remote.....and for those with kids put the pin somewhere they wont realise what it is but you can see it from your armchair....i guess as i've asked above would be the only time it might annoy me if i couldnt just record 5 programs using the copy function putting the pins in the beginning but having to enter a pin every hour as each prog starts recording....(altho tbh again, i dont actually have a VCR...lol...so i wont be needing to record myself....oh yeah, one last q, do recorded programs disappear off Sky+ box after a time limit or just stay there till u delete them/factory reset?)
     
  25. Boy Lex

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    The most irritating thing about this is trying to talk to sky's customer services about it.

    I spent a good 15 minutes on the phone to a lovely indian lady (who I'm sure has never even seen sky +) trying to explain to her that I was not trying to watch hardcore pornography - I was trying to watch a 15 certificate movie!
     
  26. compton fox

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    I've done COPYing throught the day and it only asks for your PIN at the start of the playback. All programmes then play without the box asking for your PIN again. :smashin:
     
  27. The_kUrGaN

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    Regardless of the history behind this decision and the idea behind it, well intentioned or not, there should be a way in which an adult household can choose to remove any restrictions. Sky have implemented a 'parental control' that cannot be bypassed by parents or non parents, which is slightly presumptious to say the least however well intentioned.

    It is good to know that Sky are looking at implementing updates that will release the rest of us from this four digit shuffle (having to type it in makes me feel slightly naughty... even at 38).
     
  28. reckless

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    Digital Spy sky+ forum has a post that sky will be updating the software to correct the issue in early October.

    Hopefully this is correct. :)
     
  29. Nick_UK

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    Well, the software update to time out the red dot was announced back in March, and didn't arrive until September, so don't hold your breath :)
     
  30. reckless

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    I can see your point. Where I think we differ is that I think that a problem such as you're describing isn't one for Sky to solve. They can't, and shouldn't, be a fallback for those who don't care about what their children watch. If they're that stupid (and I'm sure that many are) then they'd just give the pin number to the kids anyway.

    Perhaps it is better than nothing, I just find it a worrying trend. Best that we just agree to differ :thumbsup:

    Now I have to start holding my breath ;)
     

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