Sky and Flash in media center

With the public release of Windows 7, there have been some interesting developments;

1) Here in the UK, the Internet TV Beta 2 link has?disappeared?from our menus. I suspect that is because it was really buggy (I often got errors that my video library was unavailable). Hopefully it just means that a new better version is on the way

2) An advert for Sky Player has appeared in the menus;
sky

At the moment it is just a link to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windows/skyplayer/, but hopefully it should be live soon.?Unfortunately?it looks to be a complete rip off. According to Sky, you can watch the following channels live for ?15 a month:

  • G.O.L.D.
  • Sky Real Lives
  • Sky Arts 1
  • MTV ONE
  • Sky Sports News
  • British Eurosport
  • ESPN Classic
  • Sky News
  • National Geographic
  • Nat Geo Wild
  • History
  • Eden
  • Cartoon Network
  • Boomerang
  • Nickelodeon
  • Disney Channel
  • Nick Jr

I struggle to see a single one of those I would want to watch even if it were free, and certainly wouldn’t pay ?15 a month for it.

This is also available on the Xbox 360 without a PC, but for that on top of the ?15, you need an Xbox Live Gold Membership (?3/month). When you compare it to the lower cost of ?17.50 a month for hundreds of channels and free broadband with a regular sky box, that doesn’t seem like a bargain.

More interestingly you can add Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra for ?34 (+?3 XBOX Live) a month, but again that doesn’t compare well with the ?35.50 you would pay for it on a regular sky box along with all of the other channels and again broadband.

So, perhaps Sky are more interested in the catch-up TV market. That certainly offers slightly more, with Sky One programs available for ?1.47 a time, and Sky Box Office movies available for ?3.43 a time. But when compared with bittorrent for free TV programs and the likes of Love Film at ?1.99 for a blu-ray movie, I just don’t see it working.

3) The big shocker for me was this post from Stuart at ?The Digital Lifestyle announcing that Flash is now in use in Media Center. This is a major shocker for me because Sky are using silverlight to integrate in to the Windows architecture, and I had assumed that Microsoft were too blinkered to acknowledge that Flash is the market leader, however it seems that they have been very pragmatic here and allowed the use of Flash in media center.?Unfortunately?there are no details on how anyone other than Netflix can use it yet, but I am sure that will emerge over time. The bad news is that it won’t work on extenders, but it is a step in the right direction for the rest of us.

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