Sky-Player-Xbox-hands1

We’ve been fiddling with Sky Player on Xbox 360. It gets our thumbs up for the content on show, but what’s it like to use? Get down and dirty with Murdoch’s latest assault on your living room, and see our hands-on photos of Sky Player on Xbox 360 in action too!

Sky-Player-Xbox-hands5First thing’s first: Sky Player on Xbox 360 is fast. Very fast. The interface is ultra-speedy, and will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s held a 360 joypad. Likewise, it’ll be a dream for anyone already in possession of a Sky set-top box: the menus look familiar, while on-screen overlays and the EPG are almost identical.

Flicking into streaming TV is a dream. We tested it on a 4MB broadband connection and it was slapping TV shows on our screen before our backsides could hit the sofa. Flick the Xbox’s analogue stick upwards and you’ll see what’s coming up now and next, as well as being able to browse other live channels, and dive into them at will. The quality on our Xbox defaulted to High, although Sky tells us it can be scaled back to work on broadband connections as low as 2MB. Dropping ours down to the lowest setting, we still found it watchable, albeit a bit blocky at times.

Sky-Player-Xbox-hands7But while the streaming shows are fantastic, it’s the on-demand content that we kept coming back to. There are over 400 films available from day one, all of which start within a couple of seconds and are included free if you have Sky Movies in your satellite package, or subscribe to Sky Player with them as part of your bundle. This is on-demand done the Sky way, and it’s handled with jaw-dropping confidence.

From full descriptions of movies or sports content, to handy recommendations of other items to watch, Sky Player on Xbox is an astonishingly well-designed interface, grafted on top of the Murdoch dynasty’s unbeatable content back catalogue. It’ll strut its way into your life, and challenge you to watch TV the same way again, just like the first Sky+ box did all those years ago.

Sky-Player-Xbox-hands1OK, so the pictures we’re looking at on the Xbox are in standard definition, but that also means a seamless performance on broadband connections as lowly as 2MB. There’s also a party mode, letting you crowd a virtual sofa with your friends’ avatars, and babble with them using an Xbox headset. Very clever, and cutesy, but  while we found it a neat distraction, but ultimately a bit gimmicky for everyday use.

Sky Player subscriptions come free for satellite customers, and start at £15 per month for those without a dish. However, a word to the thrifty: those with a second home, or trekking to university with their Xbox in tow, might like to remember that each Sky Player account can have four PCs attched, as well as one Xbox, and those consoles and PCs needn’t be in the same household as the satellite dish.

Essentially, what Sky is offering here is a second subscription for use anywhere you like, or a second set-top box for those wanting movies and sports in their bedroom.

We’re thoroughly besotted with Sky Player on Xbox. It’s given Microsoft’s console a bit of much-needed pep in the film and TV stakes. As far as we’re concerned, the US can keep its Netflix access. Now we’ve got Sky Player on Xbox, and live streaming TV too!

Out now | From £15 per month | Sky

  • Yakkity

    “Sky Player subscriptions come free for satellite customers”

    Actually, no. It is free if you already pay £9.75 a month fort Sky multi-room or £9.75 for Sky Broadband unlimited. If you don’t have either of these it’ll cost you an extra £9.75 a month.

    Thanks, but I’ll stick to the free BBC iPlayer on my PS3…

    • http://www.gravatar.com James Holland

      Err, no Yakkity. Direct from the mouth of Sky: “Existing Sky customers with Xbox Live Gold membership will be able to access Sky Player’s on-demand content in line with the channels they are able to access through their core Sky TV subscription. Customers with Sky Multiroom or Sky Broadband Unlimited subscriptions are additionally able to access live channels for no extra charge.”

      • Yakkity

        “Sky Player subscriptions come free for satellite customers, and start at £15 per month for those without a dish.

        Essentially, what Sky is offering here is a second subscription for use anywhere you like, or a second set-top box for those wanting movies and sports in their bedroom.”

        Anyone wanting a ’2nd subscription’ or the equivalent of a 2nd set-top box needs multi-room or unlimited broadband – something not made clear in your hands-on.

        • http://www.danielessex.com Daniel Essex

          Emm nope – i’ve been using Sky Player for about 6 months now on my friends (and former housemates) Sky Account. We had neither multi-room nor unlimited broadband – neither is required to get Sky Player for free

  • Ivan

    Well for me Sky Player on their website has been working? absolutely fine since 11.30 am, thats for over 3 hours now, but the same doesnt apply to x360.

    But hey, what do you expect from Microsoft and its new partner (SKY) who is a known UK thief, despite that you have a Xbox Live Gold Account, you still have to pay to have any sky content.

    MS says that you have to have a gold account just for this rubish?

    After I installed sky player, it also wont connect, as it doesnt for any Xbox Gold Live Members, and now MS purposely removed SKY PLAYER from the Menu, to keep everyone’s mouth shut.

    What a bunch of Wankers!

  • james

    Pretty cool. Wonder how the quality compares to netflix though?

    • http://www.gravatar.com James Holland

      It’s SD. It doesn’t look too bad, and the load times are very short. However, it’s not as spangly as a full on HD download.

  • Trevorton

    With Netflix a movie subscription is less than a fiver and provides access to current DVD releases where possible but DVD post out where not. This service lets you buy a restricted menu of tv episodes for £1 but you have to subscribe to get access to films.

    How does this compare? Inferior service at superior cost exactly what this country expects from sky.

    And being in mind this is available to xbox 360 owners who tend to be in to futuristic video games missing off the Sci-fi channel was a stroke of absolute genius!

    If you are already a slave to Sky this adds a useful facility. If you just want to rent the occasional film when there is nothing on freesat, freeview or your pvr this was a completely missed opportunity.

    I’m kinda glad about that as it means I will continue to not add anything to the coffers of sky

  • http://www.free-xbox360.co.uk Amy | Xbox 360

    My main issue is that if you already have Sky (which I believe that most people who want to have Sky already have it) then there’s no point to it. And with Sky being available in HD now, the capacity of the Xbox 360 (or more specifically, most people’s broadband connections) won’t allow for HD streaming, you’d have to download and then play. I’m not convinced until this is sorted. Brilliant concept, but it needs to be done right.

Hot chat, right here!


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