Advanced Television

Sky enhances EPG

August 21, 2014

UK digital satellite platform Sky is updating its TV Guide with a new recommendations feature and launching a ‘Smart Series Link’.

Sky customers will start to see a raft of new features from Sky+ which will be rolled out to its Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).

With this latest update, Sky says it will be easier than ever for its customers to find shows they love with the launch of a brand new recommendations engine. The new feature provides suggestions of TV shows and movies that a customer might enjoy based on recent recordings and downloads in their Sky+ Planner. So for example if a customer has a recording of The Following in their planner, recommendations might include Luther, Hannibal, Criminal Minds and The Blacklist. Results offer up both linear TV and on demand shows as viewing options, from hundreds of TV and movie channels.

Sky says its TV customers need never miss their favourite shows ever again with another new feature launching – Smart Series Link – as it now remembers to record the next season and all subsequent ones after that.

For sports fans, a new Sports tile has been added to the Homepage, providing quick access to all the live sporting events that are currently showing on any channel. Sky customers will also be able to see movie DVD cover art for Sky Movies On Demand and Sky Store so they can quickly recognise the movies they are looking for.

Luke Bradley-Jones, Sky’s Director of TV Products, said the satellite broadcaster knows its customers love the new Homepage, as it puts catch-up, box sets and movies at the heart of their TV viewing.“That’s why we’re introducing even more features to help discover more TV they really want to watch. Get recommendations for shows we think you’ll enjoy based on your recordings, and never miss a returning season ever again with Smart Series Link. It’s all part of our commitment to make Sky+ the ultimate entertainment experience,” he declares.

The complete list of features being introduced:

  • Suggestions: customers will find shows that they might enjoy, based on recordings or downloads in their Planner.

  • Smart Series Link: customers will never miss the returning series with Smart Series Link, as it is now updated to remember to record all the future new series

  • DVD Cover Art: instantly-recognisable DVD cover art will be seen in the Sky Movies and Sky Store sections

  • Sports: a new tile for the homepage will be introduced showing all live sports on any TV channel at that moment in time and all the sports channels from the TV Guide

  • Combined SD and HD options: easily choose between HD & SD when downloading TV shows or movies from any on demand section.

  • HDMI One Touch: the Sky button on the remote now turns on the latest Sky+HD box and a compatible TV in one go from standby. It tunes the TV to the correct HDMI input if they’ve been using another device so there’s no need to pick up the other remote control.

  • Sky Store: customers can now access Sky Store from Sky Box Office.

  • Simplified Card Pairing: customers will now be able to easily pair their viewing card without calling Sky; it just takes one press of a button on the Sky remote.

  • Entertainment shows: the Lifestyle tab has been merged into the Entertainment tab in the TV Guide

  • Homepage images: will be updated on a regular basis to showcase the latest and best movies and TV shows.

These updates to the Sky+ homepage are the second tranche of major improvements this year following a major overhaul in March when On Demand and the Sky+ Planner were moved alongside channel listings as equal options, and a brand new enhanced Search function was launched. Since then, Sky reports that the number of searches has increased dramatically, now with around 1.6 million every day as customers take even more control over their TV viewing.

This software update is rolling out to customers immediately, and will be available to over 8 million customers with compatible Sky+HD boxes by the winter this year. To make the most of the Homepage and most of these new features, Sky customers should connect their Sky+HD box to their home broadband.

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, DTH/Satellite, IPG, Middleware, Search/Recommendation