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Sky Cinema Question
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Old 05-03-2017, 23:57   #1
OLDGOLD
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Sky Cinema Question

Hi

Just wondering if anybody knows whether downloaded movies from Sky Cinema have better picture/sound quality than those on the broadcast channels? I know I could record one and download one and compare it by watching each, but as there are so many knowledgeable folks on here I wondered if anyone knew any technical details that could give a categorical answer?

Cheers
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:44   #2
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

Nobody can really advise you on that because in both cases it depends on the equipment you are using to watch it on, viewing distances, etc. You'll have to try it yourself and see.
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:12   #3
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

To be honest I record some of the movies as virgin are very poor with the HD content and a lot of the movies on demand are in SD giving as half a service
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Old 06-03-2017, 18:01   #4
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

Ok thanks for the advice. I was kind of hoping that on demand would have a clear and obvious technical advantage, not being subject to restrictions of broadcasting. But I guess not.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:57   #5
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

I have resorted to recording HD versions of films I fancy on Sky Cinema to watch at some point in the future as there is such a small offering for On Demand.
The quality used to be good and I would depend on it a lot.
Now if the HD version is there it is 50/50 if you get a 319 error that I have given up on it until it is back to how the service was 18 months ago.

Now having 2 1Tb boxes with 1 a TiVo and 1 a V6 I am becoming my own Sky Cinema HD storage point. Should not be needed but no end in sight with the shoddy on demand.
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Old 09-03-2017, 13:13   #6
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

I think it is wishful thinking that the HD on demand feature on SkyMovies will ever revert to it's previous service of 18 months ago.
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:38   #7
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

I've subscribed to Sky Cinema since about a year, so have no experience of how things were "before", but I've got a couple of particular gripes with the current offering.

1: I don't know how much of the archive library is HD&SD on Sky, compared with SD-only on Virgin. Their website also seems a little unclear on this point so I suspect they have the same setup as VM - HD for a certain amount of time after first-aired then SD only..but others may know for sure.. but I would like to see the proportion increase as VM's HD stuff seems pretty limited overall.

2: Error-319. I've had an open fault with VM-VOD since quite a few weeks for numerous HD-OD films giving the dreaded-error-319. Yes, I could easily record the films in question - and if I desperately want to watch a particular title I will. But not every film in the OD listing is being shown on the channels very often, and besides - it's quite clearly a problem in the VOD service that does seem to be taking months to resolve.

On that second point, at least now that VM have got this problem openly on the status page it feels like half the battle and even if the fix date keeps being put back, at least you know it's an ongoing problem. But I'm not sure whether the VOD people have a reliable way of knowing which titles are not working and therefore may need an individual fix - so it's a fortnightly or forum-based rigmarole of logging them.

That is damn frustrating.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:22   #8
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by japitts View Post
I've subscribed to Sky Cinema since about a year, so have no experience of how things were "before", but I've got a couple of particular gripes with the current offering.

1: I don't know how much of the archive library is HD&SD on Sky, compared with SD-only on Virgin. Their website also seems a little unclear on this point so I suspect they have the same setup as VM - HD for a certain amount of time after first-aired then SD only..but others may know for sure.. but I would like to see the proportion increase as VM's HD stuff seems pretty limited overall.

2: Error-319. I've had an open fault with VM-VOD since quite a few weeks for numerous HD-OD films giving the dreaded-error-319. Yes, I could easily record the films in question - and if I desperately want to watch a particular title I will. But not every film in the OD listing is being shown on the channels very often, and besides - it's quite clearly a problem in the VOD service that does seem to be taking months to resolve.

On that second point, at least now that VM have got this problem openly on the status page it feels like half the battle and even if the fix date keeps being put back, at least you know it's an ongoing problem. But I'm not sure whether the VOD people have a reliable way of knowing which titles are not working and therefore may need an individual fix - so it's a fortnightly or forum-based rigmarole of logging them.

That is damn frustrating.
I think this comes back to the old problem of how VOD operates on VM's systems, particularly with HD. Most of the VOD on VM is still provided using unique broadcast streams in the TV part of the system rather than via Broadband. These streams can be unique to each network segment, but if the capacity becomes saturated then errors start popping up. HD is still transmitted mostly in MPEG2 which reduces the available capacity in the segment further.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:39   #9
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by nodrogd View Post
I think this comes back to the old problem of how VOD operates on VM's systems, particularly with HD. Most of the VOD on VM is still provided using unique broadcast streams in the TV part of the system rather than via Broadband. These streams can be unique to each network segment, but if the capacity becomes saturated then errors start popping up. HD is still transmitted mostly in MPEG2 which reduces the available capacity in the segment further.
It's a perfectly valid point, and I suppose the VOD people know more about the nature & cause of error-319 than us mere customers.

But in the case of Sky OD programs, my error-319s are quite evidently asset-related. I can list particular titles that consistently don't play, while others do. It can be replicated perfectly at any given time of day
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:21   #10
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by japitts View Post
I've subscribed to Sky Cinema since about a year, so have no experience of how things were "before", but I've got a couple of particular gripes with the current offering.

1: I don't know how much of the archive library is HD&SD on Sky, compared with SD-only on Virgin. Their website also seems a little unclear on this point so I suspect they have the same setup as VM - HD for a certain amount of time after first-aired then SD only..but others may know for sure.. but I would like to see the proportion increase as VM's HD stuff seems pretty limited overall.

2: Error-319. I've had an open fault with VM-VOD since quite a few weeks for numerous HD-OD films giving the dreaded-error-319. Yes, I could easily record the films in question - and if I desperately want to watch a particular title I will. But not every film in the OD listing is being shown on the channels very often, and besides - it's quite clearly a problem in the VOD service that does seem to be taking months to resolve.

On that second point, at least now that VM have got this problem openly on the status page it feels like half the battle and even if the fix date keeps being put back, at least you know it's an ongoing problem. But I'm not sure whether the VOD people have a reliable way of knowing which titles are not working and therefore may need an individual fix - so it's a fortnightly or forum-based rigmarole of logging them.

That is damn frustrating.
To answer your questions

1 - On a proper Sky box at 2 of my families they have all films in SD and HD to download to their box. I have never seen 1 that was SD only and it just works. Select it starts downloading and after a few seconds typically it will let you start playing it.
18 months ago all Sky Movies films were available through VM On Demand. I even find a couple that were not and reported them through twitter and they sorted it within a day or 2 and credited me a few quid back for the hassle.
The website is not the same as HD as a web version does not exist I don't think.

2 - 319 has been there regularly since September. It is that flakey I have given up on it for now until some fix is put in place.

I received an email saying we now have access to 75 new box sets courtesy of Sky for the likes of things like Lucky Man. I would rather then got the service back to how it was before taking up more space with old stuff.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:38   #11
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Re: Sky Cinema Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by japitts View Post
But in the case of Sky OD programs, my error-319s are quite evidently asset-related. I can list particular titles that consistently don't play, while others do. It can be replicated perfectly at any given time of day
Correct. Error 319 means the asset you have asked to watch is missing from your regional VOD server. It's only become an issue relatively recently because of a change made in the last software update. Previously the listings would also come from the local servers, so if a particular asset was missing from your region you wouldn't even know about it or be able to try to play it. But now the listings come from a central server, so assets can be listed even if they aren't yet on your region's server.

There are plans afoot to resolve it properly, but in the meantime please bear with it. Missing assets usually turn up in a day or two.
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