Bradley-Jones, Luke

Here’s a stat for you. Each month, Sky TV customers on average interact with the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) a total of more than 1.2 billion times.

It’s an astonishing figure, and highlights just how integral the EPG is to the experience we offer our 10 million plus TV customers.

It’s also why we take a great deal of care when we come to think about how we might further improve the EPG for our customers, since providing an intuitive, easy-to-use EPG is a critical factor in us helping our customers get the most they can out of their Sky subscription.

With all of this in mind, today we’re beginning to roll out a new-look Sky Guide for customers with Sky+HD boxes. It’s a phased roll-out which will last throughout this year, starting with ten of thousands of boxes from today and expanding to millions more before the end of 2012.

One of the key changes that customers will notice over the next few months is that the design of the pages reflects the increasing popularity of on-demand viewing, following the success of our internet delivered video on-demand service Sky Anytime+, which as of last month is now available to 5 million homes with a Sky+HD box through any internet connection.

Integrating our on-demand and other options into the landing page for a particular genre gives our customers a snapshot of all the different viewing options available to them, helping them make the most of the choice of high quality content available through a Sky subscription.

Sky Movies customers, for instance, can chose between viewing movies live, watching movies that they’ve previously recorded to their Sky+ planner or on on demand through Sky Anytime+ and renting a film through the Sky Store. There is also a search function available on the page, which allows Sky Movies customers to search for a particular film they may have in mind.

                      EPG 1

Other changes include a larger number of channels available per page, increasing from six to eight channels, making it easier to Sky customers to browse through content.

                      EPG 2

Meanwhile, in the Sky+ Planner, customers will have the option to browse through their recordings by genre, so that where previously recorded programmes were displayed chronologically, they are now collected together so that customers can browse through shows belonging to the same genre.

                      EPG 3

And, on top of this, the whole Sky Guide will also be available in pinpoint HD, delivering sharp graphics consistent with the stunning quality of our HD channels.

The launch of the new Sky Guide also marks the first time that we’ve involved Sky subscribers in the development process, having invited a selection of our customers to test the design over the last few months. This approach has proved to be a big success, since testing the functionality and features with such a highly-engaged group has identified a number of improvements that have since been incorporated into the new look. We're very grateful for the invaluable feedback.

What was also noticeable was how much these customers enjoyed playing a part in helping building this new product, and it's certainly something that we will be looking to repeat with other software trials.

As I say, these developments are being introduced over the coming months, so customers with Sky+HD boxes shouldn’t expect to see them immediately - but please be assured they will appear sometime before the end of the year.

For more info, please visit www.sky.com/skyguide.

Sky 


Comments:

Clive Bates

07/06/12 10:10

This is all really good, but what really needs improvement is the integration of Sky's various products for PC and mobile... On each platform the means to browse or search for content and then record (EPG), download (Anytime+) or request notification (Nevermiss) if not yet available from PC or mobile device would be great. Further integration of the Movies and Sky Go apps into a single app (that doesn't crash too often) would be good - so that browsing, searching, recording, downloading, viewing and notification can all be done from anywhere with roughly the same user interface. Nevermiss would be improved by covering all the content available for download and allowing remote record or download directly from the the notification e-mail. Hope that helps... I'm a new subscriber: - it's a great service and I'm really liking it.

Darren Rollason

07/06/12 12:40

Can you please look at the HD channels and give the user an option to switch these for the SD numbers, i.e. 101 = BBC1 HD, for the issue with regional news could you not deploy a red buton feature or turn the channel automatically.

Mark Harrington

07/06/12 13:41

Overal its a nice improvement, however the biggest fail is the reduction in the number of channels available per page, with the "Mini TV mode" turned off, I could see a full screen of channels or recordings, now that doesn't work and its a much reduced list. Please sort out this bug/mistake, its a guide after all, and now the guide is reduced.

P Whitworth

07/06/12 21:44

Also, for your Irish customers paying Irish prices, we still have no access to Sky Anytime +. Maybe we'll be waiting just as long for the new EPG. We normally get the stock answer that there are 'liscencing issues' but if we can get on demand movies through my mac, iPad or iPhone, why not through our Sky HD box!

Mike

08/06/12 22:21

As a long time customer of Sky, I'm pleased to see the new-look EPG will really 'fit in' with the HD image. The on-screen font and text spacing looks much easier on the eye, and the yellow highlighting is far better than orange, that's for sure. It looks like there's better graphics on the search and scan banner too, with the ability to see what's happening behind it too! Also, I understand the graphic representing the playback and live pause is also improved. Super work there. Well done for asking customers to trial the software for you. Nothing better than getting people to test it in 'real-time' situations. Factory testing and controlled situations can only do so much. My only complaint is that I haven't been fortunate enough to receive the update! Roll it out faster!!

David Spooner

09/06/12 10:29

I've heard reports from testers that the option to remove the 'mini TV' has been removed in this new EPG thus meaning the amount of channels viewed per page will actually DECREASE from 11 to 8 for anybody like myself that preferred to have a full screen of channels and had no use of the mini TV or program info across the top of the screen. A very disapointing change if it is indeed in the version being rolled out to customers. :o(

Andrew Cope

11/06/12 09:25

More channels visible? I think not. With the current EPG if you turn off the mini-TV you have 11 channels visible. We could probably have 16 channels visible if you could turn the mini-TV off with this new EPG. Unfortunately it seems that Sky knows best and we can't turn the mini-TV off. I guess that 'more' is the new 'less' where Sky are concerned :-/

Dave

11/06/12 19:15

Loving the new guide however I would have liked to have seen Sky introduce some kind of suggestion type feature and series links which automatically renew for new series.

Darren

12/06/12 22:54

Looking forward to the change im wondering when or if sky are considering a move to 1080p soon,with all the 1080p tv,s about.

Caunsall

20/06/12 07:11

Instead of changing the EPG why not try and make sure that the one you've got is all it could be. I know it is a content provider issue but neither the automatic screen ratio nor the series link work with all channels. E.g. New hyped series on Prime Suspect USA on Universal did not offer me a series link option yesterday

James

20/06/12 09:46

Where are my full page of listings when the 'mini tv' is off!? It looks very lovely but functionally this is a backward step! Sort it out Sky.

Coco Bee

20/06/12 11:36

Well, my menu changed this morning, and I don't like it. I can switch off the mini tv, but I can't switch the menu to take up the full screen, which is my personal preference as it is much easier to scan. I also can't increase the saturation of the colours. The way it is now the menu is hard to read. Good job Sky. You just made your menu less user-friendly.

S. Evans

20/06/12 15:07

In TV Guide and Planner going down from 11 listings to 8 is a retrograde step even if mini-tv is switched off. Listings start half-way down the page and the descriptive piece above is a waste of valuable space. Please redesign as more listings per page means fewer pages to scroll through.For a guide to work well there should be more visible content available per page.

Dan

20/08/12 14:08

I really like the new guide and i think that the mini-tv and description should stay it means that you can watch new programs wothout leaving the guide. Very good job sky.

Mike Clarke

06/01/13 15:00

It is now January 2013. I do not yet receive the new format - when will this happen ?

graham

02/04/13 12:23

I'd like more channels visible per page of the planner, as we had previously. I agree with all of those who express those views on this forum.

Gordy

03/05/13 09:30

I hate not being able to turn mini TV off. I quite often record two sports events as I seldom watch sport live anymore (I can skip all the breaks in US sport for example). So when I bring the guide up to play something that's already recorded I do not want to see the score of one of the games I'm recording. It was bad enough before that the sound would be on but this is just stupid and badly thought through. I also preferred being able to jump down far more channels at a time as I have a lot of things recorded. Please, please, please fix this bug ASAP.

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