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Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control

Posted on 29 Apr 2013 at 08:42

Paul Ockenden explains why the Sky+ app is a good reason to buy an iPad or Android tablet by itself

I’m going to propose something that I know will be a bit contentious: when trying to decide whether you really want a tablet device, one consideration is whether you’re a Sky TV subscriber, and in particular whether you have a Sky+ HD box.

Why? Because Sky has produced a wonderful Sky+ app that complements your Sky subscription. There are versions available on both Android and iOS, although until recently, the Android version was a poor relation. Luckily, it’s recently been updated and improved.

The app lets you see a grid display of upcoming TV programmes, and send remote record requests to your Sky box – great if you’re sitting in the pub and realise you’ve forgotten to record an episode of your favourite soap. It also allows you to do a text-based search, so typing in "Home" will give you all of the episodes of Home & Away available across the various channels in the following week.

When you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi, however, the app goes further, connecting directly to your Sky+ HD box and providing full access to the planner, where you can see what’s already recorded and what you have scheduled. The app also detects recording clashes and offers intelligent rescheduling options – something the Sky box fails to do. Plus, you can use the app as a remote control for your Sky box.

Sky+ app

And there’s more – the iOS version of the app offers access to Sky’s on-demand library, including catch-up services from most major broadcasters (although not the BBC at present). This on-demand feature is currently missing in the Android version, but Sky has promised it will be available later this year.

This demonstrates well where intelligent remote controls should be going in future: forget all those plastic-fantastic Harmony devices (some of which cost more than £200) and just spend a few quid more on an iPad mini. The base model is fine, and you’ll have something that’s far easier to use and far more productive.

I expect some people will trot out the usual moans about Sky – the Murdoch tax and so on – but this app is free, and for me it’s become essential. It’s nice that the Android version is finally catching up.

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User comments

iPhone App

There is also an iPhone app available which provides the same functionality.

Also worth noting is the Sky Movies app, provides a handy way of searching their catalogue of broadcast and on demand movies for films by a particular actor etc.

By JimBre on 29 Apr 2013

and alao

A 3rd party WP app that works brilliantly while SKY get their backsides into gear.
TV Guide+

By nickallison on 29 Apr 2013

why ??

Why bring in harmony remote control to this story ?? This app can't control my blu ray, surround sound or switch on my av gear and change the channel on my tv . don't try and fool readers into buying another apple product !

By Mindcrime on 30 Apr 2013

why ??

Why bring in harmony remote control to this story ?? This app can't control my blu ray, surround sound or switch on my av gear and change the channel on my tv . don't try and fool readers into buying another apple product !

By Mindcrime on 30 Apr 2013

Yes you evil informing bunch of journalists.

Yeah how dare you try and fool people in to buying an Apple product by showing them how much better this is than using a remote control!! I'll stick with my remote that can turn on all my equipment and I'll live with the inferior controls once the power is on thank you very much. Now what has that little green robot done with my half eaten Apple.

By TimoGunt on 4 May 2013

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Paul Ockenden

Paul Ockenden

Paul is a contributing editor to PC Pro specialising in smartphones, mobile broadband and all things wireless. He's technical director of a combined IT and marketing company, which works on websites and intranets for several blue-chip clients.

Read more More by Paul Ockenden

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