Never miss a show with Sky’s Remote Record service

Originally posted on Mobile Industry Review

I’m a recent convert to the joys of Sky+. In fact, I’ve been a fan for years, but due to what I now presume to be laziness on the part of my Sky engineer – I hadn’t been able to set anything up to record ahead of time, only pause/play live television. Now, a secret socket has been found in my boiler cupboard and all is well.

This doesn’t however, stop me from forgetting entirely that I want to record something in the first place. In fact, because service has only been functioning fully for a few months, I find myself overlooking the fact that it’s now working at all.

So, today I unearthed an email from a friend talking about Sky Mobile’s Remote Record service and decided to give it a whirl. It’s pretty self-explanatory – providing you’ve got a Sky+ (or Sky HD) box, and subscription, you’ll be able to use your mobile or PC to remotely record anything you like.

First things first, even with said friend’s fabulously hyperlinked email; I wouldn’t call it the easiest installation in the world. It was straightforward and simple enough, but I’m unfamiliar with the Sky portal. There are so many different services available that you really need to concentrate to prevent from getting caught in an infinite loop.

Before I could do anything, I signed up for a My Sky account – which happily took all of a few minutes – then clicked on the most obvious-looking tab, Sky Mobile. From there, I was able to sign up by entering my mobile number and accepting the T&C.

After an instantaneous text, I should have been able to download the Sky Anytime app. Which I would have done if my e71 had been compatible, or more accurately – if the Sky website hadn’t told it wasn’t and blocked me from going any further. Bit of shame, as from the very beginning when purchasing my e71, I was told that anything that works on the N95 I should also be able to use.

BUT I am still able to text in alerts on this handset. Simply save a specific format (name of show, channel, date and time) as a draft and edit when you need to send.

That’s all very well, but is only really useful if you already know what you want to watch, or what time it’s on. Going on the basis of the N95 theory above, I managed to trial the Sky app on that handset, and the installation ran perfectly first time. I repeated the process above, and then connected phone to Sky box. Just click ‘interactive’ on your remote, and press ‘1’ for Sky Active. Scroll down to Sky Products from the menu, and then select Remote Record. Register a new ‘My Sky User’ (you’ll need to connect via a Freephone number), and type in your mobile number again.

I was however, still determined to get it to work on my e71. It’s lucky that I know some people who know far too many things about phones. After a quick call, I pasted the download link (as sent to me via text) into my web browser, used User Agent Switch to trick it into thinking I was an N95 and downloaded away. There’s no reason it should work on one and not the other. Connect phone to laptop via USB, and then use Nokia PC suite to transfer onto your e71.

On the big old screen of my e71, the app itself is beautiful – containing scrolling news updates, access to Sky Entertainment & Sports content, as well as your 7 day Sky TV Guide. You can also access Mobile TV from this portal as well, but it doesn’t appeal to me so I’m staying well clear. You can search by category as per a normal Sky set up, or for a keyword and then activate one-click record request.

From your PC, you simply access My Sky and pick which programmes to watch. My mind tends to steer towards frivolous Sky-related issues when I’m truly out and about, so the mobile app is much better for me.

There are a few snags; you need to send recording requests at least 30 minutes before the start of a programme, and the text confirmation messages cost 25p. Plus, there are network/ISP charges to factor in. However, all of these are minimal and utterly worth it when you’re short of time, or are halfway into work before you remember that the series finale of your favourite show is on at 6pm when you won’t be back till late.

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