Sky Player coming to UK Xboxes 27th October

Oliver Brown
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Some time ago (at least a year or so) Sky launched Sky Player. Similar to iPlayer, it allows Sky subscribers to watch Sky content online. As of October 27th Sky Player will be available to UK Xbox 360 owners.

This seems only slightly useful at best. If you already have a Sky subscription (and an Xbox Live Gold account) then Sky Player will be free. With it you’ll be able to view some of what is available on your Sky subscription with live as Video-on-Demand. Except for the possibility of getting Sky in another room, I don’t really see the point.

If you don’t have a Sky subscription, things seem a little more worthwhile. Until you see the price*. The cheapest is £15 a month for a basic entertainment package. Adding Movies and Sports will set up back £41 a month. At those prices you might as well get a normal Sky subscription. The only other difference is at least you only have a month-to-month contract.

There are some screenshots from Colin Jenson.

*The pricing hasn’t been confirmed. The prices I’ve quoted is for the web based service. I can’t imagine the Xbox price being much different but I’d guess Microsoft might negotiate something a little less…

Stargate Universe coming soon - complete with Robert Carlyle

Oliver Brown
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Stargate Universe

October 2nd sees the launch of the third Stargate series, Stargate Universe.

The basic premise is very similar to Star Trek Voyager. A crew find a nine chevron gate address which takes them not to a planet, but instead to the Ancient ship Destiny in another galaxy. And then they can’t get back.

It will apparently be darker and edgier than previous Stargate series (which makes the casting of Robert Carlyle - most famous for Trainspotting and The Full Monty) seem a little more sensible.

One final interesting bit is that Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks and Richard Dean Anderson all guest start in the first episode.

I Finally have MythTV

Oliver Brown
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After talking about for quite a bit, I finally have a computer setup running MythTV.

I decided to go for MythDora. It has the advantage of being straight forward to use and still leaves me with a fully functional desktop computer (which KnoppMyth doesn’t really do. It did leave me one slight headache - I didn’t have a spare DVD drive (MythDora is 1.2GB) so I had to borrow the one from Windows desktop). The hardware I have is pretty moderate (well, really low end for most applications - a Sempron 3200 and on board GeForce 6100 with a Hauppauge HVR 1300) but it runs as a combined backend/frontend without any problems, even when recording, transcoding and viewing TV (an “advantage” of living in a country where HDTV is still not a thing).

On the subject of transcoding, there was one stumbling point - specifically it just didn’t work at first (I got the illuminating error message “Failed with error code 0”). After posting the output to the MythTV-Users mailing list someone pointed out it was a MythDora packaging problem - libmp3lame hadn’t been installed.

The only thing that isn’t working now is the MCE IR blaster for controlling my Sky box (I’m just using Freeview though the DVB tuner on HVR 1300). lirc seems to be setup right since when I run irw and press buttons on my remotes (either the MCE remote that came with the HVR or the Sky remote) it detects them properly. Running irsend doesn’t do anything though (there’s not even an error). But at the moment I’m recording more than I can watch with just Freeview anyway.

Next time, less rambling.

The future of Stargate

Oliver Brown
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In case you didn’t know, Stargate SG-1 has been “cancelled”.

To be specific the Sci-Fi channel in America has decided not to pay for another series after series 10. But all is not lost. According to Wikipedia they will be making two straight-to-DVD movies by the end of the year (filming in April and June). The first will wrap up the Ori storyline and the other will be unrelated (check Wikipedia for some spoilers).

Also another completely separate Stargate series is planned to start in 2008/

Some progress with MythTV

Oliver Brown
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I finally (technically) installed KnoppMyth (a Debian based Linux distribution designed just to run MythTV) today. I say technically since I installed it somewhere where I couldn’t connect any sort of TV signal up to it. So, although it works fine, I haven’t actually managed to test any of the important features. The only part of the installation that was a problem was that the hard drive KnoppMyth uses must be the master device on the primary IDE channel.

I had it on the secondary and it was not happy.

Zudeo and the BBC

Oliver Brown
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Apparently the BBC will begin offering programmes for download though Zudeo, a movie sharing service similar to YouTube, owned by Azureus, the developer of a popular BitTorrent client.

Although the downloads will contain DRM, the very fact that the reputation of BitTorrent for illegal downloads hasn’t put the BBC off partnering with a company that relies on it says a lot about them.

Crack Craig Charles

Oliver Brown
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Apparently Craig Charles was filmed smocking crack in a taxi. The most annoying aspect is the tabloids used headlines referring to him as a Coronation Street star.

Surely some clever Red Dwarf pun wouldn’t have been that difficult to come up with.

Cards and cards and cards…

Oliver Brown
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We are long time Sky customers and recently ordered Sky Multiroom so I could connect Sky up to my new Media Center PC. On Thursday they sent us two new viewing cards. I knew we’d need a new one but I didn’t expect two - I just figured that the change in our subscription meant the old one needed changing. Except on Friday they sent us another one. So now we have four, our old one and the three new ones.

This could lead to an interesting possibility since we actually have a spare Sky box. So we’ll have three Sky boxes (two normal and one Sky+) and three new cards. That’s a total of four signals required - exactly the amount that a single minidish can handle. Unfortunately after looking around the Sky site I found out that you need a separate multiroom subscription for each additional box. So why did they send us three new cards?

Some Stargate stuff

Oliver Brown
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I’ve started a new page listing some of the story arcs from Stargate.

That is, it lists all the relevant episodes for the story arcs (useful if like me you own most of them and want tory and make sense of them without other stuff in between).

Stargate story arcs

Oliver Brown
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I now own most of Stargate SG-1 on DVD (everything up to series 7 so far). One of the reasons I wanted to buy it was to fill in the gaps on some of the episodes I missed. SG-1 features many multi-episode story arcs and missing one in the middle can be confusing. So just for reference for anyone who might be interested, here are some lists of episodes for some of the more important story arcs.

Some of the episodes are only debatably part of the story arc. For example “The Torment of Tantalus” is the first reference to the great alliance of which the Asgard were a part even though it has no mention of the Asgard themselves.


Series Episode Title
SG-1 1x09 Thor’s Hammer
SG-1 1x10 The Torment of Tantalus
SG-1 2x06 Thor’s Chariot
SG-1 2x15 The Fifth Race
SG-1 3x03 Fair Game
SG-1 3x22 Nemesis
SG-1 4x01 Small Victories
SG-1 5x05 Red Sky
SG-1 5x22 Revelations
SG-1 6x17 Disclosure
SG-1 6x11 Prometheus
SG-1 6x12 Unnatural Selection
SG-1 7x03 Fragile Balance


Series Episode Title
SG-1 2x02 In the Line of Duty
SG-1 2x11 The Tok’ra (Part 1)
SG-1 2x12 The Tok’ra (Part 2)
SG-1 3x12 Jolinar’s Memories (Part 1)
SG-1 3x13 Jolinar’s Memories (Part 2)
SG-1 4x03 Upgrades
SG-1 4x05 Divide and Conquer
SG-1 4x12 Tangent
SG-1 4x22 Exodus
SG-1 5x01 Enemies
SG-1 5x02 Threshold
SG-1 5x15 Summit
SG-1 5x16 Last Stand
SG-1 6x09 Allegiance

Apophis and Klorel

Series Episode Title
SG-1 1x01 Children of the Gods
SG-1 1x07 The Nox
SG-1 1x15 Cor-ai
SG-1 1x21 Politics
SG-1 2x01 Within the Serpent’s Grasp
SG-1 2x02 The Serpent’s Lair
SG-1 2x08 Family
SG-1 2x09 Secrets
SG-1 3x09 Rules of Engagement
SG-1 3x15 Pretense
SG-1 4x14 The Serpent’s Venom
SG-1 4x22 Exodus
SG-1 5x01 Enemies
SG-1 5x02 Threshold


Series Episode Title
SG-1 1x07 The Nox
SG-1 1x16 Enigma
SG-1 3x15 Pretense
SG-1 3x18 Shades of Grey