Sky Digibox
interactive services on non-Sky broadcasts


In a word - "hopeless".

'Open TV' developed the interactive 'engine' used inside digital receivers. The first version was 1.0 (as you'd expect).

From this, a TCP/IP capable version (1.1) was created for the Sky Digibox. This was then upgraded to version 1.2 which is, as far as I know, the way things stand today.

Meanwhile, everybody else took v1.0 and upgraded it twice. The first upgrade was known as EN1 and the second as EN2.

The systems are broadly compatible with each other, but sadly that is more theory than reality.


In general, the Digibox can receive the Sky/BBC interactive services but nothing else. On the other hand, non-Sky receivers (such as the Nokia 9800 or the Sagem 3400) can receive a number of interactive services but not Sky/BBC's stuff.

Sadly, and actually bloody deplorably, the situation doesn't appear to be much better outside of Sky. Sky at least has the excuse that the Digibox is a unit specifically designed for Sky's broadcasts.
The French operator 'TPS' has its own digital receiver. It can receive the TPS interactive stuff but none other. Meanwhile, the Sagem 3400 can mostly receive the TPS interactive services, as well as the RTL interactive services. The Nokia 9800 can cope with the RTL services but not TPS.


I don't know if this is a sad example of rampant protectionism ('you'll buy our box to use with our service') or if the state of play is truly so bad that so many incompatible systems are in use. Whatever, it is something that has got to stop. It's pathetic.


It won't hurt, while you have your Digibox pointed at a non-Sky satellite, to poke around and see if you can get any of the interactive stuff. I don't hold out much hope, but you never know, maybe somebody in the know will read my comments and think about morals and compatibility before money...
Like I said, don't hold out too much hope...

...because apparently the Red Button routine doesn't work for 'added channels'. Lovely.


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Copyright © 2004 Richard Murray