Posted in Technology and Software, TV and Films

The Sky’s the Limit

Mum was tempted by an offer of four trial months of free Sky TV (after £75 initial set-up, delivery of Sky box and installation of mini-dish). So now we have a dish on our house too.

It’s been enjoyable so far, though it’s shocking how little is subtitled, including programmes which are subtitled sometimes, and other times not. They must do something about that, as it seems such a waste of energy and resources.

We have seen The Colour of Magic amongst other things, very good.

A few days after the Sky box was installed, we tried to watch a DVD. Nothing happened… I suspected the DVD was playing but not showing up on the TV screen. I crawled behind the TV and changed the Scart cables around – the Sky guy had placed them so that they both ran from the TV. I put the DVD player in the middle, taking both cables so that the TV had one and the Sky box had the other.

The DVD sprang to life on the TV screen (already part of the way through).

After watching the film, we tried to watch Sky again, and this time Sky wasn’t responding. Again I crawled behind the TV and switched the cables round to Plan C… this time I discovered that it mattered which Scart socket you used! I thought it didn’t matter, but it does. The Sky box has one socket for the TV and another for the video or DVD player, so this time I put the Sky box in the middle, with one cable running to the TV and the other to the DVD player. The sockets on the other units matter as well, but I swapped the Scarts round till I figured out which ones worked.

This time we could watch Sky, and we could also watch a DVD if we switched off the Sky box first. But the Sky picture was green!!

“You’ve lost all the red,” said Mum, accusingly. After a little head-scratching, I crawled behind the TV again and discovered that one of the Scart cables wasn’t as well pushed in as I thought; pushing it all the way in was all that was needed to restore ‘normal’ colour to the TV screen…

We now have a TV set-up we can continue to use.

The excitement wasn’t entirely over, as Mum got a letter saying they were going to start debiting her account at the end of the month… she phoned and said she’s barely even started the four-month trial period she was promised, and they said they accidentally sent out letters saying they would, but they weren’t going to, and Mum’s money is safe for now.

Funny how it’s never easy.



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

5 thoughts on “The Sky’s the Limit

  1. Oh, man, that sounds just like what happens when you try to make machines act nicely with each other. Glad you figured it all out! Don’t know that I could have done so.

  2. Ta – been wrestling with various boxes attached to my old TV as well. But it took me all this time to figure out that it mattered which sockets were used… I blame the manuals, as they don’t seem to mention that.

  3. I was surprised to find that my DVD player only liked one of the scart sockets on my TV. But now I’ve got my Wii they both seem happy to share. It’s strange. o_O

  4. I’ve never heard of a ‘scart’ socket. You seem to be onto it! I had a Sky TV trial some years ago but what I didn’t appreciate was that I had to pay for channels I didn’t want and miss out on those that did or pay extra. That seemed ludicrous, I never watched enough to justify the expense and if I wanted to watch a movie it was cheaper to rent a DVD, so I gave up and saved the money.

  5. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I enjoyed getting to see Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic. Mum likes MASH and the games shows (lots of them!) so I think she’s hooked now.

    I think you’re right about the films channels – it’s disappointing that most of those (and the kiddie channels!) are subscription only. But as we tend to get the movies elsewhere anyway, I’m not sure it’s worth subbing. If the Angry Beavers came on, though, I would be sorely tempted…

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