Sky, in their infinite wisdom, have rolled out an update to Sky+ boxes to put them into standby mode automatically if they aren't "used" (Sky's term is "no activity", i.e. pushing a button on the remote) for two hours between 11pm and 4am. This is all in the name of saving electricity, lowering carbon footprints, yadda yadda yadda, and it's a laudable goal. It's a shame that the mechanism is so irritating, and it seems some people are having problems with it too. So here I am, it's just after half two in the morning, and I'm watching Transporter 2 (don't ask). Up pops this huge alert box on the screen: "Your Sky+ box is about to go into standby. Press Back Up to cancel" Holy crap! What happened to my movie? So I press Back Up. If I wasn't really concentrating on the picture — perhaps listening to music on MTV2 or Music Choice, or one of the now hundreds of radio channels — I wouldn't have noticed and off it would have went. Note that this would then clear out the trick play cache on the hard disk, although it wouldn't affect programmes being recorded either manually or from the planner.

So, off to Google I go, and I find a procedure on Sky's website on how to disable auto standby on Sky+ and Sky HD boxes. And here it is:

  • Press the Services button on your Sky remote.
  • Press 5 for Sky+ Setup.
  • Push up twice to highlight Auto Standby.
  • Push left (or right) once to change ON to OFF.
  • Push down once to highlight Save New Settings and press Select.
  • Push the Sky button to return to whatever you were watching.

I love the idea, but I watch a lot of television late at night. It's bad enough I get constantly prompted to enter my PIN when wanting to watch a movie that's > PG rated before 8pm — Sky, for the love of $deity, please fix this ASAP — but now I'm being hassled to switch my box off when I'm trying to watch the very television I'm paying money to subscribe to. Jeez. I switch my box into standby when I'm not watching TV or leaving the room for a while anyway. Bah.

Presumably this is to ensure that the hard disk inside the Sky+ and Sky HD boxes is spun down unless it's recording, so hence standard digiboxes haven't had this software change rolled out yet and aren't affected.

AuthorWilliam Anderson