It's the set-top box/service that was a real game changer, so to salute the arrival of the PVR great, we pick our ten favourite things to love about Sky+
Way back in September 2001, Sky put in our hands the remote control that would change TV forever in the UK. Sky+ began rolling out across the country letting us pause while we nip to the toilet, or lie on a sofa for an entire day watching a season of Lost.
As Sky announces that it will offer BBC iPlayer and ITV Player access via Sky Anytime+, we've selected our ten favourite things about the PVR wonder.
1. Skipping adverts
10 years is just about the exact amount of time it takes to achieve a level of such supreme fast-forwarding proficiency that you can go at 30x through a primetime Saturday night show’s adverts and stop at the exact moment it comes back on. Wise ad-skippers will know all the tricks, such as looking out for the familiar sponsor idents signposting either side of the ad break. Or the Channel 4 thing with the cars.
2. Planner panic
That little box only has so much storage. The battle to keep your Planner aloft is, as a result, a constant one fraught with peril. Can you afford to record it in HD? Do you really NEED to have Die Hard on record? You know that if you float into “20% Remaining” territory, someone had better bloody sit down and start watching things or the TV will explode. This all got so much worse once ‘Series Link’ became an option, does she really “need” season 3 of Glee? Delete.
3. Water cooler spoilers
One of the biggest problems of recording everything that you may ever want to see is that you mind so much more if things get spoilt for you. In years gone by you’d have either seen that Channel Five documentary “Boy with a Leg for a Head”, or you’d never. Now that you’ve got a year’s worth of things to catch up on you’ve got to spend your life avoiding human contact, just in case anyone happens to let slip that it was Stuart who got fired, or that everything in Lost really WAS an enormous waste of time.
4. Curse you Live Pause
Sandwich made, beer bought, chilled and poured, bladder emptied… let's see if your team can come back from 1-0 down on the 30 minute mark…oh, OH NO! YOU’VE PRESSED BACK UP! Live pause has cancelled and you’ve flung yourself 50 minutes through time, with the extra kick between the legs being that you’re now 3-0 down.
5. Recording clash hysteria
Once upon a time, in a far away time, we would have been happy to tape one show successfully. These days we’re greedy, and when that “you can not watch Come Dine With Me and record two programs, choose one recording to cancel” message comes up, like a writ from the Sky Bank Manager, sweaty panic ensues. There’s only one thing for it, turn the TV off and sit in silence for half an hour until the clash resolves itself.
6. No more recording over
Back in the day recording a program would involve choosing a tape from the cupboard and sitting cross-legged in front of your recorder entering the sort of code reminiscent of an Enigma Machine. And what would get for your trouble? Taping over part of your sister’s wedding and half of series 2 of Red Dwarf. But you know, in a funny way we kind of miss that.
7. Instant replay
We could wait until the evening for Match of the Day to come on but why wait for the opportunity to put your friends through torture by continually rewinding and then hitting play letting them re-live that glaring miss over and over again. Come to think of it, when Match of the Day is on, you can go through the same irritating but equally enjoyable process all over again.
8. Phone it in
It's a late one in the office, the end is no where in sight and you've just realised that the season finale of 24 is on. No one is picking up the phone at home, you forgot to set the Series Link and you are in danger of finding it out by way of someone's Facebook status. It's alright though, you've got the Sky+ app on your smartphone and it's disaster averted. Well as long you've got room left on your Sky+ box...
9. Match day dilemma
We've worked out that you can save the whole of your team's season on to one of Sky's new 1TB megaboxes, including pre- and post-match analysis. Just think, that's an entire season of Gary Neville for you to keep...
10. 'I've Sky+ it'
Those three small words you've probably heard more than a hundred times from your friends and colleagues while you make do with having to wait for the repeat at 3am in the morning a week later. It also has a better ring to it than 'I've BT Visoned it' or 'I've Virgin Tivoed it.'