Sky Go with XBOX 360 Live – Review

As part of the new XBOX 360 Live services that are being launched this month, Front Row Reviews have been granted an Ambassadors role. Basically this means we get to test drive all the new features and give you guys a run down on whether they are any good… or not.

The key new application releases so far, with the exception of Bing search facility, are movie based. Until now the XBOX has been very much in the category of Games Console. Not any more – it is now the most powerful entertainment hub on the market.

So, next up in our trial is the new Sky Go app.

Sky’s movie channels have long held the position of the best place to watch films – with 11 dedicated channels and a pay per view channel, these are: Sky Movies Premiere, Showcase, Comedy, Family, Action & Adventure, Crime & Thriller, Modern Greats, Sci Fi & Horror, Drama & Romance, Classics, Indie and Sky Movies Box Office.

Recently launched is their Sky Go service – now available to all XBOX Live customers and also for use with laptops, iPad, iPhone and home computers. So, what’s it like?

Usability

There are 4 ways to access your Sky content from the XBOX menu including; via Quickplay, part of the HOME section, via the TV section, via the VIDEOS section and also via the APPS section.

You can again get all the way into the Sky app with the use of the voice activated Kinect sensor. Once in though you cannot navigate that way – you can always use the standard controller or the hand gesture method but it is a bit of a let down.

The menu’s within the Sky section are awesome – very easy to use and set out in a very logical fashion. It’s very easy to navigate to what you want. The ways the categories are setup is great too. Sky have a long tradition of excellent software and here is no exception.

Receiving the content via WI-FI may be an issue for some people, if you have poor connection, then you may struggle with some of these services. Running on a 50MB Virgin Media connection i had no problems whatsoever.

When you initially select a channel it does need to buffer for a few seconds but once you’re in, it remains a pretty solid connection. It can be a little slow when going through the TV guide and when changing channels but when you’re watching films its not really a problem.

Range

The range of films available is second to none. With the £40 per month Sky Go package – you get access to a total of 10 movie channels. Split into separate categories, there is ALWAYS something good to watch.

Unlike freeview channels, where the best you can hope for is another repeat of Total Recall or maybe once a week you get something half decent on FilmFour. Here you get at least 3 films a day that you would love to watch.

Unfortunately there is no record function. This is a bit of let down really – with a 250gb hard drive waiting to be filled, it would be great to record the best films into the bank for a more convenient time. Having said that – the On Demand services are amazing.

The majority of the big hitters throughout the week are available to watch at any time through the On Demand menu. There are plenty of films in the Showcase and Sky Movies section to keep you going and from what i have seen so far they update at a pretty decent rate too.

Value for money?

There are lots of different packages with Sky. If you have an existing account with them, then you can access the same level of subscription for no extra cost – you just need to get yourself a SkyID and you’re ready to go.

Not being an existing customer you have to sign up to Sky Go. Movie packages start from £32 per month. It’s around the same price as a normal Sky or Virgin subscription so it depends on what your needs are. You are not going to get the same HD crispness as with a dish or cable but its really not far off.

With Sky Go you do have the ability to sync it with your mobile devices too which is a nice touch.

Have you tried the new service yet? We’d love to hear your comments below!

MORE INFO:
XBOX Live
SKY

Try for yourselves!

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