Gold'en Rant : Sky-via-broadband - just say no...

I'm getting fed up with Sky and its Sky-via-broadband service. No, not the broadband-on-the-cheap service that Sky is busy promoting to its subscribers; the service that let's you watch movies, footy and other programs such as soaps on your PC.

Unlike the BBC's trial service and Channel 4's new OD (On-Demand) facility, Sky's TV-over-the-Internet service uses peer-to-peer re-transmission technology from Kontiki and others to maximise the download rate.

The system means that Sky TV programs can be downloaded in real time (i.e. 60 minutes for a 60 minute program) compared to the x2 to x3 factor (i.e. 120/180 minutes download for a 60 minute program) on the Channel 4 service.

But on top of an already complex digital rights management system, Sky-via-broadband shares your download with other Sky subscribers across your broadband connection.

This means that, even though you think you're downloading a 600 megabyte file, you may end up transferring several gigabytes of data to other Sky users on the Internet.

If you have a capped broadband service, as many ISPs offer, this means you could be in trouble with your ISP if you exceed your monthly data transfer allowance.

And that's before you account for the fact that the Sky/Kontiki software lowers several ports on your software firewall.

Tough nuts if you're a security/comms novice and don't realise this when you install the software. Even tougher when hackers target these vulnerable ports in their regular cyclical attacks on broadband PCs.

If you're got a security-enabled router, you're relatively safe from these attacks. Mind you, the Sky-via-broadband service won't work with such routers.

So, if the BBC and Channel 4 can create an Internet video-on-demand service that doesn't rely on peer-to-peer technology, why can't Sky? Over to you Mr Murdoch...