Re: [BCAB] sky talker is it worth it Nick.Adamson@generaldynamics.uk.com 23 Sep 2011 09:15 BST

Hi Michael.

I got a sky talker for Christmas last year. I've not heard that its been updated since then and I have know knowledge of a new model coming out so can't add anything to that part of your question apart from to say the issue of an upgrade the week after you bye something is always a problem.

Its probably easier to go in to pros and cons.
Pros.
1. Using it its much easier to identify witch channel your on and what's on at the moment. This makes it quicker to find a program you want to watch.
2. Using sky talker and remembered button pushes I can now access and watch what is on the sky plus recordings. It would be nice if the main screen talked but its pretty quick to start playing a recording, let the sky talker tell you what it is that's playing and if you don't want to watch it to jump back to the menu. This is quite important in our house as there's anything from pepper pig, a program for my kids, to east enders,  and top gear and so on.

Cons.
It doesn't seem as stable as it should be, every so often, maybe once or twice a week it'll crash and I'll have to restart it.
2. The fact that you can't get at the program guide and menus is an issue. If this one was fixed then this would take the sky talker from something that's OK to something that's fantastic.
3. I had it plugged in to the TV using the scart socket provided so that you can get the spoken text from your TV speakers. I found that this made the audio of the actual program clip and had a noticeable reduction in audio quality. To resolve this I just got a cheep pair of mp3 player speakers and plugged them directly in to the sky talker.

In summary, Its not bad. Quite a useful little box but there are a number of ways it can be improved.

I will congratulate sky on doing this and providing this sort of access but I think they've actually made their life harder than it should be. In my mind there is no technical reason why this functionality should be provided by an external box and a number of reasons why it shouldn't. All of the functions in the sky talker could be done in software hosted on the sky plus box its self. The hardware inside the sky plus box is pretty beefy so would be able to run a TTS engine with out any issues and access to the sort of information such as the program guide would be much more readily accessible in software on the box rather than having to translate the output from the serial port as the sky talker does write now. This would also help with the audio quality issue as the tts output could be mixed in to the audio stream in software at source.

Just my thoughts.
Nick.

Nick Adamson
Software Engineer

C4I Systems

 General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited
Bryn Brithdir, Oakdale Business Park, Blackwood, South Wales, NP12 4AA

Telephone: +44 (0) 1495 236467
Email: Nick.Adamson@generaldynamics.uk.com
Website: www.generaldynamics.uk.com

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-----Original Message-----
From: bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of michael weaver
Sent: Friday, 23 September 2011 05:47
To: bcab@lists.bcab.org.uk
Subject: [BCAB] sky talker is it worth it

i am thinking about whether or not to purchase sky talker.
is it worth it or would it be best to wait for what could be the
distant future for it to be able to function with features like
epg which i am aware from reading articles and listening on
"insight radio" only seems to be able to do something like the
search programmes, programme synopsis and basic control of
features on sky plus such as rewinding and pausing programmes
etc.
i am not sure whether to buy if say the functionality is limited
to the points mentioned then five months down the line for
example epg access is built into a later model so you have to
spend another £60 to get the features you don't have at the time
you purchased the product.

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