Sky has started rolling out its new-look TV guide to Sky+HD boxes, making it even easier for customers to discover new shows and search the vast on-demand libraries.
Ahead of the official launch we were able to get a sneak preview of the new programme guide and get to know its features a little better.
The new-look Sky guide makes finding shows easier by rethinking the layout. When you hit the TV Guide button on your Sky remote you’ll now be introduced to eight windows and a search bar instead of the regular Sky TV EPG we know and love.
This lets you jump to usual features such as the EPG and planner as well as putting shortcuts to the catch-up TV and box sets all on one page, next to TV and movies on demand and the pay per view Sky Store.
The overhauled search function also combs the entire Sky guide for content, rather than you having to look through separate menus. You can search by title, channel, sport, and actor names – perfect if you’ve forgotten the name of that show about doctors with Daniel Radcliffe and what’s-his-name from Mad Men.
After you’ve received the update, your Sky+HD box will start searching for programmes based on the first letter you enter.
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As every episode of Game of Thrones is now available from Sky On Demand, if you wanted to binge watch before the new season kicks off, all you’d have to do is enter ‘G’ and you’re there. Similarly, if you wanted to queue up a Tom Cruise movie marathon then that’s as simple as entering ‘TOM’.
While the yellow search bar is accessible on the main guide, on some menus where it’s not present you’ll be able to access search by pressing the blue button.
When browsing any of the on demand menus, it’s easy to jump across to different sections such as catch-up and Sky Store without having to go back to the main menu and navigate from there. It’s not too disimilar to the old style where if you opened up the On Demand menu you’d have a selection of tabs for Sky Store, Movies, Entertainment and so on.
Visually, everything’s a lot sharper than before. Taking a cue from the current design vogue to have everything flat, Sky has done away with a lot of the rounded corners and textures. Despite all the new features and changes, it looks and feels like good old Sky+, just refreshed.
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Perhaps the most striking new feature of the refreshed Sky guide is the new ‘New Series’ menu. This gathers the most recent episodes of Sky’s new shows, making it even easier to see the best of what Sky’s got to offer at a glance.
Luke Bradley-Jones, brand director of TV Products at Sky says that content discovery is at the forefront of the new design. Bradley-Jones said: “Our new Homepage means it’s now much easier to quickly find what you want, when you want to watch it – whether that’s the big Premier League clash or catching up on Game of Thrones.
“The new home page is a really important innovation, putting Sky+ at the heart of the connected home.”
The Sky+ mobile apps will also be updated to reflect the new flattened iOS 7-ish style and will include a highlights carousel. Other new app features include the ability to start queuing (but not watching) Sky Store titles remotely and turn your Sky+HD box on and off from your phone or tablet, a popular feature that’s been requested by Sky customers.
Sky has also said that this update is just the beginning for 2014; more updates will be hitting later this year.
While Sky says that search and discovery will continue to be refined and tweaked, a smarter approach to recommendations, based on the TV shows you’ve recorded and downloaded, is in the pipeline.
Update: Updated with video.