Sky Catch Up and Sky On Demand are two popular internet-based features that have been available to Sky customers for several years now. So what are they, how do they work and how can you get involved? Here’s everything you need to know about Sky Catch Up and Sky On Demand.
What are Sky Catch Up and Sky On Demand?
Sky Catch Up and Sky On Demand allow Sky+HD owners to access TV shows and films via their broadband connection. For instance, you can stream shows from BBC’s iPlayer service, just like you can on a laptop or a TV streaming stick, to enjoy on your telly.
Most Sky On Demand content must be downloading to your Sky box’s hard drive before watching them (or at least in part), but items in the Showcase sections are downloaded via satellite when your Sky+HD box is not in use, so they can be watched instantly.
Around one-third of your box’s capacity is set aside for this purpose – about 180GB on the standard Sky+HD box, or 500GB on the 1TB and 2TB premium models.
Where can I find catch-up TV on Sky On Demand on Sky+HD?
Press the Red button in the Sky HD Guide, or look for the On Demand logo in the top-most menu bar (this was called Sky Anytime+ until late summer 2012).
There are now five basic sections to Sky On Demand: Catch Up, Library, Movies, Sky Store (pay-per-view movies) and Showcase (selected programmes and films which have been pre-downloaded to your Sky+HD box via satellite).
Press Select to enter the Catch-Up section, where you can choose from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5, Sky TV and Sky Sports.
Can I watch BBC iPlayer on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
Yes, although it’s not the full selection of content you’ll find through iPlayer on the web or on YouView, Virgin TiVo, Freeview HD, many smart TVs or Android and iPhone. There are no ‘series stacked’ boxed sets or radio content.
Can I watch ITV Player on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
Yes. ITV Player is now part of the Catch Up library, with programmes organised by day, soaps, entertainment, drama, comedy, lifestyle and factual. There’s also a Most Popular section and a Featured area where ITV can promote new shows.
Can I watch 4oD on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
Yes. 4oD joined Sky On Demand on March 18, with recent shows in the catch-up section and a selection of older shows and series in the On Demand library.
Can I watch Demand 5 on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
Yes. Demand 5 from Channel 5 is part of the Catch Up library, with shows organised by day, soaps, drama, entertainment, documentaries and sport. There’s also a Most Popular section and a Featured section where Channel 5 can promote new shows. And yes, you can catch up on Dallas.
Can I watch catch-up for Sky and other pay-TV channels on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
Sky1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts are now part of Catch Up on Sky On Demand. Instead of being listed separately, they’re listed together by day, series, entertainment, drama, comedy, music & arts, and factual.
There’s also a Most Popular section and new shows are promoted in Featured. The Series section includes box sets of series such as Mad Men, An Idiot Abroad and Mad Dogs. The actual channels you can receive will depend on your subscription.
There are also catch-up sections for National Geographic Channel, History and Crime & Investigation Channel. Fox, SyFy and Universal will be added in summer 2013.
Can I watch catch-up for Sky Sports on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
Depending on your subscription, you can get some or all of the Sky Sports channels, including Sky Sports F1. Not surprisingly, they’re broken down by sport, with additional Featured and Most Popular sections.
Can I watch other channels on Sky On Demand on Sky+ HD?
G.O.L.D., Dave, Good Food and Yesterday are listed in the Channels menu of the Library section of Sky On Demand, along with the History family of channels and Discovery channels. Access depends on your subscription package.
Can I watch box sets of my favourite shows of Sky On Demand?
The Library section of Sky On Demand now includes box sets for dozens of shows across channels on Sky such as Sky1, FX and Alibi, depending on your susbcription.
How do I connect my Sky+HD box to the internet for Sky On Demand?
From September 2013, new Sky+HD boxes come with built-in WiFi, allowing you to connect to your router with just a few button-presses if you have WPS enabled.
Older Sky+HD boxes require you to connect an Ethernet cable from your router to the socket on the back of your Sky+HD box, or if your router is not within a few metres of your Sky+HD box, Sky recommends that you purchase the Sky Wireless Connector, which costs £22 (but it’s free if you’ve never used Sky On Demand).
You could also use Powerline Ethernet adapters make a connection via your home’s electricity cables and sockets.
This guide explains in more detail how to get Sky On Demand on your Sky+HD box.
Do I need Sky Broadband to use Sky On Demand?
No, you can use Sky On Demand with any internet service provider, including Plusnet, BT, TalkTalk and others.
Does watching Sky On Demand count against my ISP’s download allowance?
Yes, even if you have Sky Broadband. A typical hour of HD TV can be more than 2GB, so you should get an unlimited broadband contract if you use Sky On Demand regularly.
How to get involved with On Demand from your iPhone
iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can now order Sky On Demand downloads to their Sky+HD box from the Sky+ app.
The upgrade works with any iOS 5 or later device using the same local network as your Sky+ HD box, for the entire Sky On Demand library including Catch Up.
Luke Bradley-Jones, Director of TV Products, Sky said: “This great new feature capitalises on the iPad or iPhone touchscreen to make it easier than ever to browse and discover something new to watch, regardless of whether you are near your Sky+HD box or elsewhere in your home.
“So when you’ve got a house-full this Christmas, rather than interrupt the kids’ cartoons or the big match, you can now browse through the On Demand movie listings from the kitchen whilst making dinner, and find the perfect film to watch later on.”
As with the other recent Sky+ app upgrades, there’s no word on an Android update.