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Sky Go Extra: All is forgiven; it’s now much improved

Recently you may recall that I was positively SPITTING BLOOD and GUTS, ripping doors of hinges and throwing televisions through windows at the service level from the initial versions of Sky Go Extra.

The concept with ‘Extra’ is that you can download a limited range of Sky content on your mobile devices and then watch them offline — on the train, for example. This was a use case highlighted by the advertising that supported the initial launch.

Unfortunately my experience was dire. Ultra dire. Ultra shitting dire.

There were a few upgrades to the service and still, that didn’t seem to help at all.

I began to have to adjust my user model to fit around the ridiculously unusual requirements of the application and that resulted in being able to make it work. I think this, along with possibly a few more developer updates, helped get me to the place where the service became easy to use.

The key point though? I can now watch Game of Thrones on the train. I still have frustrations but it is now eminently usable.

For instance, there’s an expectation — semi reasonable, I think — that if you click download on an episode, that should happen without you needing to keep the app open for 40 minutes. Unfortunately the way everything is setup with Sky Go Extra, you have to keep the session open (and thus the app open) to complete the download, especially on iDevices. This is a bit of an arse when you’re wanting to do something else such as email or browse the web. If I’m aiming to watch a few episodes of something the next day on the plane, it means I need to surrender my iPad, plug it into the wall and let Sky Go Extra do it’s thing for a few hours. Hardly a brilliant experience. But… it does work.

There’s another small gotcha that annoys me almost every time I run the app: When you start up Sky Go Extra, it begins streaming live Sky television. So if you’re sitting in a meeting waiting for a terminally boring chap to finish his presentation and you innocently pretend you’re making notes on your iPad, you’ll look a right chump when, all of a sudden, your iPad starts screaming some Gordon Ramsay reality show. Cue a horrific set of fumbles to pause the streaming. This feature is significantly inconvenient if you’re sitting late at night watching the baby and you decide it’s time to download some more episodes of Game of Thrones. The moment I start the app I have to keep my finger hovered over the pause button top right of the screen ready to tap it immediately the streaming starts… just so that my young one doesn’t get surprised and wake up.

You get 48 hours to watch any episode you’ve downloaded. That is annoying but I can live with it.

You also get 7 days to actually start watching anything you’ve downloaded. This is perhaps my biggest current frustration with the service. I’d like them to try and get their lawyers to allow 30 days. I’ve downloaded countless episodes that I can no longer view, because I downloaded them, they expired and boom, so did my opportunity to watch them again.

It does work though. Finally. Thank you. I am reasonably content with it now.


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