So, Sky Anytime+ has been around for over a year now. Originally it was restricted to customers on Sky Broadband – the premise behind this being was that Sky were only confident that their broadband service could fully provide the necessary resources to deliver Sky Anytime+ successfully, reliably and at a sufficient level of quality. Obviously, the skeptical among us could say that this was an attempt to monopolise the different services and increase the subscriptions to Sky Broadband.
Anyhow, Sky changed their mind a couple of months ago by allowing Sky+ customers access to the Sky Anytime+ service via any broadband connection. With this announcement there has likely been a great increase in the amount of customers wanting access to the Anytime+ service.
Registering and ordering Anytime+
Access isn’t instant when you connect your box to the Internet – you need to register the service with Sky, either online or over the telephone – online being the easiest option. On the website, you have to order Sky Anytime+ – don’t worry though it doesn’t cost you anything. At the end of the order it will tell you that the amount you are being billed is changing and that it is now ‘£xx.xx’ – don’t worry about this either, the amount doesn’t (and shouldn’t) change from what you usually pay each month – you can verify this on your previous months bill.
Connecting your Sky box to the Internet – The Options
So after you’ve ordered Anytime+, you now need to connect. Sky show two different ways of connecting the box to the Internet on their website. The first way, is by using an ethernet cable. Obviously in many households this won’t be convenient as usually the router and the Sky box aren’t near each other, often being in different rooms. However, if your router and Sky box are next to each other, that’s a bonus! Feel free to connect your Sky+ box to the Internet using an ethernet cable. Ethernet cables are available in most electronics and computing stores as well as online at places such as Amazon for a fairly modest price. You may even have one hanging about the house – well now could be the perfect time to use it!
For most of though, an ethernet cable will not be suitable or wanted. So what’s the alternative?
Well on the Sky website they offer a Sky Wireless Connector – available for the (rather pricey) sum of £60. This ‘wireless connector’ plugs into the back of your box and connects to your router wirelessly – in a similar way that dongles can connect desktops or other computers to your router.
But wait, there’s also a third (unofficial) option…
So, that’s it – those are your only options…. or are they?
Well, lets have a little look at what a Sky Wireless Connector really is. Well, it’s basically a fancy branded dongle or wifi bridge.
So what’s stopping you using an ordinary wifi bridge? Well, nothing! Again wifi bridges are available from most electronics and computing stores as well as online for around £15-£20 – evidently much cheaper than the Sky Wireless Controller.
But, lets just go over the small disadvantages for a second. Firstly, you won’t get support from Sky regarding a normal wifi bridge – you’ll only get support for official Sky Wireless controllers (we would educatedly guess!). Secondly, setting up a bog standard wifi bridge to work with a Sky+ box could possibly be a little more complicated than using the Sky Wireless Connnector. But the extra 10 minutes it takes is probably worth the £40-£45 saving! – especially in these times of austerity and financial woe!
Sky Anytime+ using a wifi bridge – the setup
Now, if you’re going to use a wifi bridge it’s quite simple really. Once you’ve got the wifi bridge you will usually (always) have to configure this using a computer. You don’t normally get told this in the shops or online in the product description (it’s probably just assumed that if you are buying it that you have a computer) so make sure that you have a computer at home or at least access to a computer. Note that after the initial configuration you’re not likely to need to configure it again (unless something goes wrong, you change your router settings / passwords, Internet Service Provider etc).
Configure the wifi bridge to connect to your router – you should be able to test the settings either in the manufacturers software provider with the wifi bridge or by testing it out on the computer that you set it up on. Also, there’s usually lights on the wifi bridge indicating whether it a) has power and b) has a wireless connection to the Internet.
After you’ve finished configuring and verified that everything’s working, connect it into your Sky+ box. Within a minute or so the Sky+ box should find the network and then when you visit ‘Anytime’ via the red button you should now notice it is ‘Anytime+’. Hooray! :).
A note about power sources (for the wifi bridge)…
One other thing to note is power sources. Wifi bridges require their own power source. This can usually be done by either one or two ways – a power ‘pack’ or plug cable that connects directly into the bridge itself or power via a USB cable connected into the USB port of another device (that must be switched on while using Anytime+). It’s important to note that the Sky+ box USB slot will not work in the vast majority of circumstances – this obviously means that you can’t use that. If you’ve got a fairly new TV (around 1-2 years old – possibly older) you’ll probably have a USB port on the TV – this is usually the most convenient to power the wifi bridge and provides sufficient power for the device.
If you’ve got no luck with a spare USB port you can always connect a plug lead with adapter directly into your plug socket. Please note though that although many wifi bridges come with the relevant socket to put a plug lead into these are rarely included in the additional purchase of the wifi bridge and therefore usually need to be purchased separately.
So, hopefully by the end of this article you’ve got your Sky Anytime+ subscription activated and your Sky+ box connected to the Internet. There’s absolutely loads of movies available on there (for Sky customers with a Movies subscription obviously!) and lots of content from Sky channels such as Sky One and Sky Living as well as things like ITV player. Definitely enough to keep even the most avid TV watcher occupied (at least for a few weeks!).