New Sky Glass firmware makes big changes to Playlist system

posted on Thursday, 2nd December 2021 by Steve May

Sky Glass  Broadcast  Streaming 

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The latest firmware drop for Sky Glass makes a number of changes to its programme playback functionality. The all-in-one TV and streaming platform offered a dramatically different user experience when it launched, moving away from a set top box with PVR recording, to an all IP-delivered on-demand system.

The lack of local recording quickly became one of the most contentious aspects of the platform, as Sky Glass instead combines streaming from Sky’s own ‘cloud DVR’ with standard catch-up TV players from mainstream broadcasters.

The new firmware aims to make this Sky Glass Playlist system better, with key updates to the Play Now rail on the homepage. This now goes directly to playback, so when viewers select what to watch, it’ll play the episode or movie straight away rather than taking them to a show centre. If the programme is on live TV, and Restart is available, it’ll take users straight to the start of the show.

The rail is home to anything Sky Glass users have started watching, so they can quickly return to their shows. There’s also a blue progress bar and play icon on the picture tile, indicating where it can be picked up.

A planned firmware update will allow users to edit this rail, for a more tailored experience. Also, when users ‘+’ a show from the TV guide that’s yet to broadcast, it won’t appear in the Play Now rail until it’s broadcast, when it becomes the first item in the rail

If you add a live broadcast to the Playlist that’s already available on demand, it’ll instantly be added to the Play Now rail. There’s also a new ‘Playlist | View all’ option on the Play now rail.

Sky Glass Restart Screen (1)

There have also been tweaks to Restart, which allows users to watch something on linear TV from the beginning when it’s already started. There’s a new standalone rail in the TV Guide that appears at the top of each category, indicating what shows, sports and movies you can restart from the beginning.

To Restart BBC programmes, viewers will need to select the channel, press the red button and select ‘Restart’ on the right-hand side menu, or open the iPlayer app.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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