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Are You A Sports Fan?
Are you a sports fan, do you like cricket? For years we've enjoyed free cricket coverage from the BBC and Channel 4. Thank goodness Channel 4 still had the TV rights during the excellent 2005 Ashes tour.
Now Sky have kidnapped cricket. Don't reward them for their evil deeds - be strong. Save your money and go and watch a couple of live games instead. If we don't pay Sky, then Channel 4 or the BBC will win the contract next time round. Sky will only out-bid them, if we pay the ransom.
If taking away sporting events from the masses wasn't bad enough, Sky are now flexing their muscles, in an attempt to kill off the newly rebranded Virgin Media (previously NTL). Sky have a dominant position in the pay tv arena, because they have both content and distribution. This is a very bad situation for customers, because it stifles competition. Virgin Media have to buy the rights to distribute channels such as Sky One from BSkyB. However, BSkyB are Virgin Media's #1 rival. TThere isn't a fair fight between the broadcasters BSkyB and Virgin Meddia, because BSkyB is not only a broadcaster, it is also a content provider.
IMHO, BSkyB has clearly overstepped their mark, and show be referred to the monopolies commission. Lets hope BSkyB are split into two separate companies, a satellite broadcasting company (who sell monthly contracts to tv viewers), and a tv producer (who sell tv channels to broadcasters and also sell advertising space).
Personal Video Recorders (Sky+)
If you've heard or seen Sky+, its good, but you can do a lot better. The standard Sky+ package allows you to record programs without having to mess around with video tapes or dvds. It also lets you pause live tv. There are now lots of products on the market that do the same thing for Freeview, and they are a damned site nicer too! For example, looking at the TV guide, Sky+ shows all of the channels - even the ones you can't watch - nasty bastards. This is a classic example of corporations making you feel bad.
If you are good with computers, you can turn a PC into your own Person Video Recorder with all the features of Sky+. Its excellent software, and its free. I use it all of the time, I hardly watch live TV any more, I get Myth TV to record all of the TV shows that I like, and watch them when I want to watch them.
UPDATE You can now buy a myth box - just plug it in and away you go.