Ahh, there I was, having got back and already set the Sky+ to record the first episode of the new series of Six Feet Under on E4 while I slept off jet lag. Truly, the Sky+ (PVR to the rest of y’all) is fabulous.
Until, that is, you try to use the Live Pause facility the next day, and you get a message saying “System Fault. Call 08705 800800”. Worse, when you go over to the “Planner” section of the Sky+ menu, where all the programs you recorded are shown, it says “You have no recorded programs. Press ‘Back Up’ to return to menu.”
Back Up is sure what you want to do there. Huh? All the things I’ve recorded and marked with a big K (for Keep) are gone? Can we rewind time a few minutes and I’ll not do whateveritwas that I did?
Unfortunately not. A call to the helpful (Scottish) folk at the Sky customer service centre implies that it’s a hard drive problem that crops up from time to time. A quick excursion into a hidden menu (I could tell you, but then I’d have to.. oh, perhaps I wouldn’t), press a couple of buttons, and the whole disk is reformatted, pristine, and apparently well-behaved again, though the Sky man suggested recording a few programs of “absolutely anything, even stuff you’d not normally watch” just to check it’s all working OK. (“No, darling, the Sky man suggested I record Teen Babes Hot Stuff Weekend, just making sure the hard drive is all right. And he said I should watch it to make sure the recording quality is OK too..”)
So what happened? My best guess is that the directory got corrupted somehow. Reformat and you’re back at square one. OK, so it’s a hard drive. At some time it is going to die.
But now here’s where it gets tricky. All right! It’s going to die one day! But how do you save the things you want to save? With a computer HD, you’d plug in a USB or Firewire cable, and you’re away. Settings and all. But with a PVR, the settings and stuff are all hidden away. Where and how can you back them up? I’d imagine this is even more important, and befuddling, with a TiVo, where you have loads of personal preference settings that get built up over time.
Though if anyone does know a good way to back up a Sky+, I’m all ears. The best we’ve managed is to play it out through the SCART output via an Elgato EyeTV Wonder onto my computer, but it’s not the same as having the original. Now if Elgato could do something that could decode Sky, then perhaps that Mac Mini Media Centre would start to make more sense… is there a remote control for the Mac Mini?