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Customers of Sky’s UK TV Service Struggling to Download Shows UPDATE

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 (12:02 pm) - Score 20,616

Customers of the Sky Q TV platform have, for the past few weeks, been reporting sporadic problems when attempting to download programs to their set-top-box (e.g. intermittent failed downloads with their On Demand content), which seems to occur regardless of whether users are on a Sky Broadband connection or a different ISP.

Experiences tend to vary, and other customers are unaffected. For example, some customers report that they can’t successfully download anything (it’ll return the “Download Failed Item Unavailable” message), while others complain that only certain programs suffer from the issue (non-Sky shows seem to download normally for some). In other cases, a program might appear to download, but when played the image and sound will break up.

NOTE: The problem, which also impacts some Sky+ HD users, appears to have started last month and remains ongoing.

A few people have found that changing the Domain Name Server (DNS) details of their internet connection to a third-party service (e.g. Google’s Public DNS) sometimes, but not always, resolves the issue. However, Sky’s support agents are now advising customers “not to change DNS settings” (possibly because this might break their other filtering and optimisation services).

Instead, the provider suggests, as a “temporary solution“, to try downloading content to your box via the Sky Go app instead.

A Sky Community Manager (Chloe-W22) said:

“We are aware we’re experiencing issues with our Sky Q and Sky+ HD boxes with customers reporting intermittent failed downloads on On Demand content.

It’s been reported that this is happening with both customers using a 3rd party broadband as well as our own Sky Broadband customers too.

We are aware that this will cause inconvenience for you all especially during this time of year and we want to reassure everyone that the relevant teams are working hard to resolve this issue ASAP.

In the meantime we are asking not to change DNS settings and as a temporary solution download your content to your box via the Sky Go app.

I have reached out to some users on this thread for some help whilst we test different scenarios, if you would like to get involved with this you can let me know.

I’m really sorry for the inconvenience this is causing.”

At present there’s no clear ETA for when this will be fixed and the current situation with Omicron, as well as Christmas holidays, probably won’t be helping to push things along. We have requested a comment from Sky.

UPDATE 1:20pm

We’ve had a comment from Sky.

A Sky spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are aware a very small number of Sky TV customers are experiencing intermittent issues when trying to download On Demand content. We are investigating the issue and we’re sorry for any inconvenience this is causing.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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44 Responses
  1. William Wilkinson says:

    I have problems with this. I have a strong WIFI signal all over my home via a tri band WIFI 6 mesh network. Yet, my Sky box struggles to connect to it, keeps disconnecting and sometimes won’t connect at all.

    1. Susan Sharman says:

      I’m having the same problem for weeks, SKY won’t refund as they say you can get live tv, it’s outrageous and I’m disabled so when I have an issue it’s difficult for me to resolve!

    2. Steve Borman says:

      I had the same issue after spending over £300 on a new WiFi 6 router. Solved the issue though. In my case it would seem that naming the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks the same was the issue. Now my 5Ghz networks have -5G as a suffix all is well as far as connectivity goes.

      Still constantly plagued by the “Failed, Remote Network Problem” though if you can be bothered, downloading to the box via Sky Go seems to work.

  2. Sam P says:

    Sky’s servers have always been trash.

    Sky Go on a popular live show, such as F1 or Boxing is a total mess, 144p if you’re lucky.

    1. Granger says:

      In my experience Sky downgrade their picture so much. Their HD is the same as netflix’s SD and Sky’s UltraHD is like Netflix’s HD picture. Sky don’t have anything that matches the Netflix or Amazon 4K picture quality expect maybe some of the nature documentaries.

  3. Granger says:

    Download failures on sky Q have been going on for months if not years. You would think it would have some form of auto retry mechanism.

    Additionally the download speeds suck and it happens far too often that programmes don’t download fast enough for you to start watching before it has to pause. I have BT fttp 900mbps and the sky Q box is hardwired in. Watching netflix, amazon,disney though the box are all fine though streaming at 4K.

    Sky need to invest is additional bandwidth or remove some of the throttling on the downloads.

  4. Rob says:

    Sky networking on their devices is terrible. Only get reliable connection disabling Wi-Fi entirely and hardwiring the lot with fixed IPs. The mesh system is pants unless you have a smaller home.

  5. Tny says:

    There’s a few threads on the Sky Community forum with DNS addresses, it looks like the last update put the DNS on the same address as the routers, ( for BT customers for example).

    One thread does have a list of DNS to try depending on your provider, and it does work, when I called Sky they just blamed my ISP.

    1. Pezza says:

      Haha that’s a bit like Sky Q using channel 35 be default for its network, the same channel most other routers and Mesh systems will use by default. Good ol Sky… failing downloads has been a feature of Sky Q for me for ages and ages.

    2. Pezza says:

      I meant channel 36.

  6. Alex Innard says:

    I have SoGEA/VDSL from Zest4 and have had problems with my Sky Q on-demand downloads for a fortnight. Often, changing the DNS on the Sky boxes temporarily fixes the problem for an episode or two, then it just fails again, eventually.

  7. deejay says:

    Re “A Sky spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk: We are aware a very small number of Sky TV customers are experiencing intermittent issues when trying to download On Demand content.”
    For many customers it’s a permanent issue – unable to download on demand, catch up and sky cinema. Over 1,200 posts about this on a sky customer forum. A contributor has given advice on a workaround by changing the DNS settings.
    Wish that sky would offer a streaming service (not just for sky glass) as they do on sky q in other countries.

    1. Gerarda says:

      “We are aware of a very small number of customers experiencing this” really means “we have not been bothered to find out the extent of the problem.”

      Judging from this forum its quite widespread though maybe not for some people like me a common enough issue to make it worth tackling Sky’s “support” system to complain about it

  8. Doug says:

    I’m not sure it’s just SkyQ.

    I’ve noticed problems for the past two weeks where downloads fail on my SkyHD box. It takes 5-6 attempts for a download to start successfully, the first few attempts just move to “failed” after a few seconds without even starting the transfer.

    It’s hard-wired Ethernet on a BT FTTP connection, and my home connectivity is perfect.

    1. Beverley Harris says:

      I have had this problem for 4 months despite Wi-Fi strongly connected to other items Sky was informed about and I pay £96 a month getting fed up so it has been over 4 months this issue they are having not last month as they are saying

  9. RaptorX says:

    These download problems have been around for years, I know first hand, so why is this news now as if it’s something new? And why don’t Sky fix something so basic and so central to the service?

  10. deejay says:

    Interesting- do you have sky q with all default settings?

  11. Michael Freeman says:

    Had this problem since sky q came out tried 3 different boxes always the same problem failure remote network problem the last engineer left saying it’s a problem with sky boxes they are to sensertive so tend to disconnect when adverts intercept the streeming of the programme so that’s that then not heard from them since and the problem is only getting worse

  12. Stephen Benn says:

    Been months and months for us rather than a few weeks, downloads always fail in first 3 attempts, rarely auto downloads next episode, always a faff. Sky just said they’re looking into it, no solutions whatsoever.

  13. Alan Pryor says:

    The solution I was steered towards is to disable dynamic advertising preferences in the My Sky app. The problem occurs with one of the servers that the tailored advertising is supplied from. Since I disabled this my downloads have been fine.

    1. deejay says:

      Interesting – I have disabled Tailored advertising and services within the Communications preferences since sky q was installed many months ago but I have been unable to download with default DNS settings for past few weeks.

      The workaround of manually setting DNS is working for me right now

  14. Donald duck says:

    Just had my Sky Q box and mini box replaced by Sky. The main box for the third time. Noted that this new box the download seems slower than previous times. The fact I am on my 3rd Sky Q box doesn’t look good for the box manufacturer quality and reliability. Thankfully Sky cover the replacement of these boxes but the older Sky HD boxes seemed more reliable. While I reluctantly agreed to Sky Q installation 18 months ago, and it has its good points, I would much prefer the older box, especially as I had to wait 10 days for an engineer visit. On the next occasion think it will be bye bye Sky.

  15. MartinConf says:

    This is all very interesting, I often download on a SkyHD box and never had the issue. A lot here have spoken of their internet connection via Wifi where mine is an ethernet cable into router and I am not on a Sky broadband connection.

  16. Robin says:

    Same here “failed” been happening for months but infuriating with the family over and can’t watch anything.
    Use sky go…? Mine says ‘Your sky Q box is not enabled to connect to skyGo’
    50 odd quid a month.. Ffs

  17. Paul says:

    The people who talk about internet connections dont understand what the problem is

    the problem is skys servers you could have the best internet in the world but if they are shunting all the capactity towards the new online only service SKY Glass of course people like us will get problems

    as for talking about wifi it has nothing to do with downloads over your network just how it moves around fibre is what takes it to your house

    wifi only moves it around the building

    its a complete traversty and they are pretty much taking money for something you cant access

    1. Me says:

      True, they will be making cutbacks as per usual. They can be pretty tight with their money at times, after all they need to pay for those football licenses.

  18. Martin says:

    Tried the download with the app advice and that has the same problem. Only had Q for 2 weeks. Poor….

  19. Andy Grey Rider says:

    I was on Sky full package with BT Sports for many years but the 2010 FIFA World Cup and MotoGP coverage on Eurosport took the urine. It was the final straw, I ended the contract with a credit note, which I let lapse.
    I have been with Zen Internet, Amazon Prime and Usenet ever since.
    I cannot believe viewers still use Sky and BT. They’re the biggest con with illiterate presenters, tech staff and reviewers.
    It’s their advertising strategy that gets most hooked.
    I wouldn’t have their services for free.
    I deceived their boxes to think they had two satellite inputs, back in the day.
    I don’t use any of those tv sticks and my WiFi is faster than LAN on CAT6e, with thick walls but no dead zones.
    How many more lies will you accept before you switch to live television around the world?

  20. Tim Jones says:

    I can confirm I have the same issue here.

    – All Sky Q boxes connected via Ethernet, not Wifi
    – Issue happens on all boxes (no difference if using the master or mini boxes)
    – Broadband is high-grade fibre to the premises
    – Local network professionally installed and maintained
    – Sky Q operated perfectly until very recently (last couple of weeks December 2021)

    In other words this is 110% a Sky problem, not local network, not ISP.

  21. Roger C says:

    Same problem for me. This is another in a long list of failings with Sky Q that have been reported. Come to the conclusion that their equipment is generally of very poor quality and very unreliable. Anything downloading via the Sky Q platform seems to cause problems but all ok when going direct e.g Prime or Netflix

  22. sicktodeathofskyq says:

    Ive had these issues on and off with sky q for 3 years now, they always fob me of with excuses.
    Netflix streaming via tv there is never an issue even with uhd!

  23. Anon says:

    I’m running sky FTTP via a ubiquiti edgemax router (no sky router in sight) with access points around the house for WiFi, DNS’ have been changed and I’ve never had an issue with my sky q nor the multi room?

  24. David John Harrison says:

    Unable to download most things – should get compensation over the Christmas period!

    1. deejay says:

      Have you tried the workaround of changing DNS settings?

  25. Declan says:

    This has been ongoing for years, I personally experience this several times a week.

    There are multiple threads on the Sky forum and they couldn’t care less about getting it sorted. They blame ISP routing and CG-NAT on mobile providers however I am with BT on the Fibre 900 package and still have the issues.

    I have tried the DNS changes and redirecting it to another IP and this makes no difference.

    The issue comes about when the box attempts to contact Sky advertising server (adm.sky.com) to get up to date adverts to inject into a download on demand program, if the server doesn’t respond as expected the download will fail with the message “Remote network problem”.

    This never occurred on my SkyHD box and only started when moving to Sky Q. It is a complete joke this is still going on with zero fixes from Sky when the problem is clearly with their server that serves advertisements.

    Not sure why this has suddenly become news as certainly not a new issue.

  26. Paul Green says:

    No problems here suing 100 Mb leased line, & edgerouter, main box and mini box hard wired via cat6.

    However, i think part of the problem are the boxes.

    Sky bought Amstrad a few years ago (2007) and now keep design and manufacturing in house so will use the cheapest, crappiest components they can get their hands on in their products.

  27. Mike says:

    Everything is stuck in que, not downloading, absolute joke for what they charge per month.

  28. John Cairns says:

    I’m having this issue (no On Demand, Box sets, Catch up for Sky Channels) on my Sky+HD box with BT fttp Broadband. I’ve also yet to succeed in using Sky Go to download Sky on demand to my box, although I can use it to watch Catch up om my iPad. Spent about 40 mins on the phone with Sky Help – very friendly and polite, but gave up and suggested an engineer’s visit to fit a refurbished box at £65 initially (and then decreased to £50) or an upgrade to Sky Q. I declined both having the above statements from Sky.

    1. John Cairns says:

      Update: Sky’s temporary ‘solution’ of requesting a Catch up download to my Sky+ HD box or other device via Sky Go also results in a Failed recording for Sky channels. However pressing Play on Sky Go does work although it sometimes takes a couple of attempts. I’m seriously looking at alternatives to Sky after 22 years as a subscriber.

  29. Annette Tofts says:

    Downloading failed again
    When will this be fixed?

  30. Sue Shave says:

    Had skyQ box 3 weeks….sick of it already….catch up won’t download or in a queue keep clearing it but no good …..angry doesn’t cover it.

  31. Francesca Sayer says:

    We have had the same problem with download failed item not available when it clearly is as it says “Available Now”. We spoke to sky last week and they said to update software which we did and problem stopped for about 2 days and then went back. Considering what we pay for sky each month this is not acceptable to be an ongoing problem. I wonder how much compensation sky are going to be willing to pay to customers for not receiving a service they have paid for?

  32. J. G says:

    Having same problem only started 3 / 4 weeks ago it’s so annoying had engineer out today lovely guy said it’s not your internet or your box its sky and you can change settings that may work for a little while then go back plus if it gets fixed it will then prob mess it all up on other settings x I hooe e all get compensation been with sky over 30 years and getting fed up now you get nothing for being loyal x I know people who been with sky for few months to year go to cancel and get given half price for 6 months plus other things all I get is half price sports offered which is of no interest to me x so come on sky get this sorted we have all been patient and all had enough now and what a time to go wrong over christmas I had 3 very unhappy Grandsons and rest of family

  33. DCV says:

    After 10 failed attempts to download a programme last night (via the box and Sky Go), I rang Sky. I was told that the problem has been fixed. Sky re-paired my Sky Q card. I was asked to attempt a further download. Two failed attempts later, the Sky Q rep has decided to escalate the problem. Perhaps ISPReview could press Sky for an update.

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