Controlling Sky or Sky+ Digibox via Serial RS232 or USB
Please visit dusky-control.com for the latest
information and to order.
3rd January 2007: We've launched our new website at
a greatly expanded range of information and new ordering pages.
25th October 2006: We are now able to supply
controllers that work with the Australian FOXTEL iQ PVRs.
12th September 2006: Dean Barrett has developed a driver
to allow the serial skycontrollers to work with Charmed Quark.
30th August 2006: Steve Komosa has reported that
the USB skycontrollers work fine with SageTV
11th June 2006: We're now able to confirm that our
serial and USB controllers work fine with the new Sky HD boxes!
I wanted to control a Sky box via a reliable (non-infrared!) link for my
home PVR (personal video recorder - eg. mythtv), and via a USB port, rather
the rather more scarce parallel port and RS232/serial ports.
I also want to be able to control my Sky+ box (downstairs) via a web
server on my computer (a PC upstairs) so I can remotely setup recordings.
There's various other solutions you can find (see the 'background')
section, but not one of them meet my criteria of reliable, USB based and
able to control a Sky box in a remote location over the RF cable.
I've also now developed serial (RS232) units for controlling any
number of sky boxes (via their RF2 ports) - this is particularily useful for
people trying to
integrate a sky or sky+ satellite receiver into a home automation system
like Crestron, AMX, Cue ipCue or
control4 - please see our new website for details.
Some background information on the
principles involved and other people's solutions.
People had been wondering if the sky gnome would provide an easier way to
control a sky digibox via the rs-232 port. It hasn't, but I've
written up the details of how it does work and
the protocols used.
There's also a protocol that the sky gamepad
uses to send key presses into the RS-232 port. As far as I know, there's
no use for this protocol unless you want to play the interactive games, but
please let me know if you find out
My solution - the 'SkyControl'
I've designed a small box that does exactly what I wanted. At one end
it has a USB connector (or on some models an RS232 port), at the other end
is has one (or two) RF connectors for connecting to one or two Sky/Sky+
digital boxes. It can be driven from linux or Windows (and hence most likely
any other operating system with USB support).
Pictures of the units
What can I do with it?
Your imagination is the limit! They can be controlled from linux or
windows (and almost certianly any other operation system with usb support),
and should control any sky digital box with an RF2 port.
The software I provide allows:
- command line utility for linux and windows to control sky/sky+ box
- linux and windows cgi scripts to enable control of sky+ via internet (you'll need a TV
card as well)
- instructions on using the controller with mythtv on linux
- windows gui application to control sky+ box
- example prototype visual basic application for controlling sky box from
Most PVR software will work - it just has to be able to call out to a
command line program to change the channel.
PVR software that is known to work:
(If you know of any other software this works with, please drop me an email, I'd love to include
it on this page.)
How do I get one?
Please go to our new website at http://www.dusky-control.com/order.shtml to see more details
and to order a unit.
Last update: 4th Feb 2007
Joseph Heenan, email@example.com