Controlling Sky or Sky+ Digibox via Serial RS232 or USB

Please visit dusky-control.com for the latest information and to order.

Latest news

3rd January 2007: We've launched our new website at http://www.dusky-control.com/ with 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!

Why?

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.

Background info

Some background information on the principles involved and other people's solutions.

Sky gnome

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.

Sky gamepad

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 otherwise!

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:

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, joseph@heenan.me.uk