Dusky Control - FAQs


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Does it work on Windows? Does it work on linux?

It works on windows, linux and Mac OS X.

There's also no reason that it shouldn't work on other operating systems. Example code is supplied that uses standard BSD/POSIX APIs, which are supported by many operating systems.

Will it work with my sky box?

All our controllers work with all UK supplied Sky, Sky+, Sky+HD and Sky HD boxes. They also all support the FOXTEL iQ PVR (but not the iQ2) and the Foxtel Pace 420.

Can this control a italian/new zealand/etc sky box?

As far as I know (other than the Foxtel ones mentioned above), none of these boxes support the relevant protocol. If they do, the box would have a RF outlet on it labelled "9V DC 75mA" or similar.

The following Sky boxes from other countries definitely do not have the relevant port:

  • Sky Italia HD box (Pace TDS850NS) : will not work, no RF2 port.
  • Foxtel iQ2 / iQHD (Pace TDS851NF) : will not work, no RF ports.

How does the controller connect to the sky box?

The controller connects to the port labelled 'RF 2' or 'RF out 2'. This port usually also has a label reading '9V DC 75mA'.

The controller injects the remote control commands directly into this port, meaning that no IR (infra-red) emitter is required.

Will it work with my NTL / Telewest / Blueyonder set top box

Unfortunately none of our controllers will work with any of these boxes. The UK cable companies supply boxes that can only be controlled by infra-red.

Can you tell me how to use the RS232 port on the Sky box to change channel?

Unfortunately I can't. The RS232 is only used to provide information to the Sky Gnome, and to take input from the Sky Gamepads. There is no way to control the sky box using it's serial port, but fortunately you can use our range of serial and USB controllers to control your Sky box.

Could Sky change something to stop your controller working?

Our controllers use the same protocol that 'tv links'/'magic eyes' and the sky gnome use - there's no way Sky could stop our controller working without also breaking all the 'tvlinks' they've installed in hundreds of thousands of homes across the country.

Can you ship to ...?

We can ship to anywhere in the world. Once you have added controllers to your cart and selected your location, the postage method and cost will automatically be calculated.

How easy is it to install?

The installation is very simple. No drivers are required.

What if I have an amplifier between my Sky+ box and where I want to use the Sky controller?

The amplifier needs to support 'IR backchannel', 'IR passthrough' or 'magic eyes'. The amplifiers made by tvlink are highly recommended.

When using one of our serial controllers with an amplifier, note that most amplifiers do not provide enough current to the Dusky controller. This can be solved by using a power injector, such as the one made by tvlink.

How secure is the sky+ internet control?

The Sky controller internet control application can be password protected to prevent unauthorised use.

Does it work with MCE (Microsoft Media Center Edition)?

We aware of a number of customers using our controllers with MCE, however we don't feel it is a solution we can recommend. MCE does not have proper support for external tuners. On our PVR integration page we link to setup instructions that show 2 different ways that people have got our controllers to work with MCE, but neither of these solutions is particularly satisfactory. (One does not work with all TV cards and does not work on 64 bit operating systems, the other only changes channel for live TV, not for recordings.)

In addition, you still need to have the MCE IR emitters connected to your PC (otherwise MCE will not even attempt to change channels), but you can bundle them away in a cupboard.

Due to these limitations, we strongly recommend customers pick a solution other than MCE. Unfortunately we do not have the expertise to assist customers in debugging issues with MCE configuration/setup.

What PVR software will it work with?

mythtv, snapstream beyondtv, meedio, GB-PVR are all known to work. Almost all PVR software supports an 'external channel change command', which means the Sky controlers will work with virtually all PVRs using the supplied command line software. See the PVR integration page for more details.

Is it reliable?

When connected directly to a sky/sky+ the Sky controllers is 100% reliable. If it is connected via a longer cable run, the quality of the cabling will affect the reliably - always use good quality screened cable.

How much do they cost?

If view the ordering page, USB page or serial page then prices for the different units will be shown. Carriage will be automatically calculated by the shopping cart once you've selected your location.

How do I order one?

Following the ordering page or use the 'Add to cart' buttons on the USB or serial pages.

Can I use the web control software whilst other software is recording / using the TV card?

Generally only one application can access a TV card at a time - if you are recording, the skycontrol web software won't be able to get access to the tv card. You could get around this by adding an extra TV card.

Note that Microsoft MCE (Media Center Edition) keeps the TV card 'in use' the entire time it is running, so it you want to use the web control software at the same time as MCE is running you will need a second TV card.

How does it all work?

There are some technical details on the design engineer's website. In short, it uses the same protocol as the 'magic eyes' that are used to control the sky box from a TV in another room.

I'd like to control 20 or more sky boxes from a single PC, can you help me?

We certainly can. Please drop us an email and we'll be happy to help you.

What warranty is there on the controllers?

The controllers come with a 2 year warranty, but where it is feasible to do so we will do a free repair to a unit of any age that has not been physically damaged. Just drop us an email if you have any problems and we'll get you going again.

I'm not happy with my controller, can I return it?

We always want our customers to be happy. Just drop us an email and we'll get you sorted out.

Joseph Heenan, joseph@dusky-control.com