The Sky Player UI is very slick and integrates well in to Media Center, it works on the left to right gallery concept like the rest of Media Center. There are live TV channels, on demand content and a TV guide, unfortunately its not integrated with the standard Media Center guide like the MSN Player addin so Sky missed a trick with that, from the guide you can switch to a live channel and the UI looks pretty much like the regular Sky TV UI.
When watching live TV I hit my first issue, thanks to the brilliant efficiently of BT I can only get 2mb broadband (I don’t live in the middle of a field or anything its just the distance from the exchange). Even at the lowest quality setting there was major buffering, almost every 30 seconds it would pause for 30 seconds so if your low on bandwidth streaming is out of the question. The picture quality at its highest setting is pretty good but its not HD
The on demand content suffers the same bandwidth issues as live TV but it works and there is a variety of non-premium content available for free and premium content available for rent. There are a range packages available, for example with a Movie Pack subscription movies are free except for movies from Sky Box Office which seem to be priced at £3.50
It would be good if there was a way to download movies to get round the buffering issues or at least have it start downloading and then watch it once enough is downloaded. The buffering problem is a show stopper for me, its just not possible to watch anything with my bandwidth.
So if you have a Sky subscription and good bandwidth the addin is a good away to watch on demand content and I guess if you already have a Sky box you effectively have an extra tuner.
Now the prices:
If you have the Sky Sports Pack you get Sky Sports for free, if your a Multiroom or broadband unlimited customer you can watch selected channels for free but it depends on what channels you have in your package. If your not a Sky subscriber the prices go from £15 a month up to £41, you can find all the details on Sky’s website
Even if I had the bandwidth I am not sure I would pay for the service but if your already a subscriber its a nice extra to Media Center. I would be interested to hear what readers that have a Sky subscription make of the addin, let me know in the comments