Music choice is premium music channel subscription service. Two channels were offered, Music choice on channel 480 was included in the Sky family Pack, whilst Music Choice Extra was on channel 481 and offered 40 different channels centered on a specific genre or theme, and was a separate subscription service that could be added. Both channels featured a press red prompt which would open and lead to the main interactive service where the channel could be selected, and information on the currently playing song along with artist and album information.
PlayJam was the other main gaming service offered on Sky Digital, and could be accessed by pressing the interactive button, then selecting option 3. Playjam featured exclusive game of which they developed, and operated on a pay 2 play scheme like Sky Gamestar offered where the Digibox would use the telephone line to order and unlock the game or to submit a high score. PlayJam also offered competitions that users could join.
QVC offered a shopping service to supplement the main channel by advertising the products on offer and allowed for a way to order through the interactive service. QVC made extensive use of Sky interactive platform.
Sky Movies Active
Sky Movies Active offered movie trailers for the movies that Sky Movies was showcasing, and upcoming relates and behind the scenes commentary of the movies.
BBCi was offered on all BBC channels and could be access either by pressing the red button or by pressing text. The service is very similar to what’s offered on Freeview and Cable, as BBC at the time wanted to remain platform neutral across the different providers.
Sky Active was treated to a rebrand in 2004, with the service being focused on news and articles that you would normally find on the MSN or Yahoo homepage. There’s less focus on shopping or ecommerce and is more to enhance the Sky service by adding value.
An interpretation of the popular board game Scrabble
One of the many Tom & Jerry games on Sky Active, If I remember correctly this game required you to play as Jerry, and navigate the (large) house and collection cheese, whilst avoiding Tom and his friends. Keys could be collected to unlock areas of the house
A look at Sky’s interactive services offered in 2002, back when interactive TV was a thing
Also can’t mention Sky interactive without the Red button dude, who’s sole purpose was to promote Sky interactive services by pressing your red button, even though that only worked on a Sky channel.
Sky’s interactive game service
Sky Gamestar – Cartoon Network
A dedicated section of gamestar with games based on Cartoon Network shows
At one time you could order Pizza through your Sky Digibox
The Classifieds and info section, for local jobs and marketplace
View and book local listings, this only worked with Odeon cinemas, which was useless because there were no Odeon cinemas in my area.
Sky used to advertise their services and competitions whilst interactive screens were loading
A dating service that relied on the internal modem
Before internet banking there was Interactive TV banking, again I only saw HSBC and LLoyds TSB being supported, other banks were not on the service
Exclusive to the Sky Movie channels, shows local cinema listings and to purchase DVD’s, a nice feature of this service was you could see behind the scenes clips from moves.
Download ringtones, logos and custom voicemail, back when ringtones were polyphonic (think Nokia 3210, Ericsson T28s)
Sky Active: Shopping
Home shopping was considered to be a main feature of interactive TV, since customers could see the items themselves. Sky allowed a range of retailers to have presence on interactive, and even had their own storefront, SkyBuy
Some sort of eBay/Gumtree service, customers could buy and sell locally
Sky News Active
Activated by the red button, a very useful service where you can browse news headlines, view ‘Active Channels’ which were small channels dedicated to certain subjects or headline coverage. These could also be tuned in using the Other Channels feature, bypassing the service
Sky Movies Active
This is where you could see the behind the scenes stuff from movies, similar to bonus scenes on DVD’s
Another view of the main Sky Active home screen
Sadly Sky axed most of their interactive services, so here is the interactive menu that you are left with
Does it work? Well…
It seems the only OpenTV interactive TV services available is BBC Red Button and the S4C language changer, none of which use the modem/return path. I’m not sure if the services offered on Sky Q are the same, I believe it’s mostly Netflix/Prime type of applications that are video on demand services.