First of all, let's start with Sky, who recently launched their Sky Player service. I'm seriously considering reporting this service to the Office of Fair Trading. During the weekend I had a reasonably consistent 700Kbps - 1.8Mbps connection to the web, great for most web video services - and more than ample for a full screen video experience. However, for most of the weekend the hosting page for Sky's 'service' was not available, so you couldn't even get the Player, let alone the stream.
Let me spell this out. Sky are charging large amounts of money for a service that does not work. I expect to see this in headlines shortly in newspapers like The Times and News of the World, and on Sky News... or, er.. maybe I won't.
Bad delivery for a free service is one thing; dreadful delivery for a paid for service is another thing.
So, the message is clear, if you're thinking of signing up to Sky Player, don't. It doesn't work.
However, I think many of their problems are with Silverlight.
When I switched to ITV the problems continued. You can watch the first part of an ITV programme quite well with few problems. But then you hit a commercial break - fair enough, this pays for the content - and then it, err... hangs. For one, two or three minutes, as it transitions back from ads to the content the screen goes absolutely blank - not buffering, just blank. I suspect most people would have long switched off. It's no surprise that ITV is in the mess it's in when it hangs its hat on this inferior technology.
Employing amateurs at huge salaries to make very public mistakes when there are many of us around who could advise sagely is a corporate crime today. The people running Sky and ITV's online 'services' need culling fast. Deciding to use Silverlight should cost them their jobs...