Today, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) finally launched its new Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). The good news is that the radio stations now have their own separate category in the EPG instead of being tagged on to the listings for music TV channels. The bad news is that the Sky Gnome, the device that enables subscribers to BSkyB to listen to the radio channels around the house, can no longer store up to 10 radio channels. The reason is that, in the new EPG, the radio channels have four digit numbers beginning with 0. But the Sky Gnome can only store three digit numbers. So, for example, if you enter 0101, instead of BBC Radio 1 it will store 101, which is BBC1 television. Contributors to the Digital Spy Forum who have contacted Sky Technical Support say that their support staff confirm having received a technical bulletin this morning to say that the Gnome would no longer be able to store any of the radio channels. Users can manually enter the four digit numbers and move up and down the list, but the display only shows three digits.
Users who have paid Ã‚£70 for the device are furious about this shortcoming, which we find completely unacceptable. Presumably the design was completed before the decision was made to upgrade the EPG to four digit numbers for radio stations, but it appears that Sky has been selling these Gnomes up to the last minute without telling people that the facility to store radio channels would no longer work. Some users are threatening to take the matter to court.