Most Xboxy of all the features is Party mode, which only works with live TV channels.
The screen shows your avatar watching a huge TV screen, which fills most of the space. Send invites to your friends and if they accept, their avatars appear next to yours, and interact using an E-mote; a small dial appears on the screen and you can play your avatar like a puppet, making him shout at the screen or clap ferociously.
Back to the serious stuff. Scroll to live TV and you'll find a thumbnail playing the last live channel you visited (with sound) alongside a stack of other channels and a TV guide, though it only gives listings for the next 48 hours and can't handle reminders.
In terms of content, Sky Player is an exact copy of the online version, but unless you already have access to (or stump up the cash for) the Entertainment or Sky Sports packages, it's not much to get excited about.
The 16 free live channels comprise GOLD, Sky Real Lives, Sky Arts 1, MTV, Sky Sports News, Eurosport UK, Sky News, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, History, Eden, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Nick Jr.
Add an Entertainment Pack and you'll receive both the Sky Screen channels, which show the latest blockbusters on a loop – though that does seem decidedly old fashioned in the age of VoD.
Buy a Sky Sports Pack and you'll get Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports Xtra, ESPN and ESPN Classic.
The movie VoD section is excellent and surely the backbone of Sky Player's appeal. Stuffed with 421 movies (to be exact), you can browse via A-Z, genre, latest additions or most popular.
Choose one and you get a synopsis and information on the length, file size (for a future download service perhaps?) and, best of all, a list of related films, which makes navigation even easier.
Aside from movies, there are repeats from Sky Sports, and a mix or free and paid documentaries from Sky, Nat Geo and the History Channel (at £0.98 an episode).
Some material – and occasionally, the interface as a whole – can be slow to load. Once it's playing, you can call up a FF/RW/pause control and speed through content at 2x, 4x, 8x and 16x speeds.