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REN & Sky Box

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REN & Sky Box

Not sure if this is the correct place to ask this, but here goes...
My parents (also with PN) are considering having Sky Plus installed. They have been told that the 'box' should be connected to a telephone socket, mainly for installation as they wouldn't want to access their account through the remote, etc.
I know that a filter needs to be connected to this and, as the box is not going into the living room, perhaps a telephone will be added. I doubt any of the above would affect broadband quality but what about telephone quality.
I understood that, only for aparatus, that up to 4 devices each with a maximum REN of 1 can be connected to each subscriber line. As they already have 3 phones does the Sky box have and REN figure? Would they be overloading if the ended up with 4 phones plus the sky box? Maybe they could disconnect the Sky box once installation has been done?
Does anyone have and advice to offer, please?

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22 REPLIES
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Njal
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Posts: 290
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: REN & Sky Box

I think that the REN is concerned with the amount of power available for ringing the bells or buzzers in the phones and as Sky boxes don't have bells the box shouldn't be a problem.
We unplugged our Sky box from the telephone line about 20 seconds after the installation engineers left the house and haven't plugged it in since!
Regards,
Neil
pierre_pierre
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Re: REN & Sky Box

Not a Sky user but I dont think Sky plus will work without the phone, the only think that will work is the Sky freeview system
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Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: REN & Sky Box

Note that all telephone equipment is marked with a Ringer Equivalence Number, the total of which must not exceed REN = 4 otherwise your phones might not ring or might ring only intermittently. The Digibox REN = 0.5
If you have trouble with the REN you can buy a booster device that makes it go from 4 to 11. I've seen them in BT shops or in the CPC catalogue.
You can unplug it and everything work ok without it you just loose some interactive services but you still get all channels
Not applicable

Re: REN & Sky Box

Quote from: pierre_pierre
Not a Sky user but I dont think Sky plus will work without the phone, the only think that will work is the Sky freeview system

Not true - be interested to know what could possibly make you think that...

Anyway, REN's only applied for very old equipment which used the ring wire to cause the bell to ring. As we already know, modern equipment uses a single pair, and the ring wire is redundant. (Therefore REN is *largely* irrelevant.)
There is a slight relevance still as you wouldn't want to have 10 or 20 phones connected, but for the main part it can be disregarded these days. (Also note that your Sky box doesn't receive calls, it only makes them to check for updates and communicate billing info)
In terms of whether to leave the line connected to the box or not, you are contractually obliged to have the line connected for the duration of your contract. Even if you just had Sky Freeview, there is an obligation to have the line connected.
The reason for this is so Sky can find out whether you've watched something on pay-per-view so they can bill accordingly, clearly simply telling them you promise not to doesn't really satisfy them.
After around 3months of changing from Sky to Sky+ & Multiroom, I still hadn't connected a line to box upstairs other than temporarily during setup (extension strug down the stairs).
Sky wrote to me reminding me that I was obliged to have the line connected, and also informing me that the discounted rate for Sky+ and Multiroom (ie £10 for both, rather than £10 each) would be removed if I didn't connect the line within 7days.
So I had the option of leaving it disconnected and paying £10 a month more, or connecting it.
Obviously other people have different experiences, with many people not connecting it at all without so much as a peep from Sky. Perhaps they only contacted me because the circumstances allowing them to increase their monthly charge would serve as an effective 'stick' to ensure I complied.
If others aren't getting some form of discount, there is no stick (nor carrot I suppose) so they just have to live with it.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: REN & Sky Box

I had a similar experience to James_H.  Having had multiroom installed I got the vaguely threatening letter pointing out the telephone wasn't connected, and that I was contractually obliged to have it connected.  I think there was also mention of a charge if I didn't  reconnect it.  I thought it was connected actually, and phoned the Sky customer support.  The guy I spoke to was very pleasant, and suggested a couple of checks.  As it happened the phone plug to the Sky box was a little loose, and I unplugged it and plugged it back in, no problem.
I know that the phone line is needed for some interactive services, and being paranoid, I assumed that Sky also upload my viewing habits.  Wink
John
Not applicable

Re: REN & Sky Box

I reckon they probably do!
If you get Sky freeview you are also obliged to have a phone line connected too, as they still offer pay-per-view stuff on their freeview offering.
I'm waiting for a twin-tuner HD PVR for freesat, then Sky is going bye-bye!
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Re: REN & Sky Box

When I checked a few things with Sky CS I was definitely told that The telephone connection is only used for set up and for accessing one's account through the remote. When I said that there is not a telephone line presently in the room the box will be in I was told that, for an extra £25 installation fee, a pre-set box could be installed negating the need for a telephone line.
So, maybe there is no longer a contractual agreement for a line to be connected?
This is with the £36 a month pakage which includes 'free' Braodband and telephone.
As an extra question: If my parents leave PN for Sky can they retain a free dial-up account for emergency use?

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Moderator
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Re: REN & Sky Box

Quote from: James_H
I'm waiting for a twin-tuner HD PVR for freesat, then Sky is going bye-bye!

Like this one James?

Customer and Forum Moderator.

itsme
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Re: REN & Sky Box

Quote from: James_H

Anyway, REN's only applied for very old equipment which used the ring wire to cause the bell to ring. As we already know, modern equipment uses a single pair, and the ring wire is redundant. (Therefore REN is *largely* irrelevant.)

Why do you think that? I thought the REN was to do with the loading on the signal from the exchange.
pierre_pierre
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Re: REN & Sky Box

Quote
Not true - be interested to know what could possibly make you think that...

the Sky advert, make a one off payment for Sky freview and thats that,  or is it?,  Dont really care as I use a non Sky or BBC free sat receiver from Maplins
itsme
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Re: REN & Sky Box

From BT website
Quote
5 - How many pieces of equipment do you have plugged into the line?. If you have more than 4 telephones or other pieces of equipment plugged in, you may have exceeded your line´s REN. REN stands for Ringing Equivalence Number.
Most telephones and faxes have a REN of 1, although some older pieces of equipment can have a REN of 3. REN refers to the electricity supply sent to your telephone from the local exchange. On BT lines, enough current is supplied to power devices up to a total REN of 4.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: REN & Sky Box

When I used to be a Sky digital installer I was told that you could only have 4 devices on one line. In my experience it can depend on the line. In my own house I have added many sockets over the years now with a total of 7 all of which are filtered individually. There are 2 Sky Plus boxes, one dial up modem, one ADSL router, one cordless base unit, one corded handset and one spare socket. My brodband is as fast as when it is connected direct to the master socket. In fact it is so fast and reliable that I have my own Linux Web server running 24/7!
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Re: REN & Sky Box

Quote from: James_H
I reckon they probably do!

So do I, the box will phone Sky anyway periodically whether you use any interactive services or not - that's how they know whether the box is plugged into the phone line (i.e. if the box fails to make a call when the satellite tells it to do so).
I wonder what 'information' is sent to Sky during this process?
I reckon it could well be the channels you're been viewing, which will give them a picture as to what channels are popular.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: REN & Sky Box

They do. Sky work their way around all the postcodes and each box will phone home (callback) about once a month. If you have more than one box you will quickly get a letter telling you that your box is not connected and you must fix the problem or request an engineer.