FAQs: Darwin and what it means for Copy+

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FAQs: Darwin and what it means for Copy+

Postby pcbbc » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:12 pm

Darwin? What's that?
It's the Sky code name for the new software platform that is being rolled out to Sky+ HD boxes.
It is being deployed to allow Sky to make further advances on the Sky+ HD platform, including delivering features such as Anytime+ their new VOD (Video On Demand) service.

How do I tell if I have Darwin on my HD box?
Look for any of the following:
  • "SYSF" version number on the "System Details" screen.
  • Anytime+ (Video On Demand) functionality in addition to the regular Anytime downloads.
  • "Network" option under "Setup" for configuring your broadband router (for using Anytime+).
  • When "Darwin" was first downloaded to your box you will have seen the "Open Source Software" licensing agreement directing you at the Sky Website.

Does this effect the tradition Sky+ (SD) boxes at all?
Sky will continue to support the SD boxes for many years to come, however they are no longer being sold to new customers.
New customers all receive a Sky+HD box, even if they do not currently wish to subscribe to HD. This will make it easy for customers to upgrade to HD in the future.
The legacy SD boxes will not be receiving the "new" EPG or Darwin software.

How does this effect me if I am copying....

....on a SD box, or between two different SD boxes?
The current version of Copy+ ( at time of writing) continues to work.

...from a SD box to HD?
This will only work if the destination box does NOT have Darwin.
Due to the fact that the new Darwin planner database has now diverged significantly from the SD version, the migration from SD to Darwin HD is no longer possible. This is due to the Sky software no longer being able to convert the planner databases, and so unfortunately can not be worked around in Copy+.
If your destination HD boxes does NOT currently have Darwin, then you are in luck! The current version of Copy+ can still transfer from SD boxes to NON-Darwin upgraded HD boxes as long as your destination disk is 1TB or less. When Darwin is eventually deployed to the HD box all your recordings will be safe.

One potential workaround for SD to HD migration, if your destination box already has Darwin, would be to go via a HD box without Darwin to perform the intermediate planner upgrade step, as described in this post here. Thanks to imprator for the tip.

..on a HD box, or between two different HD boxes?
The source box/disk must NOT have Darwin. Unfortunately Copy+ is currently unable to copy Darwin upgrade disks due to the different planner and recording format used.
If the destination disk is over 1TB then the destination box must have received Darwin, otherwise you will observe recording corruptions and overwrites on the copied disk when you start using it.
The only exception is if using the 1.5TB disk as supplied in the Amstrad DRX895. This is the only disk larger than 1TB that Sky have explicitly made both forward and backward compatible with the Sky recording format used both pre and post Darwin.
For a disk of 1TB or less, it does not matter if the destination box does, or does not have Darwin. If it has Darwin your Copy+ed disk will automatically be upgraded to the new Darwin planner and disk format when the box first boots with the new disk. After this it will no longer be possible to use Copy+ to read the disk as a Source.
But please note that only the Amstrad Sky+HD boxes support disks over 1TB.

What if my source disk comes from a HD box with Darwin on it?
Then you are out of luck until there is a Darwin compatible version of Copy+ available.

How long before a Darwin compatible version of Copy+ is available?
Sorry, no time scales are available for this.
When it is ready an announcement will be made on the Copy+ website.

What if I want to install a larger disk in my Darwin upgraded HD?
There is currently not an official Copy+ supported option for this - Sorry.
Copy+ requires a donor disk to copy from in order to correctly prepare a destination disk, it can not simply "format" one from scratch.
If you have, or can obtain, an image (Copy+ XTV backup image file) of a HD disk made prior to receiving Darwin then you could use this to prepare the new drive. The disk you prepare will then automatically be upgraded to Darwin when first booted in the HD box.
Please note that the image must be from a HD box (SD images are worthless because of the fundamental incompatibility between copying from SD to Darwin HD boxes described above).
Please do not ask me where you can obtain such an image. From time to time other Copy+ users are kind enough to post links to their old images on the forums, which is very kind of them. However we do not officially support or endorse this method of preparing your disk (so use at your own risk).
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