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SKY +

Discussion in 'Home Cinema, Hi-Fi and Gadgets' started by macca666, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. macca666
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    macca666 Member

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    Looking for some help guys,

    Have been thinking about upgrading to SKY + for a while now with the only thing putting me off is the fact it doesn't have a DVD drive.

    Anyway went and bought myself a Panasonic DVD recorder however like the idea of the ease of SKY +.

    Only thing is the sister in law has one and has been having problems with it where when she has taped something it then comes up failed (fault code 8) and you are unable to watch it. She checked the Net and apparently there have been lots of probs with SKY +.

    When she phoned Sky they have told her it is a software problem they have been having with the boxes and will have it fixed.

    Was just wondering is it really worth it and is one box better than the other with SKY + ?

    Help would be greatly appreciated thanks. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
    #1
  2. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah I was also waiting for an integrated Sky+ box, but have had to bite the bullet and buy a DVD writer as I was running out of disk space and backing up to video just seemed a step backwards.
    Sky+ is fantastic and definately the way forward.
    It really does change the way you watch TV, I can't remember the last time I sat through any adverts. Not only can you just flip through the TV guide and select recordings with a single button press, but the live pause and rewind is essential especially if you have kids, and the series link is brilliant. Also if you use per per view movies you can record them and if you don't watch them you don't get charged.
    I've had mine now for 12 months and yes you do get the odd failure, I've had probably about 3 or 4 in 12 months and that is with the box recording stuff everyday, so an acceptable level IMO, less than using a video. But you do have to understand how the box works in order to keep any failures to a minimum.
    One thing you need to ensure is that the box is set to record with a 3min buffer either side of any recording as many transmissions do not go out exactly at the proposed time.
    Sky+ works by using the Sky TV Guide to get the timing and channel to be recorded, this is then coupled with the trigger signal sent out with the broadcast at the beginning and end of the program which relates to the program description & synopsys so if it misses the trigger signal the recording will fail as it won't know how to title the recording.
    This will also happen if you try and record the middle bit of a program then end the recording when the credits roll, thus missing the trigger signal at both the beginning & end of the program. The recording will work if you leave it alone until the next program starts, but will say it is only part recorded as it missed the beginning trigger signal.
    Using the 3 min buffer solution can cause other problems when trying to record back to back programs while also recording say a movie at the same time, as the overun means the Sky box runs out of available feeds as it onlyu has two, but would be a very rare set of circumstances and as long as you know you can usually avoid it.
    If Sky released Sky+ with integrated DVD it would just wipe the floor with all other so called DVD solutions, which, lets face it, are just high quality VCR's still using timers, relying on the satellite/cable box being on the right channel and then requiring the user to input the program description in order to be able to find the recording.
    Given the huge number of Sky+ boxes now being used, something like a million, and given the box is effectively just a PC running a windows application then there are gonna be many teething problems especially when you consider it is recording onto the hard drive 24/7 unless you switch it off.
    Definately go for it you won't regret it.
    #2
  3. AL_B
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    AL_B Active Member

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    That's great info Andy.

    We are currently on our 3rd Sky+ box. This one hasn't been too bad, been ok for about 12 months. But has now developed a problem, live pause and rewind fails regularly. We haven#t bothered contacting Sky, as until I have archived all my "top gears" to DVD, it's not worth it. The engineers just swap the box, taking all your recordings with it. There should be a fast copy (data transfer) from hard-disk to hard-disk.

    Another thing Sky could do, would be to put a USB port on the SKY+ box, allowing you to archive stuff to USB-Hard-Disk and then back again, to your new Sky+ box or even a mates, to swap recordings.

    Hell, why not put a multi-type media card reader on there as well. Give us options Sky, for f sake!

    AL
    #3
  4. RichA3Turbo
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    RichA3Turbo ...Watching you! Staff Member Moderator

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    This is where a windows media center comes in handy /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif Endless possibilities!
    #4
  5. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, but unless it uses the Sky menu you're stuck with manually naming everything. Sky have created such a good front end interface giving you full program info on all recordings they just need to tweak it to allow the addition of external sources such as additional hard drives/media cards/DVD etc and they'd make a killing, especially if you could transfer at data speed rather than real time.
    #5
  6. RichA3Turbo
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    RichA3Turbo ...Watching you! Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Yes, but unless it uses the Sky menu you're stuck with manually naming everything. Sky have created such a good front end interface giving you full program info on all recordings they just need to tweak it to allow the addition of external sources such as additional hard drives/media cards/DVD etc and they'd make a killing, especially if you could transfer at data speed rather than real time.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Ahah but your not... It uses its own sky guide live on the internet which, like skyplus, you can just select what you want to record, and it will record it... It even does series recording like skyplus.. it does everything that sky plus does, and SO SO much more!

    Rich
    #6
  7. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Do you still need a skybox?
    #7
  8. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    From what I understand the media centers have to be connected to your existing decoder/set top box, therefore to give you the 2 channel feed (to enable recording/watching 2 different channels) you either still need sky+ or a second sky box. You then have that clunkiest of "solutions" in an iR sender/receiver which sits between the two devices to allow the media center to change channels on the sky box.
    And all for only £900? + a new TV/HiFi cabinet to house it all

    It is a good idea, but total overkill for the average user, "sorry kids gonna have to switch off the simpsons as I have some email to do"
    Sky+ is a fifth of the price, one neat unit, but just needs that extra source for storage/off loading and it would be perfect.
    Plus I really don't want the Windows interface anywhere near my TV, it maybe the OS on Sky+ but at least its buried and as yet I haven't had any blue screens or critical errors.
    #8
  9. AL_B
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    AL_B Active Member

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    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh_roll.gif

    You are so pro-SKY Andy, it's scary! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif

    AL
    #9
  10. RichA3Turbo
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    RichA3Turbo ...Watching you! Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah the advantage of sky+ is the being able to watch one and record the other .etc

    Media center is actually really quite stable... I was surprised at how good it actually is. Also, the transceiver that goes on the sky box is so tiny you can barely see it.

    I too was sceptical at first, but was thoroghly impressed when i saw it. and £900 if you buy a system from the likes of HP, but you can get much cheaper systems and ones that are in AV style cases so could be put in place of your VCR for example.

    Rich
    #10
  11. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Still 2 boxes then and no 2nd channel, so like Sky+ but more expensive & not quite as good.
    #11
  12. RichA3Turbo
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    RichA3Turbo ...Watching you! Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, kind of better as you can use it as MP3 player, downloaded video player (for those of us who cant wait for US tv progs to be aired in the UK), picture viewer, radio....Any media in fact, that you want to chuck at it. the OSD even looks much nicer and is much quicker than sky. The ONLY downside is that it is still single channel. The other upside is that you can just whack in another HDD if you fill up the existing one.

    RIch
    #12
  13. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I take your point, but I think we're not really comparing like for like. There will always be the more technically minded people who will want much more functionality and have the need to edit digital video, and download movies etc but Sky+ is aimed at the average user who is barely capable of programming a VCR. And for this purpose it is ideal.
    If Sky+ didn't have a 2 channel capability I wouldn't have bought one. The fact you just don't have to even think that changing channels might ballsup a recording your other half is in the middle of, is what makes it a no brainer. And something that doesn't offer this capability is really only half a solution, just like a DVD writer as a VCR replacement.
    If I want to show a slide show I just plug my laptop into the TV, likewise for mp3's via the stereo. I really don't need all the other stuff, as I can do it just as well on other devices without interferring with the TV.
    I've never once thought "this Sky+ is OK but it's a shame I can't use it as a jukebox" it's only downside is lack of a DVD writer, which I'm sure will be on its way.
    #13
  14. jdp1962
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    jdp1962 Grumpy Old Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Like Andymac, I've had Sky Plus for about a year or so, and I share his opinion of it. It does have the odd system wobbly, but if you hack into the engineer's menu (0,1, Select, IIRC), you can re-boot without losing programmes on the hard disk and all is well again.
    #14
  15. RichA3Turbo
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    RichA3Turbo ...Watching you! Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I take your point, but I think we're not really comparing like for like. There will always be the more technically minded people who will want much more functionality and have the need to edit digital video, and download movies etc but Sky+ is aimed at the average user who is barely capable of programming a VCR. And for this purpose it is ideal.
    If Sky+ didn't have a 2 channel capability I wouldn't have bought one. The fact you just don't have to even think that changing channels might ballsup a recording your other half is in the middle of, is what makes it a no brainer. And something that doesn't offer this capability is really only half a solution, just like a DVD writer as a VCR replacement.
    If I want to show a slide show I just plug my laptop into the TV, likewise for mp3's via the stereo. I really don't need all the other stuff, as I can do it just as well on other devices without interferring with the TV.
    I've never once thought "this Sky+ is OK but it's a shame I can't use it as a jukebox" it's only downside is lack of a DVD writer, which I'm sure will be on its way.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Oh no...Its not really an alternative.... Well it can be for most things other than 2 LNB's .etc, and yeah, for most people it wouldnt be well suited... Sky+ being a simple, straight out the box solution that 99% of people will 'get'. And i guess it depends what the setup is for the rest of your hme entertainment as to if its worth it or not... For me it is - Our surround system is possibly better than the main stereo system... And that takes some doing... So for me, its a useful thing to have, and again, i download programs on a weekly basis to watch, and having to make a DVD every week, or even watch it on the PC is just hastle!

    Rich
    #15
  16. MrBroon
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    MrBroon Member

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    Does anyone know when the new Sky+ HD boxes are coming out, I heard January when I spoke to a rep at the Ideal Home show last year but I've heard nothing from them yet and saw no advertising so I'm presuming it's been delayed, does anyone else know more?
    #16
  17. jdp1962
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    jdp1962 Grumpy Old Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Does anyone know when the new Sky+ HD boxes are coming out, I heard January when I spoke to a rep at the Ideal Home show last year but I've heard nothing from them yet and saw no advertising so I'm presuming it's been delayed, does anyone else know more?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I read in What Hi-Fi Sound & Vision that it'll be round about Jan or Feb. I won't be rushing to upgrade. I'd rather wait to see how the HD technology develops for a couple of years & then I'll buy an HD TV & upgrade the Sky+ box to HD at the same time.
    #17
  18. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes Jeff I'm thinking the same thing, you're gonna pay well over the odds when the technology is just launched then have to suffer all the teething problems and the kit will soon be superceded.
    Anyone know if Sky will charge more for HD subscription, or is it just the price of the decoder?
    Would seem like a perfect opportunity for them to fleece us even more.
    Also what's the situation with program quality? Presumably US sitcom type programs from their wonderful NTSC system are not really gonna look better on HD, so it will only be movies and recent stuff that'll benefit.
    Some of the old 80's stuff on UK Gold is so fuzzy I can't watch it, like a porno without the porn!
    #18
  19. fallmonk
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    fallmonk Turbo Sport

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    Only recently upgraded to my SKY+ and basicly i love it , yes it has "cut " a odd film/tv prog (twice) but 99.5% of the time its spot on! and so easy to use as andy says the link opption is fantastic, the video hasnt been switched on since! wot did confuse me is i was getting some channels with my "freeview" box(had to ditch as in a dip and bad terrestrial signal) that i dont get with Sky, like the history channel????? weird
    #19
  20. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The History channel (or Hitler channel as it's more commonly referred to) is a freebie it should be there ch561 IIRC
    #20
  21. god_thats_quick
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    god_thats_quick Numptie of the highest order

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Yes Jeff I'm thinking the same thing, you're gonna pay well over the odds when the technology is just launched then have to suffer all the teething problems and the kit will soon be superceded.
    Anyone know if Sky will charge more for HD subscription, or is it just the price of the decoder?
    Would seem like a perfect opportunity for them to fleece us even more.
    Also what's the situation with program quality? Presumably US sitcom type programs from their wonderful NTSC system are not really gonna look better on HD, so it will only be movies and recent stuff that'll benefit.
    Some of the old 80's stuff on UK Gold is so fuzzy I can't watch it, like a porno without the porn!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Hi Andy,

    In the US they already have High Def and have had for a while, so most stuff should now be recorded in HD even if not transmitted in HD, I'm not 100% but I think there new standard for HD will be the same as ours, even if it's not the displays will sort it out and it'll be a LOT better than normal TV on large screens

    And yes I would think Sky will charge more for the subscription and hardware to start with.

    Ben.
    #21
  22. macca666
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    macca666 Member

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    Cheers guys.

    I know the thread moved on from my initial question but overall seems to be good feedback about SKY +.

    Decided to bite the bullet anyway today and order it.

    Looked on their site and found that for existing sky users it costs £89 only if you take multiroom at £10 a month onto your subscription.

    Or I can get it without multi room for £259 installed WTF....

    Phoned them anyway to try and get the price down and, after an hour on the phone, managed to get it fully installed, new box and no multiroom for £65 all in. No other costs.

    Getting it fitted in a fortnight which was my choice rather than theirs due to my work commitments.

    Hopefully it'll be trouble free.......
    #22
  23. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    How the hell did you manage that?
    I've just ended my multi-room subscription after havig it a whole year and barely using it.
    I guess they think you won't bother to cancel it
    #23
  24. AL_B
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    AL_B Active Member

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    I read in something like the october or november SKY magazine, that the menu system is being upgraded soon.

    Anyone know when the upgrade is going to happen? I didn't read all the article, and the missus chucked the mag away.

    AL
    #24
  25. macca666
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    macca666 Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    How the hell did you manage that?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Actually was quite easy. The hour long phone call is just norm for SKY. By the time they finally transferred me to the right person I was only about 15 minutes with them to get the £65 deal and that was including confirming my details/payment etc.

    My first operator was the standard call centre in Bangladesh who then transferred me to someone with an English accent who gave me details about SKY + and gave me the prices.

    I then asked why new customers get it for £89 and 4 months half price subscription to which I was told this was only open to brand new customers. Ok then says I why should I stay with SKY and she really couldn't give me an answer so I asked to transfer to cancellations. (Done this previously with my mobile phone deal before they would give me the one I wanted)

    This time I spoke with Jacqueline who was Scottish and very nice. I told her I wanted SKY + but didn't want multi room as I've no kids and therefore its pointless. Also told her I've also been with SKY for years yet they treat new customers better than their existing customers.

    She tells me she will speak to her boss (bit like Arnold Clarke ! ! ! !) and comes back within a minute to tell me she can give me it for £149. Still too dear I tell her so she goes again and comes back with an offer of £99. Nope still too dear says I can you do any better ?

    She finally comes back telling me she can offer it for £65 for a brand new 40 gig box fully installed with my current subscription - no extras. Nice but what about the half price subscription. (must be something about us Scots looking for a bargain).

    This was my only dissapointment as she was adamant she could only give me it for £65. No less and no half price subscription.

    SOLD ! ! ! says and and I am now getting it fitted on the 14th to suit my shifts.

    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/groovy.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/groovy.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/groovy.gif
    #25
  26. mickey_a6
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    mickey_a6 Member

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    Done as a true Scot should! Result!
    #26
  27. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Quality haggling, well done, you won't be disappointed.
    40GB as well? I got totally shafted £99 for 20GB + £120 multiroom stitch up, but I guess that was over a year ago.
    #27
  28. NEiLS3LK51
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    NEiLS3LK51 Member

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    I got a sky+ upgrade last week and it is fantastic, trouble is I live in a block of flats and couldn't get the standard sky installer to do it so got absolutely shafted for the price by an independant.
    Still well worth the money, even at £370 all in!

    You can save time on the phone if you want the £65 option with no multiroom by just telling them plain and simple that you are aware of many other geeks on the internet who have been given this upgarde from sky and thats what you want. Requires you to currently subscribe to a healthy set of premium channels though.

    Speaking to sky customer services can take a long time especially if you punch in the correct options in the automated system. Try the 'upgrade my channels package' option for all queries as they usually answer within a minute. I got locked out of film because it started before the watershed as i didnt know my PIN and the system said I would have to wait 144mins! The channel upgarde option lady sorted it within 2mins.

    An 0800 number was posted on the digitalspy forums which works for free or cheaper than the 08702 numbers, but can take a little longer than the method above. (0800 731 6965 - choose options 2, then 4 and then listen to further options)

    I also followed some advice on the digitalspy sky+ forums to email "james.murdoch@bskyb.com" and voice my complaints about my particular cost of upgrade. I got a phone call in the evening days later from a customer care lady who said unfortunatley she couldnt do anything about the cost of the upgrade, but would offer me 2 months free subs worth £85. Definately worth a go for anybody who has a complaint for Sky.
    #28
  29. AndybS3
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    AndybS3 Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I read in something like the october or november SKY magazine, that the menu system is being upgraded soon.

    Anyone know when the upgrade is going to happen? I didn't read all the article, and the missus chucked the mag away.

    AL

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I've had the menu upgrade for about a month Al, why they changed I don't know, you now have to press the TV Guide button and then green to get to the planner which isn't that bad unless you have a 4 year old who is used to pressing 0 to get to the planner which now takes you to the adult subs /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
    #29
  30. AL_B
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    AL_B Active Member

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    Cheers Andy.

    Wonder why ours haven't been updated?

    AL
    #30
  31. AndybS3
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    AndybS3 Member

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    The missus works in Sky and I get free Sky+ and all ppv subs, the downside is we get all the new software updates before public release so they can iron out the bugs, trust me you don't want the new software yet
    #31
  32. CJ A4
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    CJ A4 Active Member

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    I don't understand why people are buying sky+ now when they will be going live with HD in a few months with a release of a brand new HD receiver which rumor has it boasts a 300 GIG Harddrive. Think it maybe pricey though at something like £500 all in at the beginning....just for the HD box and with that you only get the sport, boxoffice movies and a couple of other channels to begin with in High Def. Lets just wait and see what happens.
    #32
  33. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think you answered your own question there CJ
    #33
  34. marctwo
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    marctwo Member

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    Personally I have a Topfield freeview recorder. It will record 2 things at once and playback or watch a third channel. It also has USB2 so I can transfer all the programs to my laptop and burn them to DVD or DivX. It's not quite as easy to use as Sky+ but I think it's about as good as it gets for an all-in-one unit. I also find the picture quality better on Freeview than on Sky.
    #34
  35. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes but it's not an all in one unit is it?
    Otherwise why do you need to transfer to laptop to burn to DVD?
    And presumably it's only freeview, so none of the good channels unless you use a second box
    #35
  36. CJ A4
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    CJ A4 Active Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I think you answered your own question there CJ

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yeah i know Andy i realised that after i had done it....i had a long busy day and really couldnt be arsed to remove or amend it after i had finished. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif

    Thanks for that anyway /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
    #36
  37. neil.c
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    neil.c Senior

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    With regard to a 300 gig hard disk you need a bigger disk to record hd programmes anyway. What is really important is how many hours of tv you can record.
    #37
  38. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    IIRC it's 1Gb per hour standard res, 2GB per hour at HD res, so it's just an HD version of the 160GB box you can get now.
    #38

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