Sky+ HD box: what do Which? members think?

by , Deputy Technology Editor PVRs 17/11/2011
Skybox

Catch-up TV and on-demand TV may be the talk of the town now, but for everyday use a PVR is still and incredibly convenient way of managing your TV watching. There are many available, but the likes of Sky and Virgin have their own boxes that customers must use. When you have no choice but to use one, it’ s important that they work properly.

You can read our full Sky+ HD box review to see what we made of it, but what about the long-term view? Does it have some frustrating niggle, or develop mysterious  faults after months of use? To help get the best overall view, Which? members can share their experiences by leaving ‘customer views’.

Here’s what Which? members have been saying about Sky and the Sky+ HD box…

Catcam is one satisfied customer…

 We have had Sky+ HD for just over a year and Sky+ for several years before that. I have occasionally had to switch off at the mains to reset the Sky+ HD box but otherwise have had no problems with it. The HD picure quality is excellent, there is a clear difference between HD and SD although this does depend on the type of programme being watched. The Sky Anytime facility is very good and we have seen films and programmes from this that we would not have otherwise have watched.

…and JimmyDiGriz reckons there’s no finer HD service.

We’ve been using Sky HD for about 18 months and Sky+ for four or five years before that. The HD box works nicely, the new style EPG is good, if a tad more complicated, and all the features work as advertised. For me, one of the great achievements of Sky is the way they keep interface design simple, even if that means missing a few features. I cannot begin to understand the adverse comments on HD quality; it is much better than SD. Sure, there are some HD channels that show a lot of old SD programming upscaled, but modern shows look fantastic! The sound quality is also superb, even through a fairly basic 5.1 system. There are issues with poor reception, we live on the wrong side of a hill and only get 60% signal on a good day, but when it works it works well. We wouldn’t be without Sky HD now; none of the other options include as much HD programming so there is no contest.

But, as MarkDubya found, reliability is a problem.

OK, so the good bits first. As a working product Sky+ HD still is the one to beat. The EPG is brilliant, and the whole thing’s easy and intuitive to use. HD quality is good, although on my 32″ TV it’s wasted slightly. The planner’s really nice and works smoothly, grouping series together for easy reference. The Anytime TV function has just gone online for even more variety, and Remote Record is the best thing since sliced bread.Yep, it’s fundamentally very, very good. BUT – and it’s a big but – reliability has been extremely shaky. The box has a tendency to crash when in standby, meaning it doesn’t switch on to watch TV or record if we’re out, leading to failed recordings. This is rectified by cutting the power and restarting, and there are 2 forms of reset available which you can find online to avoid the Sky engineer charge. Most recently though, it’s started telling me the viewing card has a fault. Again this means you can’t watch TV, and recordings fail. There’s no way to correct it at home either – at the minute I have to phone Sky every day on their 0844 number to report and log the issue, as it can be fixed temporarily by doing a ‘planner rebuild’. Extremely frustrating, and all the while it’s still not fit for purpose.In summary – it’s a great thing when it’s working but I wish, oh how I wish I’d taken an extended warranty so I could get the thing replaced…

Jasmac has had continual problems…

WE switched to HD plus basically to get rid of our last Sky plus box (which was about our third). We have since then had at least three replacements in a year. Sky really do need to invest in their hardware to counterbalance their large fees. We have all the glitches I’ve read about in the previous reviews. We frequently have to switch off and reboot. Am looking at Which? to find a better alternative.

…and Mfearnuk questions the cost.

Hmmm another Amstrad Sky box locking up….HD is fine but the box locks up like our old Sky+ box. If you hold the off button on the remote for 30 seconds it reboots or if that fails switch off at the mains. Get a few pickups a week. But not enough yet to annoy me…early days. Picture is good. But spending nearly £800 a year for HD is getting rather expensive.

But, despite all the problems, suffolktony reckons it’s all worth it.

A pricey option, particularly if you subscribe to the full package of movies and sport, and contacting Sky can be frustrating. However, the Sky interface is a work of genius and is nothing short of superb to use. The picture quality in High-Definition is very good indeed and for things like football and tennis it’s excellent.I’d like to eventually move towards Freesat but until the boxes currently available for this service improve substantially I’ll happily pay for the privilege of using Sky HD.

These are just a selection of the member reviews for the Sky+ HD box. Visit the ‘customer views’ page to see all 16 member reviews and write your own review.

How to submit your own reviews

1. Log in to Which.co.uk
2. Click on ‘your account’ on the top right-hand corner of any page
3. Change your ‘screen name’
4. Find the product you want to review click on the ‘Customer views’ tab towards the top of the review
5. Click on the grey ticks to rate the product out of five and fill in the text boxes to share your views

Visit our Customer views help page for more advice

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