July 9th 2009 8:50 pm

final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Ease of use It's generally okay to use, menus are often slow and confusing however. so-so
  • Design and form factor The box looks nice enough. The remote deserves some credit. Sky remotes always feel like they've been made to last, knowing that they will be dropped. good
  • Storage capacity At 1.5tb, I have no complaints here. Mine is used regularly and I still have 82% free. great!
  • Expandability Sky offer no features for adding additional hard disk space. awful!
  • Other features (networking, etc.) The network port goes unused unless you have Sky Broadband as well. There is no way to stream recorded shows around the house. awful!
Detailed review
As a provider supplied product, users have no choice but to use this box if they want to receive Sky HD.

The box has generally proven to be unreliable. I have had numerous problems with mine, such as recordings failing due with "no signal" errors, freezes, slow EPG browsing and more. A common problem appears when you have set two programmes to record on different channels where one finishes as the other starts. If you are watching a third channel at the same time the later programme will not start on time.

Sky's new Anytime+ feature is limited to users of Sky Broadband. Using the existing push on-demand service Sky Anytime is also known to cause problems with the box.

Despite having a network port, use of the box still contractually requires a continuous connection to a phone line, despite this only really being used for interactive features and ordering pay-per-view movies and events.

Having been a TiVo user in the past, the lack of a suggestions feature and more fine control over Series Links is disappointing. In addition, some shows inexplicably lose their Series Links over time, forcing you to manually set each episode to record.

Sky do offer an online programme guide (which is also accessible from a dedicated iPad and iPhone app) that allows you to set programmes to record remotely.

While Sky continue to add innovative features to their boxes, it is unfortunate that the stability of the box's core functionality remains so poor.

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I had huge problems with "no signal" problems on many channels after a year and half of use, after Sky News, BBC News 24 and others fell to this problem I got it replaced at half price after doing all the tests with swapping satellite inputs etc. It may have helped that upgraded the second box in the house to HD at the same time.

I also had many problems with it not recording programmes until I turned on the nightly auto sleep function. After that nightly sleep, the what was obviously uptime related bugs disappeared and it has recorded reliably since. The regular swearing and rebooting to get reliable recording has not stopped