I have recently bought a Goodmans GDB2 Digibox for freeview. Its the cheapest box currently available at arond £80. I've been pleasantly surprised! It generally works very well, apart from a few minor hiccups that you get with sky or cable digital such as the picture freezing or the sound cutting out momentarily......jobs a gooden! Its easy to install, set up and use. And its a nifty little silver box, so it looks good! I have a few gripes, however.... AMAZINGLY mine wont pick up ITV1, ITV2, C4 or C5???!!! (I guess I need a signal booster or to get on the roof and adjust the aerial a little bit) And sometimes it switches itself off randomly (I'm told this is the remote sending signals for no good reason). And if you havent got a scart lead socket in your tv....well, you cant have the bargain basement decoder, you'll have to fork out more! I hear that the software update will sort out these small & widely reported errors at the end of March 03..... So, hurrah! I now have access to around 30 channels in my bedroom all through a standard rooftop aerial..... BBC1 BBC2 BBC3 BBC4 BBC NEWS 24 SKY SPORTS NEWS SKY NEWS FTN COMMUNITY CHANNEL ITV1 (SOMETIMES) ITV2 (SOMETIMES) C4 (SOMETIMES) C5 (SOMETIMES) BBCI TELETEXT 701 702 703 TMF THE HITS PRG2988 ABOUT 5 NEW CHANNELS MARKED "COMING SOON" QVC SKY HOLIDAYS UK HISTORY UK BRIGHT IDEAS AND A LOAD OF DIGITAL RADIO STATIONS INCLUDING 1XTRA, BBC6, 5LIVEXTRA, KERRANG, SMASH HITS......... Go and get one! I had my doubts but its not bad at all!
The digital television revolution is coming whether we like it or not. The government is planning to switch off analogue television sooner than thought maybe in 2005. Italy so far is the only country to set a date for the big turn off, 2007. Our government says it is committed to digital tele claiming it is a vital learning resource, and want people to be able to send e-mails and access the Internet via there televisions. But many people are not buying as they hope the price will drop before the analogue signal is turned off. But I feel that the digital revolution is going to cost us a lot more than analogue did. With you needing to subscribe to channels to get to watch what you want as well as paying a T.V licence. The better films and sport will all become pay to view. On the Internet side I feel the government needs to clean it up as at the moment there are lots of things on the net that are not wanted. Things children may find easier when they can access it in front of the T.V. Especially if they have there own in there bedroom like many do. The department of culture, media and the arts are planning research into what people want from digital television. I bet I don't get asked. But will we get what we want? I can remember the people wanting News at Ten moved, It didn't take long for pressure on the government and low and behold it was back. Carlton, Granada and BskyB also want a specific date as they feel it will encourage people to buy the digital sets. But I feel these companies don't seem to realise households don't just have one set these days. A lot of people want sets around the house and older children also have there own sets so they don't have to watch the boring programmes us adults watch. This means we are going to have to buy more than one set each. It would also help if you could watch one channel while tapeing another like you can on analogue, as not everyone likes the same programmes. <
br>Houses in special areas will also be getting FREE digital sets as an experiment to help speed things up which means they will get free channels, e-mail and access to the Internet. The first of these digital neighbourhoods will be announced in the next few months and should get the equipment within six months. I have my hand in the air Mr Blair, can I have one. But I bet I don't. Maybe if you live in London or the south east you may be lucky. The trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers said " We need to ensure Britain leads the world in digital television and that everyone in the community benefits". I hope we all do. I just wish they would sort our street out as its been deemed to expensive to lay NTL's cables. Limiting our choice. Many people I know also have reception problems with there Sky Digital sets due to trees of all things, I thought this was state of the art equipment. And finally, didn't the government have some sort of advertising programme telling people not to be coach potatoes and get some exercise. Well maybe we can find a fitness channel to watch after sending e-mails and viewing the Internet.
As long as I can remember I’ve been a customer of Sky Satellite since the good old days of analogue! Although I didn’t upgrade to digital at the earliest opportunity, I did when the ‘free’ offer came on the scene and was one of the first in my family (and street come to think about it) to go for the ‘digibox’ installation. I had my original Amstrad digibox installed in May of 1999. Prior to this I had a Cambridge analogue receiver, which served well. If you haven’t got or seen Sky digital TV yet in operation by now then you probably aren’t interested in TV, as we know it! So many people have it now as they did the analogue systems and so many have also experienced the good and bad of Sky’s customer services. It’s amazing that they can ‘switch you on’ and are there for you on the phone in the evening when you may need them most! I’ve had the overcharging ‘we’ll refund you next month’ excuses, the pestering ‘free half price’ extra subscription phone calls, the ‘take up an extended warranty’ threats and just about every con they have ever been accused of happen to me. Despite this I still think the Sky package is a winner! Recently my Amstrad digibox gave up the ghost. For a while it was slow to give channel listings and occasionally it reported no signal (normally in very bad weather). I had put up with the rare ‘frame freezes’ and necessity to reboot a couple of times a month (unplug it and restart), but this time it permanently reported ‘No signal is being received’ Oh no! Having NOT taken up the Sky extended warranty I feared the worst having seen BBC’s Watchdog and a report on Amstrad digibox failings a couple of months previous. I rang Sky, there was nothing they could do over the phone that I hadn’t already done. An Engineer visit would cost £40. I rang around l
ocally to see if I could beat this by hook or by crook. I wanted to establish if the problem was just a dish realignment requirement or more seriously an LNB or even complete digibox failure! Would life go on? A couple of days later the digibox was still as dead as a do doo, independent Satellite engineers wanted at least £45 and could only do dishes! I therefore went for the Sky engineers visit. A date was set one week ahead. No problem. I was phoned the day before the set date by an engineer with a time to expect them the next day (a two hour guess). The price however would be £50 call out! ARRRRGH! The visit time was reliable however, the engineer tested the signal itself to my digibox, said it was ok and that the problem was the digibox (gulp)! He plugged in a brand new digibox (this one was a Grundig). It didn’t work. He said ‘it’s the cable mate’ and went outside. He replaced the LNB and the entire cable run (virtually a complete installation, bar the dish). It worked with full signal strength! I had no more to pay! A brand new digibox, and this one has S-video and RGB outputs!! A new LNB and Wow what a picture! I was impressed. It’s taken time but Sky have got their act together at last. I think the original ‘extended warranty’ offer, would in fact have been more expensive than it was worth. The proof of the pudding…
First of all, if you want one of these, you'll almost certainly have to go to an independant satellite dealer - sky themselves (and therefore any retailer that uses them - any high street retailer)will generally not supply these or the silver panasonic boxes. Ok - the first thing i would say about this receiver is 'it looks fantastic!' - it is silver and slim (just 5cm in height) in order to take up as little of the valuable stacking space below your television as possible. You also get a black remote control, as opposed to the standard skydigital blue one (nice touch to really set off the distinction from other boxes). Build quality is excellent overall, but some people have reported problems with one of the rf outputs - this is not too much of a problem if you mainly use scart, but it is possible to fix if you do get a box with the problem and really want to use rf. In terms of function, there is little difference between this and any other sky digibox - it is faster than most of the older boxes, but apparently slightly slower than the silver panasonic, but they all basically run the same open software system and all have the same features - that is, except one.. ..and that one is a Sony exclusive, and the main reason that i had to have the Sony box and no other - an optical digital output. Basically, this means that you can record from skydigital directly onto a digital recording medium such as minidisc, or route the audio into a digital amp/surround system with minimal loss of quality. There were rumours that sky had told Sony to disable this output, in order to make all of the digiboxes available equal in terms of features - and the signs of this were even evident when i opened the box and found an additional page for the user manual floating aroound inside reading 'the digital optical audio output is not enabled in this version of the vtx-s750u'! In fact, the optical output works fine on my box (
and every other that i've heard of) - and it certainly comes in useful with all of the music video and radio channels which are available, as well utilising digital surround sound on the movie channels - the only problems that you may run into is when recording from some of the radio channels, apparently sky have implemented a system to lower the quality of the digital output from these channels so that you are not able to make your own perfect copies - but from the recordings i have made, this does not seem to be the case (or else it is very hard to distinguish), but i did have to increase the digital recording level on my minidisc player. Sony did initially want to charge a 50 pound premium for this box when sold as part of the 'free' skydigital offer - and it's fair to see why. As it is, they did not get their wish - so when you get your skydigital system, i assume that this means you'll be saving yourself 50 pounds!
I to say that Sky's actual product and features good, in fact there very good. Skys the customer service is on the other habd a matter for concern. The staff do try to be helpful and must be under considerable pressure, but don't seem to be able to fix anything for me over the phone (all the resets in the world just wont work). However the real insult is that when your guarantee runs out Sky will charge you £50 call to get an engineer to look at the problem. The engineer is coming tomorrow so I will probably let you know how he done. He's not going until it works!! 8>) I was offered an extra warranty on the digi box but decided that I didn't want to pay and the risk was minimal, after all the box's are free now! In hindsight I think that I will need to reconsider that! If anyone like me is thinking of getting a "free" set after they paid £200 for one, forget it. Sky tell me that I'm not allowed to, unless I move and change my name. This is all due to the agreement that I signed when I brought my set - so remember ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT in your agreements with these digital companies! Cheers Andy
I upgraded from Analogue Sky to Digital Sky about a year and a half ago we have always subscribed to the full sky package which cost us £32 a month. For that you get about 38 entertainment channels, 10 movie channels, 6 sports channels, 10 documentary channels, 10 music channels, 6 news channels and 10 kids channels. After a few teething problems (lose picture when raining, heavy cloud etc). The picture and sound quality are both excellent now Sky has fixed it. Sky did say the weather should not freeze the picture on a digital system. (lol) Also included with Sky Digital is 'Open' this is an excellent facility, this allows you to shop from the comfort of your armchair and send/receive emails. I was also one off the mugs who paid £160 for my box Overall this is an excellent package and I would recommend it to anyone
I love our sky digital and rushed out to buy a set when the free dish and box offer came out. The channels are great and there is sooo much variety. Even if there is nothing on it can take half an hour to channel hop. Unfortunatley our box has died on us and no longer works. I phoned sky to come and sort it so 2 weeks later they sent an engineer out to tell us what we already knew. We need a new box. We were still under warranty. The engineer then told us it would take up to 2 weeks before sky would call us too arrange delivery. Right! 2 weeks later - no phone call, so I phoned sky who told me it could take 6 weeks but to try again in another week. So I did. 3 weeks later - "I'm sorry but we have no record of the engineer requests for a new box. We can't just hand them out as we please!" Can you beleive the cheek. But the man promised he would look into it and we would hear from them soon. 5 weeks later - "Your warranty has expired now and this makes it more difficult to process the request" I promptly told them that if they worked a bit quicker it could have sorted whilst under warranty. Still they promised to sort it and we would hear from them. 7 weeks later - I phoned yet again and was told I had the wrong department even though it's the same one I've been phoning since the start. I was given another number so I rang that. Another promise to sort it! 8 weeks later - a phonecall from sky to say an engineer wascoming in 5 days Yipeeee!!! 9 weeks later - Engineer phoned in morning to ckeck directions and to give us an ETA. He never turned up! So I phoned sky. "We're very sorry I can't understand why he never turned up. I'll sort it out and call you back" 10 minutes later - "The earliest time we can send another engineer out is 2 weeks" I told them they were joking and it wasn't good enough. "We can send a engineer out sooner but you will have to pay a call o
ut charge" No wayyy!! On top of all this they are still charging us. All we want is a box can't they post one! I used to love sky but my opinion is fading fast. If they can't sort out their after sales service then they are going to lose a lot of custom. I would recommend getting sky digital but I would pray that your equipment doesn't break!
Do'nt get Sky, when it goes wrong Sky are the worst company to put things right. Mine has been broken for three months and is still not fixed. The attitude of the Sky staff is terrible at there call centre, they are inflexible. The Engineers who come out are brain dead cowboys, they do things like that drill through walls when the could feed cables round easily, and try and put the dish on your neibours property. Sky is a very nice package and tempting to get but bear the above in mind. Having ranted about this to others it transpires the most people have had big problems with them. My advice is either get cable or look at Ondigital, or not bother at all.
We have had Sky digital for about 6 months now. At the time I think the offer was 'FREE DIGITAL DISH AND BOX (but it costs £100 for us to fit it)' The main advantage of Digital TV is the crystal clear picture and sound quality, and you've got to admit that it is 100% perfect. On very windy days though the picture can get distorted and the sound can dissapear, which is extremely frustrating!! This is very rare though. Some people may be drawn to the fact that you can do online shopping from an impressively large range of shops, and the fact that you get e-mail access also. But anyone who owns a PC with internet access can get the same services quicker and easier. E-mail is especially difficult through the Sky box: trying to type an e-mail with the remote control is like trying to type an essay on a mobile phone. You'll quickly give up. One interesting idea is the SKY SPORTS EXTRA channel. They often show premier league matches and international cricket and give you the option to 'interact' with the program. For instance you can watch the game from the TV camera of your choice. This really isn't as good as you might imagine, since the director always picks the correct shot for the action, so you might as well not bother. The only real advantage to the interactive software is the ability to watch the 'highlights' from the match. Imagine coming home to watch the football at half-time, and the score is 3-3. You can watch all the goals using the highlights function, so you never miss a thing!! But you can't get ITV, for some reason.
It would have been very nice if this could have been a review. I bought an On Digital box from QXL - bargains can be had with one years rental for the basic service typically around £40 to £60. I had checked out the postcode checker first of course, which said fine. It barely worked - i got BBC channels and that was it - so BBC Choice and Parliament, and not even News24. They offer a service for an aerial upgrade at £40, which they hint at. I called this in, but the man barely got out of his van. Hospital in the way - its 2 miles away, but it is right in the way. SO I can't get OnDigital - I didn't pay for the man and returned the box though I am having to fight QXL as it is was past their 14 days money back. And don't trust their postcode system - find someone who has one locally. And what happens when teh government sell the analogue frequencies for billions - do i have to have a Murdoch dish on the side of my house to get any TV? SO, i give 1 star only. I am sure the service is fine, but they deserve it for their limited network, and misleading information
For those of you who don't know the parable, it means the product is good... in parts. I bought a 32 inch widescreen, with Dolby Pro-Logic (Sony KV32DS20U)in April and overall I am very pleased with it. The digital picture is superb, although I find that the incredibly flat screen is far more reflective than my old TV, and I often have to draw the curtains and turn the lights off in order to view this superb picture properly! To paraphrase Andre Previn: "I think it's probably the best picture of all time" The sound quality is also very good, but not proportionally so to the picture. I have definitely heard better on other large sets. One big problem is the lack of digital teletext and the fact that the BBC channels keep moving about to different channel numbers, due to 'tweaking' at the transmitters. Or so I am told. Both these faults are supposed to be cured by an upgrade that has been continually promised since July, but is still yet to appear. A minor problem is picture breakup. Whilst I have a reasonable signal going into the TV, I still get occasional breakup from interference generated by passing cars with bad suppression, or the freezer kicking in and out. An aerial downlead with better screening should sort this out. Would I recommend it to someone? Yes, in a couple of months when the upgrade has been done, and if they have a decent aerial system to plug into it. Oh, and if they have a DVD player or Sky Digital to plug in as well, they certainly won't be disappointed.
The new Sony Wega digital TV's offer one of the best pictures available on a television and linked with a DVD player it is superb. The only downside with these TV's from Sony besides the price is the lack of promised upgrades to enable you to get digital teletext and all the pay ondigital channels. Sony have been saying that the upgrades will be ready since July and I am still waiting, they should not release TV's unless all the promised features are working. On the plus side the Sony 24 hr helpline was excellent in providing help when I first got the TV and once the upgrades arrive (and you only get them if you send your warranty card back to Sony) I think this TV will be hard to beat. You also need to have a couple of friends around to help you put the TV on its stand as it is a very heavy television set to lift.
When watching the picture from my Grundig digibox the picture freezes and the games on open do not work. Sky have been told of the on going problem with the Grundig and Amstrad boxes but the are not listening to there customer. I join Sky on the 17th May this year, I have made 300 calls to Sky Television to get this sorted out and to date I have had three services calls booked they have cancelled two go and put new customer on there books. I now have a engineer coming on the 18th of this month I hope now we can get this matter sorted out now. I have spoken to some of my friends who have Sky digital and Sky only deliver the Grundig box now but they know about the problem. What makes it worse you are treated like you are in the wrong all the time, I wish we had on digital in the area, where I live but we don’t so Sky will have to do.
This may sound like a strange item to place in the Electronics review, but it has one special feature which makes it a very useful accessory to any hi fi system. To get it at a good price (£40) you have to subscribe to Sky Digital for 12 months (but the basic package is only £6.99 per month). Even if you have no interest in the TV output, the real beauty of this system is the digital delivery to your hi-fi of over 20 radio stations, many of them not available on FM. Well worth it just for Classic Gold (60s & 70s) and Planet Rock (classic rock tracks)!