Product Type: Amstrad set top boxes
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There is a thin line between love and hate...
Amstrad DRX890 500 GB SKY HD BOX
Member Name: k444tmc
Amstrad DRX890 500 GB SKY HD BOX
Advantages: great picture + reliable recording + attractive compared to older box
I acquired my Sky HD box late last year when I moved into my old house and took out a Sky HD subscription to go with my new 42" HD TV - I had opted for the HD subscription as I thought getting the basic box with this TV would be a waste of potencial and I would regret it months/years down the line.
Generally I do love my Sky HD box but at the same time the love is full of regret. What are the conflicts? Well for one the picture on my screen when watching a HD channel on the sky box is amazing - a massive difference to a normal screen when the TV is also Full HD. Another good point for me would be the much more attractive Sky Menu screen when you compare to the basic Sky box - much easier to use and looks better (this has also undergone a recent revamp which looks even better than before)... Now on to the bad point. THE COST! I did get the box for free when I took out the Sky which is ok, but the monthly costs are horrendous. Thankfully unlike some people I do not have Sports or Movies which helps but to many it is a cost which they can live without.
Setting up the box on to HD is simple - Sky wil send someone from the company out (with box and connections) and set this up for you. If for any reason such as a house move you need to dismantle the connections away from the box it is very easy to set up again.
On to the appearance of the Sky HD box... Compared to the older box which is a grey/silver colour the HD version is mainly black with very minimul silver features - on the front just a small strip of silver which runs through. To most this would be more attractive as when the older normal Sky box's came out the favoured appliance colour for TV's/Stereo's ect was silver which is not to everyones tastes anymore. On the face of the box are your regular sky buttons which are used to record/play/forward/rewind ect and the opposite side holds your channel changing buttons (which are handy if you ever happen to lose the remote!). One great feature which doesn't appear on the older box is the screen at the front which lights up in blue and red colours and indicates when the box is recording a programme or you are watching a pre-recorded programme. To me this makes the box look very modern.
The remote control which comes with the box is also different to the original remotes that came out with the older box's and the theme goes with the mainly black features on the HD box.
OK, so what features does the HD box have that the older box doesn't? As well as the HD content one of the main things I love is the fact you can connect your internet router directly to the box and have instant access to Sky Anything + which is many favourite programmes that Sky has picked out available for immediate download. This holds many different programme types such as documenteries and kids shows so there is something for everyone there. To me its a great feature as there is always a point in our lives where we can't ever find anything on TV to watch!
Like the older Sky box's you also get all the games such as BeeHive Bedlam and all your shopping and gambling needs.
To date I have not had any issues with how the box runs / recordings although my parents got a HD box as soon as it came out to go with their new TV and they have had some problems where it has just stopped working and Sky being very slow to try and sort it out (not to mention rude call centre staff liking to hang up rather than resolve the problem). Whether you have problems or not it seems to be pot luck with Sky, but if for any reason you are unsatisfied with their service if you threaten to go to another provider you can usually get reductions and free things added to your package!
Would I recommend?
As previously stated its a luxery which we all love and hate. We love it compared to the boring Freeview but we hate it for the running costs. The box itself is free of charge from sky but you make up for this with the high monthly bills. Being honest I don't think I could live without it as I do tend to put my feet up when I come in from work and watch a bit of TV and I do like that Sky has more choice than Freeview. And in a way the HD content is worth it. I would recommend to all but be prepared to pay the price for it which can be costly depending on the package you are after.
Summary: great device!
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