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Recently due to the current economic situation we had to review our financial situation and considered cancelling our sky account. I contacted Sky to discuss cancelling our package and I was put through to the cancellation team.
Whilst discussing my situation they offered me this free Sky HD box , insulation and a discounted rate on my package for the year.
Within a week the box was installed and I must say I am impressed. To be able to live pause, series record and simply to record something else is great. With the HD box which is simple to use you can watch catch up TV and a wide variety of programmes which is available on demand. The Remote control is simple and easy to navigate to the TV viewings of you choice.
The only downside is that the Sky box is a little large if I am going to be critical.
When we purchased our first property together some four years ago now, my husband and I were keen to get the best TV package that we could find. We had in the past used Virgin but, having heard some great things about Sky we contacted them to see what their best deals were. Fortunately for us we were offered a good package which included a free SKY HD box. Therefore knowing how many great programmes that SKY broadcast we signed up on the spot and eagerly awaited the visit by our local SKY engineer to set things up.
~Product Looks and Dimensions~
When the SKY engineer came out to visit our property a couple of days later I was keen to see how the look of the Sky HD box would compare to our previous Virgin version. I have to admit that I really liked the look of this box which is modern with a masculine touch in my opinion and has a slightly sturdy feel. The predominant colour of this box is black and this black plastic forms the body of the box which is a matt finish making it less likely to show up fingerprints. On the front of the box is a curved stripe of silver and this serves to highlight the controls for this box with the playback button being a large circular button at the front of the box to clearly indicate whether a programme is being recorded or played. The sides of this box are punched with a number of ventilation holes which suggested to me that this box likes a lot of space to breathe and therefore when we positioned it inside our TV cabinet I did ensure that there was a large gap either side of the unit. In terms of dimensions this box measures 380mm wide by 72mm high by 243mm deep which made it the perfect size to fit within our Ikea television unit with adequate ventilation space.
In terms of technical details this box is designed to allow the user to watch a range of programmes and channels in high definition format. Obviously in order to do this you will need a HD compatible TV and the amount of channels which broadcast programmes in HD is limited although most channels now offer it in addition to their standard definition channel. The box also gives you the option to pause and rewind live TV which is always handy in my opinion when you want to take a quick trip to the toilet but don't want to miss what is happening. In addition to watching TV through this box you can also record up to 185 hours of standard definition television through this box or 60 hours of high definition. As we both have funny working hours we really use this facility a lot and what is even more helpful is the ability to download the Sky+App which enables us to control our recordings through our iPod when we are out and about. Sky claim that this box offers five times more picture detail, vibrant colours and superb sound and that it is also wi-fi enabled allowing you to connect it to any broadband router for on demand viewing.
One of the things which is critical to the use of this HD box is the remote that it comes with and you can also buy this from a number of stores including Robert Dyas in the event that it goes missing. You can control the box via the small buttons on the top and we occasionally change the channel on ours with the iPad however the remote really is a necessity for easy viewing. The remote is coloured in a black and silver theme to match that of the box and the buttons are all very clearly marked and have sufficient space between them to easily press the correct button. Our remote has begun to loose the marks on a couple of buttons such as the volume + and - markings which are beginning to disappear however I pretty much can use this control without looking at what I am doing having owned it for a number of years.
~Setting Up the Box~
When we were first visited by the Sky engineer we were fortunate that he set our box up for us together with the satellite dish and this meant that we had instant television that evening. However, since then we did purchase our Ikea television stand and therefore had to unplug the wires and reconnect the box to sit within the unit. In my experience this was relatively easy to do although we did mark each cable before disconnecting in order that we could be sure we put it back in the correct hole as there are quite a number of different cables which can be connected into the back. Starting at the left of the unit is the power cable and this plugs in to the mains ensuring that the box is powered. To the right of this are a pair of cables which connect the box to the satellite dish and in our house these cables come up through the wall of our lounge and give adequate length to position the box where we want it. Next to this is the HDTV cable which connects the box to the actual television and then there is a smaller cable which enables you to connect the box to the broadband router. Finally to the far right is a cable for connecting the box to the telephone line and this is a light grey cable unlike the other black cables which makes it obvious to assemble. Once everything is up and running a red light glows to the right of the front of the box and when switched on this light changes colour to green which is a nice indicator that the box is powered on.
When I first used our Sky box I remember being quite overwhelmed with the amount of buttons and controls that it came with however having now owned it for a number of years I really am a pro. When the box is switched on and the correct HDMI channel selected on the TV itself the box defaults automatically to the Sky channel which you can then change using the remote. In pressing the TV guide button on the top of the remote you are presented with a large blue screen which continues to play your programme in a small viewing screen in the top right hand corner. This guide area on the box is divided into various headings such as the 'what's on guide', 'on demand', 'search', 'planner', 'box office' and 'controls' which each enable you change the settings, record different programmes and search for your favourite programmes. One of the options I use the most is the search tab which is illustrated with a magnifying glass and this allows you to search through the upcoming programmes to find one that you have missed. Another tab that we use a great deal of is the planner one as this shows you what has been recorded during the week. Each programme is clearly displayed in a table format and shows you the status of the programme including whether it is yet to record, has been viewed or is yet to view and you can delete each one after watching using the yellow button on the remote itself. The amount of space available on the box is clearly illustrated using a lien and a percentage on the top of the screen and despite using our box to record a number fo hours of television we have yet to even get it full to half its capacity meaning that it is more than adequate for our viewing needs.
One of the first things that you have to do once getting the box home is to put a security code on it. This code is purely a precaution against those programmes with an adult content or for those occasions when you want to authorise watching a little extra such as a film from Sky box office which will be charged to your Sky account. In our case this is a four digit pin which we just use for those programmes we have recorded which have adult scenes and this is easy to do in my experience as a box flashes up to tell you to put the pin in.
Over the years I have owned this box I have been both impressed and annoyed with this box particularly as it is getting older. I have to say that this box does give excellent viewing and during times when I am watching a nature programme or documentary I am constantly blown away by the quality of the picture and the detail that I can see. The sound from this box is also excellent and I find that I can hear every detail of a programme and every instrument on the occasions when I am listening to a piece of background music. Some of these qualities can also be attributed to our television but without the use of the box to view HD programmes in the first place this really would be worthless. Another thing that I really enjoy using is the recording option on this box which we probably use practically everyday and this makes selecting what we want to watch easy and is very simple to set up with a series loop which enables you to record a series of programmes with the press of one button rather than finding them individually each week. Finally I must commend this box on the Sky+ application which enables us to view and record programmes remotely from our iPad which is a very convenient feature.
As this box is getting older I have noticed it becoming less responsive to the remote and this is one thing that really irritates me particularly in the morning. The box does have a tendency to occasionally freeze or only partly remote programmes and this is frustrating when you get up in the morning to find that something you were looking forward to watching has not been recorded. There have been times in the past few weeks where I have had to turn off box and start again and this takes time for it to load up again which is annoying. In addition, the remote which began its life working very efficiently, has now started to be selective about which buttons work with the volume and mute buttons now being completely void.
~Price and Availability~
As we received this box free through Sky I really believe that this was an excellent deal and one which has given us endless hours of great viewing. However I understand that these boxes can also be purchased independently online from as little as £45 from EBay which makes it a good investment in my opinion.
~Summary and Recommendations~
Overall I would have to say that this is a box which has offered us excellent viewing over the years we have owned it and quite a good variety of different programmes which we have enjoyed viewing. I cannot fault this box for the high definition viewing it gives together with the great sound quality. Where this unit does fail in my opinion is in its shelf life and as ours is beginning to play up I do question how much longer we will continue to use it before we try and get a new box through Sky.
All in all this HD box has given us much enjoyment and consequently it does come recommended. Based on my comments in this slightly long winded review this box scores a good four stars from me.
I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x
A couple of months before Christmas I saw a great offer on hotukdeals which was telling us that Sky customers could get their multi room package for half price for twelve months and this included free installation of the Sky HD DRX595 box and £40 cashback through Quidco. As I had been considering getting multi room in for my bedroom it seemed a perfect time to try it out and this is my review of the product.
The Sky man came to install the Sky HD box for me and had to do some wiring from the opposite side of the room to where the box is situated as the dish is by my window but my TV is on the other side. He did this pretty neatly although it is a thick black wire and so it stands out a bit against my cream walls and woodwork! The box was neatly packed in a white cardboard box which he did leave with me after the install with some extra wires in there which weren't compatible with my old television.
The box is a really sleek looking black piece of kit which certainly looks much better than my large Sky+ box which I have downstairs. It is certainly more slimline than I thought it would have been and so he placed the box on top of my DVD player which is on top of my television! It is probably just over half the length of the DVD player but a bit taller. It has the Sky HD wording on the top front of the box but this isn't too intrusive with the black sleek look of the box on the whole. There is a button for power and changing the channels on the front of the box should you lose the remote which is so important because I seem to always lose the remote at some point or another in my bed!
The box is connected to my television via a skart lead but there is also the option to connect via a HDMI cable which the engineer did leave me with but as my TV in my bedroom is a bit old I don't have that function but he said he would leave me with the wire just in case I get a new television any time and want to set it up like that. The sections on the back are all colour coded so that you can easily spot where things go which I think is good. I should mention that the power cable is of a reasonable length to plug in but it isn't going to go all the way round your room or anything. Mine is plugged in to a four way extension cable with the television and DVD player.
What I did love was that the engineer set it up so that the main Sky HD remote worked completely with my television and that he took the time to explain this to me. Basically the remote is now multi functional and will switch my television on as well as control the Sky features on the box. The remote is decent I must point out and very responsive so I can easily alter the volume, change channels or look on the interactive services such as box office should I want to.
When you switch on the Sky box a green light comes on the front of the box and it is good to note that after a period of inactivity it will automatically go to sleep saving you electricity if you fall asleep with it on or something. Once the box is on you are able to work your way through the Sky HD menu which does look different to the menu on a normal Sky or Sky+ box but it is something I did get used to quite quickly and the only real difference is the way you scroll through channels and the colours used really.
There are various HD specific channels which come with this box but as I said my TV is pretty old so I haven't been able to make use of those, plus I don't really want to pay an extra £10 a month for the privilege anyway when I think the pictures are perfectly fine for me to watch now anyway.
I am impressed with the whole Sky HD DRX595 box if I am honest. I like the way that it is a bit smaller and more sleek in design than the Sky+ box I have downstairs and I think it fits in with many modern electronics now with it being glossy and black. I also like how it has large vents at the sides which are obviously exposed to the air as this seems to stop the box from getting too hot unlike my Sky+ box which does get hot! I think this is a quality piece of kit and considering it was fitted for free and that I am paying £60 for the multiroom service with it for the year but then getting £40 cash back I think it has been a very good investment indeed!
Thank you for reading my review!
What did we do before Sky + came along? We now have the ability to pause and rewind live tv, Record a full series with one touch of a button and plan and record your favorite programs so you need never miss anything again. Sky were and are the innovators of digital tv and set the standards for all to follow. With the HD box comes a new dimension in quality vision and as more and more HD channels become available it has become essential for digital viewing. Sky also provide a fully dedicated 3D channel which can be activated and incorporated with the HD box and can even be recorded for future viewing on your 3D tv. The Sky recording system planner is very simple, even a child could operate it quite easily , this is tv for the new century and the way forward for years to come.
I find that due to my busy schedule it means that very often I will miss a lot of my favourite TV shows. This is no longer a problem thanks to my Sky+ HD box.
The menus are extremely easy to use, and the show that is currently on is minimised to the top right hand corner of the screen, meaning that you still will not miss the show you are watching, even if you are searching for something else. the TV guide can be broken down into sections such as 'Entertainment', 'Sports', 'Movies' etc, which means you can narrow down a search if you are trying to find something quickly. If you know the channel number then you can speed things up even more by just typing in the channel number, which will take you straight to the listings of that channel.
Recording problems is extremely easy, all that is required is to highlight the program that you want, and then press the red 'R' button to set the program to record, this can be done on both the controller and the HD box itself. The box can either record one show while you watch something else, or record two shows simultaneously.However if you are recording two shows at the same time you will only be able to switch between these two channels, trying to watch a different channel will prompt you to cancel one of the shows that is recording, although you are still free to watch anything that is already recorded to the box.
One of the best features I've found is that if you are watching a show, and decide to start recording it half way through, it will start recording the show from the moment you put the channel on, rather than from the moment you pressed the record button. This can be extremely useful for things such as films, which can be watched again from the very beginning.
Another good feature is the 'Sky anytime' feature. It has a selection of different shows, ranging from movies, documentaries and new TV shows, for a selected amount of time, that can be watched at any point with the click of a button. There is also an option to record the programs so that they can be watched past its 'available until' date, although some things will still delete at a later date, though this will be mentioned in the synopsis.
One issue with the box is its memory. I have found that a two hour show can very easily take up to 8% of the box's memory if it is recorded in HD. If you are the type of person that records a lot of films and/or sports, then the box can fill up extremely quickly, as films will easily take up to 5% of the memory, and certain sports programs can take up to 15% of the boxes memory, which is a huge chunk.
Overall the box is extremely useful, as it allows me to go to work, and enjoy my free time, and still be able to watch all of my favourite TV shows, as well as catch up on some good movies and find new TV series.
I hate my sky box almost as much as I love it. In some ways my sky box is my most priced possession because I love TV and spend far too much time watching it.
I love my SKY HD box because I can record up to two programs at once.
I hate my skybox because I can only record two things at once (Virgin + can do 3)
I love my SKY HD box because I can record a whole series by just pressing one button.
I hate my SKY HD box because sometimes it will miss recording a program for a series because they are running a special episode or something and sometimes it is missed. (One of the many bugs with the Sky HD box )
I love my sky box because I can keep many recordings and play them when ever I like.
I hate my SKY HD box because I can transfer my recording off the SKY box (Not officially anyway and not very easily)
I love my Sky HD box because I can pause and rewind live TV.
I have my SKY HD box because sometimes it will crash and I have to switch it off at the wall and wait while it boots again.
What I am trying to say is that I have a love hate relationship with My Sky HD. It seems what ever it gives me in one hand it takes it away with the other.
I will sum up by saying that even though I have mentioned bad points here my SKY works great most of the time it's just that I am acutely aware of it's failings due to the amount of use it gets.
I would still recommend this product to anyone but this product still has some work need doing.
SKY HD BOX