This is purely a review on the hardware(DRX890),this review is NOT a reflection on what I think of "$ky" which as you can probably imagine(by the way I spelt "$ky") is NOT great but,I will not go into it here,I hope you can appreciate this review for what it is.....thank you!
Box arrived within about 4-5 days after ordering,which was what was stated by amazon,it was signed for & then immediately opened & hooked-up to a hdtv.
The DRX 890 is about 20% smaller than the original skyhd stb,this is a great plus point as,it`s far easier to physically fit into any a/v system of your choosing.There after,it looks exactly the same as the original box,the remote also.Around the back you lose the ability to record directly to a scart based recorder as,there is only one scart(RGB & Composite)for output to a tv scart input,5.1 S/S is by optical(phono),stereo audio(phono again),hdmi,etc.Sky still have a usb port but,they still have no apparent use for it,as of yet.It has been stated that it is for "future use" at the moment,it can apparently be used to charge ipods & some mobile phones(which I didn`t know about).
As it says in the heading,"yes,yes,yes"this box works the way I`m sure sky intended all those duff stb`s were suppose too,reliability,picture & sound quality are all top-notch. Now,these amstrad DRX890 come with 250 usable gigabytes,the other 250gb are used for sky`s anytime service.It`s a real shame that it is not possible to turn-off anytime & use this,as this box will have you recording like a mad person also,the user would have half a teryabite(the whole 500gb)for their home recording or archiving.
A major point with this stb over our samsung is,we are using the amstrads internal up-scaler to do the picture up-scaling.Now it has been said that sky stb`s do not have a decent up-scaler well,with the DRX890 it seems sky have rectified this,by a large degree,judging by the quality on our hdtv anyway(32" 1080p LG).With the DRX890 doing the up-scaling,this means that we are watching pictures from standard definition that are up-scaled to 1080i.Along with this is the 5 hd channels that you get for free, The response time of this machine,is super quick,once a button on the remote or on the stb it self is pressed,the operation is instantly carried out.The quickness of this is defined in the "one button push" record.Where recording is concerned these sky stb`s corner the market with,the ability to record form a pc,or better still,your own mobile phone.Some people have mentioned that the contrast setting is to low on this box which,did seem to be the case when it was hooked up to a hdtv with a very low contrast setting(28" Hannspree 1080phdtv).But this isn`t a issue now that it`s been used with a hdtv with a much higher contrast setting on it,this has also been confirmed by some else that I know who has recently had this box installed,so all good there then. Everything else on this machine is the same as the 160gb;ff,rw,pause,etc,etc,etc.I wanted to wait at lease 6 months before I posted a review,as I was waiting to see how the box performed &,if it stopped working all together this way I can give a more comprehensive review than just having the box for a short time & getting to excited,this is something I guess probably happens to other people when they have a new piece of audio equipment,it`s easy done as it`s new & seemly "wonderful". So far,this sky+hd box(DRX890)has been almost...Flawless! The reason I say "almost" is because of the slightly low contrast(which wouldn`t show up on a hdtv with a good contrast setting anyways),& I have had to do ONE,yeah ONE in over eight months of ownership,"system download" for a lock-up/picture freeze!
Another important point to cover is the remote,it`s just as good as on any other sky stb,but with the epg been super quick,it does make using the remote even more pleasurable,If you take the time to read customer`s reviews/comments on other stb`s,you will notice a common vein with a lot of stb`s remote`s NOT been anywhere near as;reliable,well thought out & laid-out or,user-friendly as sky`s very own.This controller,is the best you`ll find on any or most hdtv set top boxes,& one of the cheapest too.
It seems that sky`s acquisition of amstrad is paying of for this little gem.With it been built in-house they(sky)can monitor it`s construction much more closely,& for the units to be made exactly to sky`s specification.Now,I don`t know if there is any other manufacturer for this box(like there is for the 160gb`s),but I`ll tell you this,sky/amstrad have got this,just-about-right,it`s a delight to use,instructions are clear,the remote is well designed plus,it comes bundled with some versatile extras.Easily "FIVE STARS",the only REAL starting point for a skyhd user.
I would just like to add that,I didn`t buy this direct from amazon,item was bought from the Market place.I did have to contact the seller(over no instruction booklet inside the box),& he informed me that this had come from bankrupt stock he had obtained.The reason I chose to purchase this way was of course,price,I made a huge saving on this item when it was bought.So it was sold as new,but he had tested it before selling as there was some stored recordings(which was explained during our emails to each other)which was good of him to check the goods first.Along with others,I`m also weary of buying electrical goods this way,but this just goes to really show how reliable this skyhd box(DRX890)has been.....so far anyway.If things DO change,believe-you-me,I WILL up-date this review accordingly,thank you once again for taking the time to read.
As many of you may(or may not)know,sky have a(brilliant)use for their ethernet connection..."sky on-demand".
"On-demand" is at no extra cost to your monthly bill so,it`s free(something free from sky,wow...it`s about time!)& has such features as;catch-up(iplayers),showcase etc.Even though "on-demand" is at no extra cost,if you access the "sky store" in the "on-demand" section,you do have to pay to rent the latest movie releases(obviously),like you do on lovefilm,netflix etc.For more info about "sky on-demand",just go to the skytv web site.