on 7 June 2010
Clearly, there are people on here who've had very bad experiences with the Sky HD box. I certainly sympathise with them but, to give a bit of balance, I've had Sky HD for about three years now and although I did have the box replaced once due it being damaged following a house move, it's been generally very reliable.
Paired with a good TV and quality home cinema set up, I've found watching movies in particular much more pleasurable with Sky HD. The improvement in picture and sound quality is very substantial compared to standard definition (although this obviously depends on the source material - newer films clearly benefit most).
Reliability issues aside, the box itself isn't perfect. For me, its main drawbacks are:
- lack of support for 1080p resolution (although HD content does look very good in 1080i)
- No support for surround sound through HDMI (for some bizarre reason, if you want to connect the box to an AV receiver for surround sound you have to use an optical lead - but again this isn't that big a deal - it works fine)
- it can be quite noisy, making a `whirring' sound at certain times (but this tends not to be audible unless the volume is muted)
- it has a rather cheap plastic appearance which doesn't sit well surrounded by good quality AV equipment
- The remote is clunky and less responsive than it should be
Despite all these minor niggles the sheer pleasure of HD for me makes it worth the investment. I would certainly not go back to solely non-HD viewing now that I've experienced the joys of HD. I still find Sky HD preferable to Virgin HD due to the better selection of channels and access to significantly more film content.
on 5 May 2009
I wish someone would explain why, when Sky decided to provide an HD service, they chose to go with a manufacturer who provided the cheap, noisy unreliable boxes instead of PACE who make the quiet reliable ones.
My story is not untypical and as it could run into chapters I will give you the highlights. I had 7 sky HD boxes in 14 months. I spent what felt like weeks speaking to poorly trained automatons at sky cutomer service who are only capable of helping you if they can crowbar you into one of their few categories of problems. If not, stuff you - they certainly won't have a sensible conversation with you. Whatever happens you will have to go, every single time, through the pointless series of checks they force you to complete whether or not you've already done them or if you know, from bitter experience, that they are irrelevant.
My sky box(es) used to fail to record about 5% of what I put in the planner with one or other technical fault - 9 and 12 were most common. It would mark about 15% of what I planned to record as RECORDED - but the programme would not play back (and no a sky planner rebuild does not work sky customer services - not even after the 10th time - and the fact that it didn't doesn't mean the customer did it wrong!) About once a week the box would freeze mid programme, turn itself off and then take anything up to half an hour to come back on. HD was great but the picture quality on any content not in HD was far poorer than the PACE box - ie the vast majority of what is on. Sky replaced the box, the dish and all the leads over those 14 months (to be fair to them the engineers were fantastic) but to no avail. And noisy?? OMG you had to turn the telly up two notches just to be able to hear it over the sky box! In the end they concluded that 'HD just doesn't work for you'. I cancelled the HD service and am back with my ultra reliable little PACE box. Thomson? rubbish! Don't touch Sky HD til they change the manufacturer of the box - thats my advice.
on 7 March 2010
A lot of people are giving Skyhd the "Thumbs Down",it is not perfect,
hence no 5 stars....but still earns a cigar!
With all the capabilities of a Sky+ box but,with the promise of;hd,
better sdtv,larger storage,& much more.The sky engineer did state
that,"all hdmi leads were the same",so he used the one that came in
the box,the picture & sound were OK but,was sure we could get better.
With a gold tip hdmi,hd improvement was minimal but still noticeable,sd
channels were vastly improved now not too far away from hdtv,has this
unlocked the true potential & quality of this Box?With 40+hd channels
(which is by-far,the most by any TV Provider in the uk!),for the price,
it`s closer to value for money than previously.There is now a "mini tv"
when you press the light blue buttons on the remote so,you can still
view the current channel while using these services &,when you exit
from this the + feature is still active,this means that you can rewind,
ff or pause what you were viewing in the mini tv.The skyhd EPG is one
the best working & looking EPG`s currently on a hd box & more in-depth
than previously.Apparently some people are getting duff or "rogue" boxes,
I`ve read that it is possible to state the make of the box when you
purchase through Sky,don`t know if Amazon offer this option if they do,
then it`s down to the buyer(go on line to find the sort-after names).
If you don`t have reliability issues("rogue box"),& have good leads,you
will not be to disappointed,4 stars *ONLY* because,Sky+ is still quite good,
I`ve just notice that sky+ & skyhd are now nearly the SAME price to buy from
amazon,makes this a 5 star product now.
Due to most of the bad reviews on skyhd before my original review(07-03-10),
I poorly neglected the wonderful remote that comes with this hd box.
Sky Remote - Ergonomics/Operation:
The remote has a plastic chrome effect on the top which gives it a more
expensive feel than it`s sky+ equivalent.This remote is sightly smaller than
the + remote,making it a little less bulky in-hand.Most of your main buttons
are in the middle of the remote great for,"Comfort of Use".What you don`t want
is to have some,or all of these buttons at the bottom this,would make it
awkward & top-heavy.Sky`s remote`s seem able to operate most tv `s,even if
your tv is not on the sky tv remote control list!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
One year Review(19/11/10):
"Sky have the WORST Customer Service In The UK,Bar-None"!
I was going to put my own experiences down,just google it,you will see for
yourself.Let`s not forget the reason of course that freesat/view is taking
We have not had to call out an engineer,what-so-ever because of our hd box.
Our Samsung box has been fairly reliable(touch wood).We have never really
used all of the disc space(160GB)but,fitting a larger hdd is suppose to be
straight forward.I CAN see why freesat/view is doing so well(if you read
the reviews on here)but,sky has one major point over freesat,this is you
CAN use any sky set top box as a.."Freesat receiver"!..£20 for 3yrs when I
did it &,you do get 2/3 more(at the time of writing)free hd channels than
freesat/view.There is now over 50 hd channels available on skyhd(the most
in Europe),& with more hd channels been added on a fairly regular basis,
sky`s your limit(er).Over the last 12 months sky have now added a 3Dtv
It`s not the cheapest,it`s not the best looking,it`s not the most reliable,
sky`s customer service isn`t a service(it`s a dis-service!)but,if you want
by far the best hd tv in this country,get a skyhd box,"It`s Still 5 Stars".
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.
on 21 July 2010
I have had 2 SKY HD boxes, the first being the Samsung box. This would, as many reviewers have put previously, turn off randomly, freeze the picture, not record programs, etc, etc. I complained to SKY who sent an engineer with a replacement box which was PACE. Since then, trouble free viewing with football looking ultra realistic now in HD. Without the technical snags of the first box I would have given 5 stars as movies and sport in HD take your TV (we have a Panasonic) to the next level!!
on 25 January 2009
A word of warning to all those thinking about Sky HD. The HD boxes and customer service are rubbish! I've had Sky HD for over a year and am on my 4th box. The latest one I had to buy as Sky ignored the faults I reported within the warranty period and to cap it all I had to wait over 2 weeks without any Sky! Still waiting to have the conversation with them about compensation. I must have been mad to buy another box and commit to another 12 months. The latest box has never worked properly and I've spent hours on the phone to Sky, one call was 56 minutes, only to be past from one department to another, no one can help. I've submitted a couple of complaints via the Sky website, got acknowledgements and a promise of a "personal reply as soon as possible" but still nothing after 8 days!
This is supposed to be Sky's premium service - don't think so.
Morale of this story, think carefully before buying HD, if you do buy I really hope you have better luck and Service than I'm getting.
on 12 January 2009
I got a brand new Sky +HD box installed and before the day was out it had failed! First sign of trouble was that when I tried to watch a programme I had recorded the box switched itself off. I had to disconnect it from the power for two minutes before the box would function again. However the picture kept freezing when I was watching the recording, again requiring unplugging etc. Then later that day when I went to change channel, the box would not respond - again a power off. Finally I had programmed it to record a programme when I was out. On returning home it had not recorded and would not record when I tried a manual record. I tried unplugging it again, this time it would not come out of standby mode. I phoned Sky went through their troubleshooting (repeating the unplugging, then unplugging both power and Sat cable feeds and finally trying to force reboot it). Nothing worked. I had to wait 9 weeks from ordering to get the box, now I have another week to wait to get it replaced. The box I was supplied with was made by Amstrad (although I had been told that it would be Samsung, Thompson or Pace) - bad news as the only other Sky digibox that has ever failed on me was an Amstrad. The Pace boxes (both standard and Sky +) that I have had, have never given me any trouble.
During the few hours my Sky +HD box worked, I have to say I was underwhelmed by the improvement in the picture on my LG 37inch HD (1080P) LCD TV. Not sure if this is because HD is over rated or my TV does a better than average job of upscaling SD broadcasts.
I will give this one more go, but if my replacement box gives trouble I will be asking for my money back and reverting to my 100% reliable Pace Sky + box.
on 17 August 2011
If I was to highlight all the problems that my 5 Sky+ HD boxes have caused I'd be here all day and honestly, you wouldn't believe some of the problems they're so rediculous. However, in essence:
1. They start to switch off mid-use for no reason (no - not power saving).
2. They suddenly turn black and white
3. Recording stops working or works intermittently
4. They're noisy
Add to this Sky Customer Services is absolutely shocking (not the product's fault) and it's the worst hardware / software proposition I've ever seen.
Also, if anyone has one of these and their Samsung TV starts playing up IT'S NOT THE TELEVISION! The boxes can actually affect the television, ranging from a crackle when the TV starts up, loss of sound, several restarts until the TV stays on and even odd colour issues. Again, I appreciate this sounds like the TV is broken but I tried my PS3, Revo Media centre and a dedicated bluray player (same HDMI ports / leads and different combinations) and all the others were fine and had no adverse affect. Add the Sky+ HD box and BLAM - Tv starts having issues again.
What an absolute disgrace of a product!