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Amstrad Sky HD Box - DRX780UK

trip

Established Member
I had Sky HD installed last Saturday. I upgraded my existing Sky+ box (80GB Pace). The install was bang on time, easy enough with a semi-friendly engineer. He came in with the box and I ask what brand it was, to which he replied Amstrad. I explained I'd been looking around the net as to people's opinions on the best box. He said he can generally see little difference between them and that with Sky owning Amstrad this would be the norm. Of course, I was skeptical about this since I've been reading here quite a lot and Pace seems to be regarded as the best all round. I don't blame him, he probably didn't want to make things more difficult.

When he had set it up, the HD channels weren't functioning. Had me a little worried for a moment. He had a bit of rant about Sky workers not doing their job and phoned them up, and the problem was quickly resolved and the channels came on. One of the first I saw was Sky 1 HD with Futurama playing which I knew wouldn't be HD but was being shown in 4:3, which the engineer seemed surprised about and so phoned Sky again to see if it was a problem but they said it was normal.

Anyway I've got an Amstrad box. I didn't dispute it and just thought I'd give it a go. I was at least glad it wasn't Thomson which I heard a lot of negative things about. The model number is DRX780UK and it came in the Sky+ HD black/grey box. I've been using it since Saturday and the HD picture to me is excellent (particularly WWE on SS HD, Discovery HD, BBC HD, Rush HD channel etc). The SD is picture decent but not great, not as sharp or defined as my Sky + box I think. Nothing to complain too much about. The box is also very quiet so far, not noticable. I've noticed the menus seem to be faster than before which is a plus too.

So far so good. I just wonder if a Pace or Samsung would be giving me slightly better SD picture, but I won't worry about it too much. I was wondering if anybody else has experience with this box? What are the Amstrad boxes like in general or is it too soon to tell?
 

Zain

Established Member
Hi people

My Sky HD is being fitted as I type. Just wondered which box to go for. I've got a choice of the Amstrad or Samsung. I've gone for the Sammy but the Sky engineer seems to think the Amstrad is better / has less problems??

Anyone?

Thanks and sorry to crash your thread, just thought it would be sensible thing to do - rather than starting another.
 

Matt.Seymour

Standard Member
Hi
Had Sky HD installed on Tuesday,i opted for the Amstrad, similarly, having been "Advised" by the engineer, touch wood, the unit is quiet, and trouble-free so far!!
Some of the reviews that i have read recently, seem to veer towards the Amstrad, as i believe, that there have been problems, with Samsung boxes, overheating, and at times "Crashing".
Hope this helps.
 

RebelKC

Established Member
I got my Amstrad installed on the 16th and touch wood it seems fine.

Very quiet, and I found that the SD picture sharpened slightly by setting the output on the box to automatic and let the tv do the work.

I did a forced update (see my previous posts) and I have to say so far I am more than pleased with it :)
 

Matt.Seymour

Standard Member
Slightly off topic i know!! but
i thought that setting the box to 1080i was the best option?
Is there much of a difference if you select automatic?
 

RebelKC

Established Member
Slightly off topic i know!! but
i thought that setting the box to 1080i was the best option?
Is there much of a difference if you select automatic?

I found that setting it to 1080i blurred faces slightly.

Automatic is the recommended setting but everyone is different ...... play round like I did between the two to see what looks best to your eye :)
 

Zain

Established Member
Thanks for that guys.

Being a brand whore I've gone for the Samsung. Don't think I'll have an issue with overheating as there's plenty of ventilation around it.

Fingers crossed that it if it melts down it's within 12 months
 

dmaidmen

Established Member
I'm in the process of restoring my Thomson HD recordings to the Amstrad and noticed that its got a 320GB WD hard drive (model: WD3200AVJS). I wonder if the extra 20GB is available for recordings or if its split 50/50 with anytime or if its not available for use at all :p

Duncan
 

wicker.man

Standard Member
Initially, I was given an old (reconditioned) Thomson box when I had HD installed a week and a half ago. I complained to Sky that I had a second hand box, poorly installed (really poor signal quality, sometimes not even locked on) and it was replaced with a new Amstrad, which is great. The LNB was aligned properly too, and I've had no issues at all so far (3 days). Good picture and nice and fast.
 

dmaidmen

Established Member
I successfully migrated my recordings to the DRX780 from my old Thomson using copy+.

Initially having a lot of trouble as the box would fail to boot once the hard drive was restored. This was due to the fact that the Amstrad uses a small Endian CPU and the Thomson and other HD boxes (to my knowledge) all use big Endian. So if anyone else is going to perform a migration you will need to use the convert function built into copy+.

Regards,

Duncan
 

mattclarkie

Distinguished Member
I successfully migrated my recordings to the DRX780 from my old Thomson using copy+.

Initially having a lot of trouble as the box would fail to boot once the hard drive was restored. This was due to the fact that the Amstrad uses a small Endian CPU and the Thomson and other HD boxes (to my knowledge) all use big Endian. So if anyone else is going to perform a migration you will need to use the convert function built into copy+.

Regards,

Duncan

Strange that they would make such a major hardware revision as changing the Endian. From my experience with OS and Architecture it isn't a move you would make for no reason.
 

dmaidmen

Established Member
Strange that they would make such a major hardware revision as changing the Endian. From my experience with OS and Architecture it isn't a move you would make for no reason.

I agree its odd. I sent the author of copy+ the system files so he can update his users. Also the change in hard disk size is a little strange as well, I assume this is due to sourcing issues on 300GB drives. Still not sure if I actually get the extra 20GB.
 

adrianrash

Standard Member
Hi Chaps,
Just thought I give my review of these two boxes (Amstrad & Samsung) as I have had both. I had an Amstrad fitted on the 19th Dec and my thirst thoughts were that its quiet, goodish HD, no failed recordings, 70 signal strength etc. However i was not that convinced it was that sharp on SD. So after a month of playing with the settings i still thought that the SD could be better. So phoned Sky asked them if I could have new box (Samsung or Pace) and agreed to replace it. I had a Samsung fitted on 15th Jan and here's my thoughts

1) SD picture is 20-30% sharper with better colours
2) HD picture improved the same 20%
3) EPG is 50% faster
4) Signal 100% of both feeds

I have it set to 1080i so don't get the delay in switching from SD to HD and its spot on

Cant fault it the Samsung is in no dout better than the Amstrad, I don't care if people say that the Amstrad is quiet my top 3 I want from a box are picture quality sd & hd, response ie EPG, 100% recordings. The box needs to be quiet but its not the top 3 maybe 4-5

hope it helps
 

dmaidmen

Established Member
adrianrash,

Question 1: Do you know the exact model number of the Amstrad (from the System details screen)
Question 2: Do you have some sort of special contact at Sky that allows you to ring them up, order a new box and even specify the manufacturer you want?

Cheers,

Duncan
 

adrianrash

Standard Member
Why do you want to know the model, do you think i sat here and posted details on a box i never had? the box was upto date with the latest software,I take it you have a Amstrad box,

Answer to your other question, no i don't have a contact at Sky, but as with every install everyone can phone sky installations team the day before install and request the type of box, i was told it was going to be samsung, as it would of been stupid to sky to replace a amstrad with an amstrad, that was the original complaint

If you like your Amstrad then that's fine, but don't question my review of these boxes as that's the idea of forums, the Samsung is better than Amstrad full stop mate:hiya:
 

dmaidmen

Established Member
Blimey, Keep your shirt on! I can see why you are called adrianrash

There are two versions of DRX780 and I just wondered which one you had. I didn't for a minute think that you were lying epsically since you double posted ;)

I never had any luck with installations as I have must have had 10 installers and they are always sub contractors so what I ask the installations team never seems to get through.
 

zoonyx

Standard Member
Why do you want to know the model, do you think i sat here and posted details on a box i never had? the box was upto date with the latest software,I take it you have a Amstrad box,

Answer to your other question, no i don't have a contact at Sky, but as with every install everyone can phone sky installations team the day before install and request the type of box, i was told it was going to be samsung, as it would of been stupid to sky to replace a amstrad with an amstrad, that was the original complaint

If you like your Amstrad then that's fine, but don't question my review of these boxes as that's the idea of forums, the Samsung is better than Amstrad full stop mate:hiya:

I have a samsung and I love it, but you are a complete arse. :)

Have a nice day.
 

stockyvillage

Established Member
I have just had my original Thomson HD replaced with am Anstrad.The amstrad is quieter .But its broke already.No contrast.Blacks look like charcoal.So engineer coming to replace it tomorrow.SD is rubbish.My tv displays a more vibrant picture through digital.So the upscaling is crap on amstrad.I have HD since May 2006.So I know what the pic quality should be like
 

sk00v

Standard Member
I had an Amstrad installed at the weekend and am very happy with it up to now! I can't fault the picture, but I've no other box to compare it to ;)
The EPG is WAY faster than my Amstrad PVR3 that it's replaced.

I've just put in a 1TB HDD (Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ) with help from the great Copy+ software and for the 10mins I've had it running, it seems to work fine :)
 

smithy7

Standard Member
Hey sk00v :hiya:, I have just had an Amstrad HD box fitted & am dead keen to upgrade the HDD. How have you got on with the Sammy 1TB SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ??
Successful I hope :smashin:
Cheers
 

sk00v

Standard Member
Yep it's not given me any problems so far, so i think it's all good.

The only downside is it's a bit noisy compared to the old drive, but that could be because I've not tried the acoustic management yet. I think I'll try this over the weekend and post back the results on Monday.

Don't get me wrong, it's not REALLY noisy, but when you get a quiet bit in a film and if it's recording something else you can hear it clicking away from a few meters away.
 

smithy7

Standard Member
Thanks for posting back sk00v. That's great news. Will await your comments after the weekend and acoustic management tweaks.
 

Marky1973

Prominent Member
I had two Samsung boxes installed on Sunday morning and neither of them worked - the remote would not operate them - so having to wait to tomorrow to get a replacement.

While on the phone the contractor was told that this was a increasingly common complaint with the Samsung - so when the come tomorrow I don't think I will mind whether it is Amstrad or Samsung, as long as it works and the picture is okay.

I think, with a lot of things like this, the overal impression of the box or kit in question is going to be down to a lot of things including first impressions (mine was very poor), the quality of your signal and the broadcast (?), the display and seating distances? I am still convinced that some displays are going to struggle with SD because they are designed with HD in mind and the resolutions don't match up well. My Sharp only just manages 1080i, but was designed with SD in mind so the majority of SD pictures are crystal clear at my current settings and seating distances.

I guess what I am trying to say is the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I guess i will just get what I am given tomorrow and complain if I am not happy with the result......or something like that - guess I will stop waffling now and go back to work!:D
 

SteveG

Established Member
I had two Samsung boxes installed on Sunday morning and neither of them worked - the remote would not operate them - so having to wait to tomorrow to get a replacement.

When I had mine installed (1st attempt) he tried two Samsungs and the remote wouldn't work on one, the 2nd feed wouldn't work on the other. I've now got an Amstrad that works fine except for the contrast.
 

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