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Good substitute for Sky+?

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by Grand Dizzy, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. Grand Dizzy

    Grand Dizzy
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    I'm sorry but I'm not paying £10 a month (plus £100 installation) just to be able to record to hard drive when there are other hard drive recorders on the market.

    But... which one to get? Any thoughts? I'd like at least 160gb, other than that have no idea what to look for. One with an easily replaceable hard drive would be ideal. (Is there such a thing?)

    I'm going to get Sky digital instead. It's not that bad... is it? Any Sky+ owners think it is worth the extra £10 a month? Is Sky digital the same in all other aspects, apart from no recording/pause features?

    And finally... anyone know the best way to set up Sky and a hard drive recorder in tandem (cables?). I would like to output using composite cables. This possible?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. Nick_UK

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    I couldn't be without my Sky+ box now. Yeah, sure you can record off a digibox with a hard drive or DVD recorder, but you don't get a week's listings and a one-button record setting, you can't watch one TV prog whilst watching a second one, no 5.1 Dolby sound on the movie channels. If I want to record a programme on my Sky+ box, I can set it up in seconds, and I don't have to worry about what all my other AV stuff is doing, as long as the Sky+ box is powered and has a signal, I know it's going to record what I want. And oh yes, no "Series link" on anything else :thumbsup:
     
  3. Rob20

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    Assuming you have Sky already, don't you have any of the premium channels? if so sky waive the £10 fee. If you have the £19 100+ channels pack, pay for a movie channel and get sky+.
     
  4. Starburst

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    First the £10 a month fee is only if you don't have at least two Premium SKY channels (movies or sports) and SKY+ is far more than a HD recorder, its a two tuner bitstream recorder with DD5.1 capability and full integrated EPG and once you use it you'll wonder how you ever put up with a VCR or other two box solution:)

    You say you are going to get SKY D instead?
    Well if you have never had SKY D before then you would qualify for the deals for new customers listed on the SKY website. SKY+ for £99 with free standard installation with the SKYworld package so no additional £10 sub for SKY+ as long as you don't downgrade to a cheaper packge without two premium channels.

    From a personal point of view only....
    I paid the additional £10 for two years then upgraded my sub to get the £10 waived, would not hesitate to downgrade and then pay the £10 again, SKY+ is THAT good:)
    Mind you that's not going to stop me getting a DTT HD twin tuner recorder sometime in the new year:)
     
  5. ianh64

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    Well I've got series link on my Loewe D-TV tuner recording to DR+ (harddisc), DVD-R or VCR and thats Freeview and free :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  6. Grand Dizzy

    Grand Dizzy
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    What's a series link?

    Hmm, Sky+ sounds great! I just don't think I'm rich enough to afford it. £10 a month is a lot of money. Maybe I'll upgrade if I get a raise! :)

    I asked the woman on the phone and she said that if I wanted to upgrade to Sky+ within the first year I could do so at only the cost of the hardware. Since I'm not paying anything for the Sky Digital installation or hardware then I may as well start off with that I guess.

    I've never had Sky before. Never been able to afford it; this is my first time.

    I don't want any premium channels. If I'm going to watch a movie (which is rare) I'll rent it, or buy it. And anyway you get plenty of movies on BBC and ITV, so that'll do me. But I don't really have time for watching movies. And I hate sports. And anyway, to get Sky+ you need to subscribe to two or more premium channels. £19.50 a month is more than I'd like to be paying. I remember why Sky was about £10 a month. That's more like the package I'm looking for! :)
     
  7. Nick_UK

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    Series link is where you can set the box to record the same programme every day, week, month, or whatever, i.e. Neighbours every day, or Coronation St. twice a week. You only set the first programme, the box does the rest for you.
     
  8. ianh64

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    There are a few Freeview PVR's now.

    The original is the Pace Twin which I have. The user interface is very good and excellent PQ, but a few software problems have tainted an overall excellent product - my box gets better each software update and alot of people havn't noticed the issues. It has harddisc capacity for about 10 hours of TV (more than ample for me) which can be archived off to tape, DVD etc. It can also record radio and you get many more hours recording for that. The harddisc can be user upgraded to a larger size. It can record and play at the same time and, having two tuners, you can watch one program and record another. You can't however record two different programs to hard disc at the same time. The Pace 7 day EPG uses than standard Freeview EPG data and is easy to use and, once loaded, quick to access. You can also pause live TV and start it again later - so if someone rings or you need a comfort break, you don't miss anything. Cost is now significantly less than £200.

    I think the other manufacturers that so similar units are Humax, Thompson and Panasonic, there may be more. Some have only single tuners, some use non standard EPG data, others larger harddiscs for extra recording (some via offline compression that takes time to perform) and some may beable to record two programs at once.

    I don't think that there is a perfect one do you would need to check what options each has.
     
  9. blindlemon

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    Get a TiVo :smashin:

    Works fine with Sky, upgradeable to 600gb capacity (2x300gb drives), Mode 0 recording is virtually indistinguishable from the live feed, 21 day searchable EPG with Season Passes (better than Series Link), Wishlists, network to your PC for direct extraction to DVD, etc. etc.

    If you keep your eyes peeled a standard TiVo can be got for around £300-350 with a lifetime subscription (so no monthly fee) from eBay. Hard drives are cheap and all the info you need to upgrade is available free from the UK TiVo Forum :clap: :thumbsup:
     
  10. silent ninja

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    I second all the good things said about Sky+. Its a revelation how good this thing really is. Its soo simply to operate straight out the box, you don't need a manual.

    I've had an Amstrad fitted couple days, recorded all sorts of stuff. One recording did fail however, it froze on a blue screen but thankfully that was at the end of the programme. I'm not much of a tv addict, if anything i view tv lightly, avg 1.5hrs hours a day if that (mainly due to football matches). The reason for getting Sky+ was for the convenience of watching programs i want, when i want.

    The ability to record one channel while watching another, or even record two channels at the same time, as well as pausing/rewinding live programmes, together with Sky's excellent EPG schedule (including series links), coupled with a fantastically easy to use system, sets this box clearly apart.
     
  11. blindlemon

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    I assume you work for Sky then? :devil:

    The Sky/Sky+ EPG is pants and I've never heard anybody say otherwise.

    Series Links suck - everybody says so.

    If you want a proper, searchable EPG with proper Season Passes (like Series Links, but better - and they work) - get a TiVo :smashin:

    The only thing that sets Sky+ apart is the millions of £££ spent advertising it.

    Functionally, it is inferior in almost every respect to a TiVo. The only possible advantages it has are 5.1 dolby (yeah right!), direct recording (not really an advantage when you don't want to waste the full bitrate recording The Simpsons for the kids though!) and dual record - which most people will actually use once in a blue moon.

    Still, I guess with enough suckers around, Murdoch will continue to rake in the cash with this second rate piece of junk.
     
  12. silent ninja

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    second rate piece of junk? suckers? well i guess there must be a lot of "suckers" on this forum then!

    btw dual recording, or watching one channel whilst recording another, I use quite often. And i'm guessing a lot of other ppl do also.

    Maybe the Tivo is better but Sky+ is not far behind and is very userfriendly. Calling it a piece of junk is an overstatement.

    I'm just sorry i never asked for your amazing insight beforehand, what a waste of money.... :suicide:
     
  13. blindlemon

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    Ahh well, that's the power of advertising.

    Never mind - when you get fed up with it crashing and losing your recordings, some kind soul may give you £50 for it on eBay :)

    You'll have to stump up another £200 for a used TiVo though - as 4 year old machines are currently selling for the same price or higher than a year ago...

    That's the power of word of mouth, based on what the box really does - rather than what the advert says :lesson:
     
  14. Rob

    Rob
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    Not a big sky fan then ? :rolleyes:

    However I agree to some degree. I don't have any experience of the EPG or how it works but I do currently have a TiVo, which I love. A dual-tuner one however would be exellent. I like the idea of $ky+, but would grudge the monthly cost for the family pack,which I would have as I wouldn't want any of the premium channels. The fee is unjustified I think, as they make enough money from thier subsribers as it is.

    There are a few freeview PVRs coming over the next few months with dual tuners. This will probably be what I end up going for.I would certainly miss the season pass/ wishlist features in TiVo though. I'm surprised nobody else has used this, as yet anyway.

    Cheers Rob.
     
  15. blindlemon

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    Sky is what it is - and I have Sky Digital for use with one of my TiVos. Unfortunately, whatever you think of Murdoch, if you want/need the channels which only Sky has, then you have no choice. I'm not in the business of cutting off my nose to spite my face, so I grit my teeth and pay up.

    The Sky/Sky+ EPG is still pants though! Thank God I never have to use it :laugh:

    I have 2 TiVos in my lounge and each has over 100 Season Passes/Wishlists setup :D :D :smashin:

    Have you tried an Advanced Wishlist yet? With these you can enter literally hundreds of keywords, actors' or directors' names and group them as one 'genre' - eg. a bunch of French actresses and directors, and a few keywords like "fils", "jardin" etc. and there you have your "French Films" wishlist :)

    You can then assign this complete genre a priority in the Season Pass Manager. I have a load of them - "Quality Films", "A List Actors", "French Films", "B List Actors", "C List Actors" etc. etc. :thumbsup:
     
  16. neilneil

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    Blindlemon,
    Tivo may well be better than sky+ in many areas but it is a stalled product where Sky+ is still being made and developed. The product must be developed to compete with other PVR's and DTT pvrs or sky will lose market share and subscribers to DTT.
    Tivo or Thompson stopped making hardware a while ago and Tivo are showing little committment to yhe UK market other than keeping existing subscribers going with program schedules.

    I liked Tivo a lot but the product is currently going nowhere with minimal support from Tivo.
    I actually think 5.1 sound is a worthwhile feature.
    Just my thoughts, however, you are obvoiusly very happy with your Tivo product.

    -Neil
     
  17. blindlemon

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    TiVo in the US is far from a stalled product. Multi-room, MP3, JPEG, TiVo-to-go....

    But in the UK, what you say is very true - sadly. There is a ray of hope though, in that TiVo's CEO recently said TiVo had plans to expand in China, Japan, and the UK - and TiVo UK have recently upgraded all their backend servers. Now why would they do that if they were just waiting for the existing TiVo subscribers to fall by the wayside?

    Nevertheless, I'd still rather have the best PVR, by far, now (even if it is a couple of years old) than a shiny, new, but still second-rate imitation like Sky+.

    5.1 sound may be important to a few people - but that's not a reason to buy a second-rate PVR. If you must have 5.1 sound then get a Sky+ box and use it to record the 3 films a month transmitted with 5.1 sound - and the rest of the time use it as a feed for your TiVo :)
     
  18. windfall

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    I dont like sky very much and tomorrow I will receive my 4th sky+ box in the 12 months that I have had it - but it has changed the way we watch TV in that its easy to use (totally wife proof) and dual recording with the pause features makes life very easy.

    I wish there was an alternative though but whilst there isnt its the easiest option I have seen.

    Tone
     
  19. neilneil

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    I'd love a PVR with the features that the 2nd generation Tivo 2 has.
    Especially if it could record direct from the data stream like sky+ ie max quality for disk space and DD 5.1 but sky would never release a cam to allow that. :mad:
    I really hope that Tivo is kick started again in the UK so the other PVRs have a good yardstick to measure themselves by.

    -Neil
     
  20. boff

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    I've had sky. And apart from the aparent advantages of S+ I got rid of it as soon as the contract expired. I watch Digital TV on a Nokia 221 currently and find I have enough choice and NO cost. Most of the time Sky was rubbish and I feel no loss.

    For movies I buy the DVD and watch it allways with digital sound.

    So I also need a twin recorder - I'm very tempted by the Panasonic TUTCH100 coming out in Jan aparently at £250
     
  21. mc1

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    Lol, listen to all the Tivo fan boys dissing people for buying a Sky+.

    Sky + is great, the dual tuner aspect of it especially, TIVO can't compete with that.

    Yes TIVO's season pass feature is really good but WAKE UP -TIVO's are no longer for sale and the only ones you can buy are 3 years or older battered models on ebay.

    The arguments for getting a TIVO would very well be valid if you could by a new one with warrenty etc. But you can't for now at least and that reason alone makes sky+ the better choice for most. Unfortunately if you can't get or don't want sky the choices currently available are pretty poor in my opinion.
     
  22. Grand Dizzy

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    Well, I think I'm going to get a TiVo. Sounds like my sort of thing. I would probably have gone for Sky+ if it hadn't been for the high subscription cost. Despite the negative things said about it here, I like the sound of it, since it's an all-in-one system and you don't lose picture quality by feeding the picture through two sets of cables before it reaches your screen. I also like the way the recording is integrated into the on-screen TV guide, so recording is ultra-easy. Ease of use was one of the main reasons I wanted Sky+ (to avoid all the fuss you get with finding space on a VCR tape!).

    NB: I'm looking for ease of use, not necessarily ease of setup. I love setting up equipment, I just want to be able to record programmes quickly when they come on!
     
  23. Rob

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    Each to thier own, of course! There is no denying Sky+ is a great product, its just the subscription thing that sticks in people throats (mine anyway) for anything but premium channels.Whether you can afford it or not its a bugbear.

    For the time being I'll slum it with my freeview/ Tivo :zonked:

    Cheers Rob.
     
  24. blindlemon

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    TiVo is easier :)

    If you don't do anything at all it starts to record programmes for you of its own accord :smashin:

    Then, depending which ones you watch, and whether you give any it has recorded a ThumbsUp or a ThumbsDown, it will adjust what it records automatically :cool:

    Many people who own and use TiVos just let the TiVo decide what to record, and are very happy with that. Others, who prefer a bit more control, can use advanced features such as Wishlists and Season Passes etc. - all driven from the 21-day searchable EPG :clap:
     
  25. blindlemon

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    That's a bit like saying you won't buy a 3 year old M3 because the only new alternative is a Lada :suicide:

    (no disrespect to Lada owners - but an alternative to an M3 they ain't!)

    As for the warranty issue - 99% of TiVo faults are caused by a failing hard drive (preconfigured replacements easily available on eBay, with fitting instructions etc.) or a worn out Power Supply (also easily available for around £16 and fitted in about 5 minutes with no soldering required).

    Oh yes, and there's the UK TiVo forum if you have any questions or need some advice. Gotta be the fastest, friendliest forum around (just look how fast questions get answered!) - and with some very knowlegeable members, too ;) :)
     
  26. dmw

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    Do you work for Tivo then? I thought Tivo had all but sunk without trace.

    Recently got sky+ and it has worked perfectly, series link and all.

    :smoke:
     
  27. Tyke

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    While I am no Murdoch fan I recently went from Telewest Cable TV to Sky+ and I have found the series link to perform flawlessly.
    Considering I am paying the same for Sky+ as I did for no PVR Telewest cable which had many niggling issues that they could not resolve I consider it £99 well spent. I have found the record quality and live pause excellent.
    I can just about detect the drive noise from the Amstrad box they supplied and it is mildly annoying, but as network designer with far too many years spent in the presence of hard drives I am bound to be sensitive to their noises.
     
  28. swarrans

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    I'm a Tivo devotee too, but there is one aspect about it which will cause me to change allegence WHEN/IF a suitable alternative becomes available, and that's picture quality. If you have a large screen/plasma you WILL notice a
    deterioration due to the processing of the signal.
    Blindlemon is very knowledgeable and helpful and there are things you can do to help it (Mode 0 for the initiated!) but I still haven't been able to get mine to give an equivalent degree of quality to the "pure" signal.
    Still, Tivo is everything that has been said in this thread and more - we devotees pray on a daily basis that some big name electronics manufacturer will do in the UK what they have done in the US!...

    Simon
     

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