Is the Amstrad the best HD box?

Chadford

Distinguished Member
Spoke to guy at Sky yesterday, he seemed pretty knowledgeable about what's going on at Sky. I asked him his opinion about what box was best. He claimed that the Amstrad box was the pick of the bunch, he claimed that Sky had had a big input into the build of this box and have done a really good job.

I've always associated Amstrad with cheap junk so this came as a bit of a surprise.

Any words of wisdom on this matter anyone?
 

Steve N

Distinguished Member
The "which Box" question has been beaten to death on here as you'll see if you do a search.

The concensus seems to be that all boxes can be problematic, BUT - there are plenty of owners who have had no issues at all whatever the brand.

Where preferences have been discussed, the Amstrad usually comes out bottom of the list though.
 

Chadford

Distinguished Member
...he also mentioned that the Amstrad has the best reliability based on the percentage of users reporting faults.
 

airjaff

Active Member
...he also mentioned that the Amstrad has the best reliability based on the percentage of users reporting faults.

Amstrad might be the most reliable, but hasnt got verry good picture quality, plus the contrast is stuck on high when you watch hdmi.
 

x6461

Active Member
Having emailed Jeremy Darroch I had a call from CS and amongst some of the things I was told was the fact that the Amstrad was the only box built from the ground up to work with the new epg hence why its permance is not as good currently.The Amstrad is expected to be superior in performance to all other boxes once it has the new epg.He also told me that the intention is to disable the contast option on all boxes in the future.

He refused to give a date for the new epg on the Amstrad all he did say was that as it was the newest box it would the last get the new epg.
 

Hillsman

Active Member
Sky will say that though, they own amstrad dont they, if not they have major input?

I think Pace is the best box but its down to the individual i guess.
 

x6461

Active Member
Sky do indeed own Amstrad I brought this up as I was questioning why the contrast issue had not been fixed when they owned the company,I was simply told that they had only a few complaints and hence did not see it as a problem.

I can only repeat what I was told all I can say is that if you email Jeremy Darroch then you will get a call from some high up enough in Sky to know what they are talking about.
 

Hillsman

Active Member
Sky do indeed own Amstrad I brought this up as I was questioning why the contrast issue had not been fixed when they owned the company,I was simply told that they had only a few complaints and hence did not see it as a problem.

I can only repeat what I was told all I can say is that if you email Jeremy Darroch then you will get a call from some high up enough in Sky to know what they are talking about.


It makes sense for Sky to push "thier" HD box above all others though, hence IMO thats why they are saying what they are.

I have a pace box which im very happy with, got the recall letter last week but will only let it go for another pace. Sent a email to Mr Darroch waiting for a reply.
 

Silver Serpent

Well-known Member
They're going to say they are the pick of the bunch at the moment because nobody wants one due to the contrast setting being stuck on HIGH, hence the picture being ruined.

I wouldn't go near one of them until that is corrected.

The word is spreading with regards this issue, hence SKY being left with a surplus of Amstrad boxes that they need to shift.

If I was to go for a new box, it would be a Pace.
 

x6461

Active Member
Myself I am just waiting now for this epg.

If it does not perform as expected and correct the contrast issue then as I told them I will be contacting them for a new box and I expect lots of other Amstrad owners with the same problem will do the same.
 

RostokMcSpoons

Active Member
Can I ask a (potentially thick) question or two?

1) I asked the Sky sales guy about the contrast issue, and he was confused. He went through the options (via the new EPG, so it must have been a Thomson box?) and only found the Menu contrast control (that's also in my Sky+ EPG)

He changed the setting and the menu's contrast changed, but the main picture contrast didn't. So if I get to play with another HD box, where's the option we're talking about here?

2) Isn't it moot anyway? Can't the high contrast from the box be (effectively) overridden by lowering the contrast on the telly to counteract it? Or is it more fundamental than that?
 

HD sceptic

Active Member
The Amstrad might be statistically the most reliable for 2 reasons.
It is the most recent box to be released, so there are fewer out there to go wrong, and as it has been out for the shortest time there has been less time for any faults to become apparent.

Plus it has been pointed out that Sky now own Amstrad, so they will obviously push their own product, and possibly in future we might see Amstrad being the only manufacturer of BskyB's equipment.
 

Silver Serpent

Well-known Member
Can I ask a (potentially thick) question or two?

1) I asked the Sky sales guy about the contrast issue, and he was confused. He went through the options (via the new EPG, so it must have been a Thomson box?) and only found the Menu contrast control (that's also in my Sky+ EPG)

He changed the setting and the menu's contrast changed, but the main picture contrast didn't. So if I get to play with another HD box, where's the option we're talking about here?

2) Isn't it moot anyway? Can't the high contrast from the box be (effectively) overridden by lowering the contrast on the telly to counteract it? Or is it more fundamental than that?

The picture contrast changes according to what is selected, i.e. Low, Medium or High.

If the contrast is too High at the source (causing white clipping), then there is nothing you can do at your display end to get that lost detail back.

However, if you own a Panasonic Pro Panel with an Input Level adjustment control, it may be possible to correct it that way, but for the majority of people out there with consumer sets, there is nothing you can do.
 

HD sceptic

Active Member
Isn't it moot anyway? Can't the high contrast from the box be (effectively) overridden by lowering the contrast on the telly to counteract it? Or is it more fundamental than that?

The picture will look washed out on the high setting.

If you change the contrast of the TV then you might be able to get a more suitable picture, but when you change the input to DVD or game console the picture will become very dark, and you will just end up resetting the contrast every time you want to switch between sky and your other devices.
 

Silver Serpent

Well-known Member
Having emailed Jeremy Darroch I had a call from CS and amongst some of the things I was told was the fact that the Amstrad was the only box built from the ground up to work with the new epg hence why its permance is not as good currently.The Amstrad is expected to be superior in performance to all other boxes once it has the new epg.He also told me that the intention is to disable the contast option on all boxes in the future.

He refused to give a date for the new epg on the Amstrad all he did say was that as it was the newest box it would the last get the new epg.

Did he give any indication as to when the contrast option would be disabled and if it would be an over-the-air thing or just be applied to future receiver builds?
 

Jaycee Dove

Active Member
Well the new EPG software actually fixes the contrast settings on the Pace - which were previously so far apart that only Medium was useful. Luckily that was perfect.

So why go to the trouble of fixing this with the new EPG when it was not a problem (far, far, far fewer people will have complained about it than Amstrad's as that is stuck on a very inappropriate setting) if they were imminently due to disable contrast altogether?
 

Silver Serpent

Well-known Member
Well the new EPG software actually fixes the contrast settings on the Pace - which were previously so far apart that only Medium was useful. Luckily that was perfect.

So why go to the trouble of fixing this with the new EPG when it was not a problem (far, far, far fewer people will have complained about it than Amstrad's as that is stuck on a very inappropriate setting) if they were imminently due to disable contrast altogether?

Seeing as the contrast feature wasn't functioning correctly on the Pace, they probably decided to fix it so it reflects the behaviour of the Thomsons and the Samsung.

If each manufactured box contrast setting behaves in the same way, then some are of the opinion that the Medium setting clips white and see Low as the correct setting, therefore it gives people who believe the latter that choice, whereas before the upgrade it didn't as it was far too low.

Perhaps the removal of the contrast setting won't apply to current receiver builds, but future ones only, which would be a good thing for anyone who has had an ISF calibration as the image sent after the removal may not reflect that of the contrast parameter the calibration was performed on, hence throwing it off.

I hope it's removed on future builds with everything done correctly at the source. There is no need for it on a HD box as standard digital signals are designed to not clip white.

That way the best image will be shown on screen and we won't have to wreck our heads deciding what contrast setting is best to use for optimum viewing.
 

x6461

Active Member
Did he give any indication as to when the contrast option would be disabled and if it would be an over-the-air thing or just be applied to future receiver builds?

Sorry no he simply said that in the future the intention is to disable the contrast feature in the new epg.
 

Giblets

Active Member
Glad to see some more Amstrad threads here, I hope what they say about the box being suited to the new EPG is true!
 

richest

Member
Hi, come someone tell me... are the various HD boxes made with the same brand of components...disk drive, capacitors power supply etc. I realise that Sky specify the design, but i was wondering why some boxes according to forum posters say that ie. Thomson use cheap under powered capacitors.

Is this true or a myth/

I have been allocated 2 x new Amstrad boxes to replace by 14 month old failing Thomson boxes. I will only get 3 months warranty on them though.
 

PE06MCG

Active Member
Currently got an Amstrad, previously had a Pace.

Both the same (with the exception that Amstrad easier to upgrade HDD).

Got to assume other manufacturers will meet same Sky specification so my opinion is it doesnt matter.
 

mad steve

Well-known Member
Currently got an Amstrad, previously had a Pace.

Both the same (with the exception that Amstrad easier to upgrade HDD).

Got to assume other manufacturers will meet same Sky specification so my opinion is it doesnt matter.


Totally agree mate,iv just had my crappy thomson box replaced today ,with its never ending ticker bar flicker,goin into stand by mode,failed recordings,crackiling box ?,terrible sound sync.SLOW menu (new one).:thumbsdow

Now i have a new Amstrad,and its loads better ,pic looks alot cleaner,menu is way faster (saying that its the old one lol).Ticker bar doesnt flicker,asnt gone in to stand by yet,and as for the high contrast issue ,i had it on high on my old one so its not an issue for me.

Anyhow i also get 3 months longer cover ,my 12 months are up this month .so so far looking good :smashin:
 

zman

Standard Member
Currently got an Amstrad, previously had a Pace.

Both the same (with the exception that Amstrad easier to upgrade HDD).

Silverfox2,

Can I ask why you say that it;s easier to updrade the HDD in the Amstrad? Also can I ask what HDD you used?

I want to upgrade mine but there arn't many people on here who have talked about doing it on an Amstrad.
 

Cavallino

Active Member
Totally agree mate,iv just had my crappy thomson box replaced today ,with its never ending ticker bar flicker,goin into stand by mode,failed recordings,crackiling box ?,terrible sound sync.SLOW menu (new one).:thumbsdow

Now i have a new Amstrad,and its loads better ,pic looks alot cleaner,menu is way faster (saying that its the old one lol).Ticker bar doesnt flicker,asnt gone in to stand by yet,and as for the high contrast issue ,i had it on high on my old one so its not an issue for me.

Anyhow i also get 3 months longer cover ,my 12 months are up this month .so so far looking good :smashin:

Elo mate,
When you said the EPG is the old one on the Amstrad, do you mean it is SD? Cause I have had my Amstrad box put in yesterday and noticed the EPG is rather blocky. But all the HD channels look lush!
Any thoughts?
 

Neville Street

Active Member
Silverfox2,

Can I ask why you say that it;s easier to updrade the HDD in the Amstrad? Also can I ask what HDD you used?

I want to upgrade mine but there arn't many people on here who have talked about doing it on an Amstrad.

Same question, and if possible a link to an Amstrad guide (I will search as well).

Just ordered my drive and cables, but I think my Dell has only one spare sata connection so may have to either buy a caddy or just format the drive and start from scratch, losing existing content.

Cheers, NS
 

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