Sky+ 160 Comments

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by Crivens, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Crivens

    Crivens
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    Ok, so I've had Sky+ 160 installed. 1st impressions are that it looks alright, apart from the stupid large 160 logo on one side. You probably have seen the screenshots, and perhaps like me thought this was just a watermark on the picture, but no it really looks like that. Will look more stupid as 160Gb becomes pretty small. I know my old ninja pc upstairs looked like it's 1Gb of storage was boastable at the time... One small nice feature is the sky card is hidden behind a flap, so you can't see it.

    Anyhow, in actual use it's all very nice. I haven't used Sky+ before, and I am betting it is all absolutely the same as the normal boxes in terms of software. Whatever. It does it what it does perfectly well. Although I was slightly dissapointed to see that none of the menus etc seem to be any faster. I had the old Panasonic box, and it seems pretty similar for speed overall.

    I may also be seeing things that aren't there, but I'm pretty sure the picture quality is slightly worse. It may be because of the new LNB, or the new 160 box, I have no way of knowing, but the old panny box seemed crisp with almost every channel, where the new one seems to have some channels that look more like the low bandwidth ones (small amounts of pixilation etc.). Again, it might just be me looking for problems. Is also hard to compare with the old Panny box as its now on a 14" effort upstairs, with the 160 on my 36" downstairs.

    Another thing is the box *constantly* hums. I turned off the automatic rewind option, thinking that this would allow the HD to rest after a certain amount of time, but no such luck. It's not amazingly loud, and I cannot compare with older sky+ boxes, but it is annoyingly noticeable on lower volumes. Why exactly does it need to keep the HD cool when you are not using it? Assuming that without the rewind option it should have no reason to use the HD or the fan during normal TV watching (ie. no recording or playing). Perhaps it's to keep the HD ready to record (ie. spin up time), but I would prefer a slight pause before recording (say a couple of seconds or so) than a constant hum. Or least have the option.

    Interestingly the installer had a problem in the beginning with the second signal. He reckons these new ones are having teething problems and sometimes need the latest software update, or a couple of reboots (which fixed mine).

    Out of interest, do the Sky+ boxes get automatically updated even if they are on standby? And do they switch to automatically record when they are on standby too? At least then I can turn it off to shut it up overnight.

    Oh, and another thing I noticed was the series link. My old Panny, when the series link was pressed, used to put the green arrow icon there straight away (if applicable). This new box does that sometimes, but is more likely to come up with a dialog box saying it's searching for series link information. Something like 10 or 20 seconds sometimes go by before it comes back saying it failed to get the information. Press it again and it works. Hmmmm.... Anyone have any ideas on that one? Does it get better after a few days of caching the TV guide etc?

    Cheers
     
  2. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Yes the 160 logo would be enough for me not to buy the unit:)
    Menu speeds, well you probably had the fastest make on the market and even the 160 was probably built to a budget, the PQ again is down to the individual components used by Thomsons, the Pana may just be better or you are simply used to a particular processing look.

    The HD only spins down when the box is in standby, any hum should then be coming from the fan, it's temp controlled and should only be spinning when required. However all SKY+ units are sensitive to their enviroment, far more so than a standard digibox or a VCR.

    No worries about the OS updates, SKY+ is still virtually fully functional even in stanby, it is still aware of the default transponder and will update as and when it's told too.
    It will record when in standby via planner entries and process series links etc etc.

    My SKY+ (unmodified v1) has started to take a few seconds to find a series link and sometimes requires a second attempt, didn't used to but perhaps additional capabilites from various upgrades make the searching less of a priority than it used to be.
     
  3. Crivens

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    Hmmm. Not 100% happy about the noise. With rewind functionality turned off, then I cannot see why the fan has to be always on. There is no reason why the hard drive cannot be stopped when you are not recording or playing back a recording. My old digital box didn't need a fan, so why should Sky+ once the HD is stopped (or is it ever stopped?) My laptop doesn't have the fan/ HD constantly running for example. Even without the noise issue, I wouldn't be happy with the amount of extra power and stress the drive/ fan will be going through for no good reason. Unless someone can point me in a different direction then I will put it down to extremely sloppy programming (I earn a living as a programmer, and have written some pretty sloppy efforts myself) that they can't be bothered coding some decent fan/ HD management software. If the worst that will happen is it will take a few seconds to spin the HD up to speed then so be it (or let it be a user option). At least put the HD into park after a decent period of idle use (ie. only watching TV, nothing else). Not exactly hard.

    Since there is probably zero chance of Sky updating the software to a decent level, then has anyone any advice on sound proofing the box? Pref without invalidating the warranty, but whatever really.

    Cheers
     
  4. Starburst

    Starburst
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    The fan will run if the internal temp is too high, it's that simple, most units probably do not have the fan running at all. I know mine doesn't but it has always been in a very well ventilated and cool room, the SKY+ hasn't really been designed well enough to stick in the same place as a VCR used to be!

    Personally I would rather have the HD spinning 24/7, reduces start up stress and thermal calibration issues and unfortunatley there were a rash of failures after SKY introduced the spin down when going into standby.


    Have you rebooted the box?
    The fan spins 24/7 by default the first time it is switched on, rebooting a second time should (assuming no temp issues) should make the fan operate correctly.
     
  5. Crivens

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    Hmmm. Sounds interesting. Will try rebooting then. And my box has loads of space around it with no reason to overheat. It just constantly hums from when you switch it on till you turn it off. Seriously annoying. As to the start up stress, most laptops (esp. Centrinos) need the fan only now and again, not all the time. Can't see how the technology can be much different. And considering the amount of space in a laptop (check inside one, there is not much room in there) I would assume the Sky+ box has a fair bit more room for natural cool down, just by using air. Unless they use some pretty rubbish hard drives. Even this computer, with 2 10kRPM SATA Raptor drives running in a RAID 0 array doesn't make as much noise as the Sky+ box (when it is sitting there just showing stuff on the screen). A computer has more of a soft aircon like noise, whereas the Sky+160 sounds more like a fly. I've worked with computers for yonks, so perhaps I am becoming immune to their noise perhaps...

    Cheers
     
  6. CLH

    CLH
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    Similar comments on the fan here. It is certainly a little loud!

    On the "plus" side I can say that:

    1. It has better PQ than a V1 box.
    2. Menu navigation is quicker.
    3. It IS nicer looking aside from that damn 160.

    Interestingly my input 2 was missing until a reboot.
     
  7. Crivens

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    I'm pretty sure the PQ is about the same now I've managed to get over my initial worries :)

    It is def. better looking and smaller than my old Panny box, apart from the 160 logo. Maybe someone will find if you can take away the clear plastic in front of it then get rid of the stupid thing. Honestly, it's clear that Sky has absolutely no idea. I mean anyone who has even owned a computer for the last couple of decades knows that boasting (which is what it looks like) about speed or size will only make you look stupid in a few months. Hell, you will be able to get a 100Gb Mpeg player in a few months. Good marketing scam though. Bring out a 500Gb model in a year or two then you will *have* to get a new one to hide the shame of the 160 on the side. Might as well have painted it orange or something... does look out of place with the rest of the equipment I must admit.

    As to the menu speeds, it seems pretty similar to my old Panny standard box. I've heard other boxes such as the Pace were really slow, but this just feels like my old Panny box with a HD. Which is fine.

    Oh, and the reboot didn't stop the hum. It is always on as always. I mean it never shuts up. Until about 30 secs after a shutdown. Does your 160 ever stop humming?

    Cheers
     
  8. Texet

    Texet
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    Just got a 160 box from Sky. Humming and buzzing away like a mad-thing. G.F already up in arms so looks like it will be going back, and my (broken) Pace V1 returning into play. At least it was quiet. Might try one 160 replacement from Sky, but posts here and in digital forum suggest this is unlikely to help. A design flaw in the box, compounded by the lack of s/w to turn the fan off. Shame. I figure they will only fix it if enough get sent back. At £350 a pop - that adds up.
     
  9. Roger G Cam

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    There are a series of posts in "another place" that suggest that the noise drops over time. To be fair older boxes of any version seem to be quieter.

    The Input 2 thing - lots of people reporting this - I suspect it is only picked up when needed. This is not the same build or OS as on the other smaller boxes. There is a change in design and Sky have said they will use it as the model for the future of their PVR's. This suggests they have made some fairly strategic changes to the way it handles memory and runs in general.

    Right back at the beginning Crivens mentioned having problems setting series links. I think I have solved this. You need to give the box time to catch up. Set the recording and then wait 15 seconds. Then do the series link. It will pop straight in.

    Roger
     

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