SKY - I dispair

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by duncs, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. duncs

    duncs
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    I ordered SKY a couple of days ago and was told by the sales person that each area has a different type of digibox. If I wanted to find out which one I would recieve, I would have to phone customer services. They also told me that each area has different models.

    Having read on here about different boxes having different connections, I decided to phone them up. I wasn't prepared to get a box that only provides s video when I am looking to buy a TV that has component in.

    So I phoned them and they told me that I would only find out what box I would recieve when it was installed :eek: They have got to be kidding. I told them that I had been mis-informed when I placed the order and was therefore mis-sold a product. A quick transfer to the cancellations department. They tried to tell me that every box was to the same specification and I had to inform them that they didn't know what they were talking about. They then told me that if I wanted certain connections, I would have to buy my own box. Result - A lost customer.

    When people are spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on a TV why do SKY not realise that the connections are important? Why can you not specify what box you would like?

    In this technological age SKY seem to be a bit behind the times.

    Rant over

    Thanks for listening :blush:

    P.S. Is this the same NTL?
     
  2. Lex

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    Ahhh this old chestnut!

    There have been many stories like this.

    Been through the same thing myself matey! I ordered a second digibox at the cost of £200 but was told that I would not be allowed to decide what brand I got - I told them I needed a SONY for the digital connections but they wouldn't have it. I argued and argued and argued and argued... I lost and ended up with a Pace box! :thumbsdow :mad:

    The only way you will get what you want is if you go to a private installer, but that will cost you.
     
  3. duncs

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    I have just emailed SKY to put my complaint in writing. I wonder what sort of response I will get. :smashin: or :thumbsdow


    "I recently ordered SKY to be installed at my home. Today I cancelled this order. I would like to inform you of the reasons why.

    I had been thinking of ordering SKY for a while now as part of an upgrade to my AV setup at home. I currently have a £600+ 5.1 Surround sound system and am current looking to buy a £1000+ widescreen TV. As you can tell, quality is important to me. I felt that the full SKY package (£38 per month) would be the ideal addition to my entertainment system.

    So when I was cold called by one of your sales team I thought that this would be the opportunity to make the order. I asked about the type of digibox that was available and was told that I would need to speak to customer services about that. Given the current system that I have I wanted the best quality video and an optical audio connecton. When I spoke to Customer services, I was told that I would not know what I was recieving until it was installed.

    I do not find it acceptable that I was being asked to enter a 12 month contract for an unspecified piece of equipment.

    With the growing consumer interest in high specification AV equipment (DVD, 5.1 Dolby Digital, Plasma Screens), the connectivity of the digibox is of the utmost importance. Until SKY can offer consumer choice in this area, this will continue to be an issue to a growing number of potential customers. The cancelation of my order would not have occured if I was given an option of digibox.

    I look forward to hearing the reasons behind this strategy."
     
  4. Starburst

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    It has always been that case that if you take a subsidised install from SKY for thier digital platfrom then you have no say in the make of digibox you are given, although it should always be the latest model in the range.
    All standard SKY digiboxes are built to a basic specification with only a couple of manufacturers adding "extras" which I assume is to increase it's value in the retail market.
    Grundig fitted an s-video socket to some models of their digibox and Sony had an optical audio output.
    Both of these companies no longer make digiboxes.

    Only SKY+ has an optical audio output that supports DD5.1 and it also has a s-video socket, this STB is not subsidised in the manner of the standard digibox and you have to pay the full asking price although it can be aquired through a subsidised install offer from SKY.

    Remember you are being given a digibox free of charge and while I see your point about wanting a choice you havr to accept there are always conditions when something is free:)
    If you want a specific digibox then you will have to go to an indpenent dealer who can offer you a SKY subsidised install but may charge you more for the privilege.


    NTL do not give you the choice of digibox and you will find that the latest NTL PACE STB's are of lower specification (Output wise) than models supplied a few years earlier.
     
  5. Lex

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    Sorry but I have to disagree as this was not the case with me. I was buying a digibox from Sky at FULL retail price, not free, not subsidised, but was still told that I could not choose which brand I wanted.
     
  6. lynx

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    duncs, go with the flow.As already advised, the recievers are more or less the same spec. The likely reciever at the moment will be the new Pace - it's a decent box with little to fault with it, it's smooth and quick. :)
     
  7. owenw

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    If you're going to pay full whack why not go to an independant satellite retailer and choose a box yourself?

    As has been stated the few digiboxes with additional features such as optical audio out and s-video are no longer made.
    Second-hand Sony and Grundig boxes are still being traded and at inflated prices.

    You might find one in the traders section on this site.

    I too wanted the Sony but having done some research online found out that a) the Sony is slower than the regular Pace boxes I already have and b) the optical out can only output stereo not Dolby Digital and this feature was even disabled on some models.

    The latest Pace boxes have coinsiderably faster menus but if you want DD and S-vid your best bet is to get a Sky+ box.

    Some people have bought Sky+ boxes and elected not to use the PVR features and avoid paying the £10 per month additional fee to Sky. This a fairly expensive route to getting DD and s-video however.
    Also, there have been ongoing problems with the DD audio sound dropouts on Sky movie channels in recent months.

    While we're on the topic of Sky PQ, does S-video give any improvement over RGB for Sky considering the high compression rates used?

    Owen
     
  8. duncs

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    Starburst. You are correct of course. (to a certain extent) ;)

    The box is free on the condition that you have a subscription for 1 year. I would have to spend about £150 minimum with SKY before the box becomes mine or I could buy myself out of contract. So its not exactly free.

    However, the situation makes more sense when compared to mobile phone operators. Their phones are subsidised and become yours after 1 year (after payment for unlocking). Imagine if Vodaphone said that you could have a phone that may have InfraRed or Bluetooth or both (WAP or GPRS) but you wouldn't know until you received the phone.

    When you subscribe, you subscribe to a service, and that service (in my opinion) should include the ability to connect to your chosen equipment. The service in this case being video (s video, RGB, Composite or Componant) and Audio (Optical or Standard). If one customer has s video and an other has S Video and Componant, then the second customer has a better service for the same price. The same goes for the audio connections.

    Also, If one box costs more than another, then the person with the more expensive box could arguably have "better service". That to me just sounds wrong.

    I will leave aside the issue with SKY + and 5.1 sound as at least everyone with SKY + can get that.

    Imagine also that the contract states that SKY will provide you with access to video pictures and sound but with no mention of quality standards to be expected. Your picture could be black and white and the sound in mono but sky would still be fulfilling their obligation to you. OK this is an extream example but I think it makes the point well.

    The issue is more to do with competition. SKY basically have a monopoly as many people are unable to receive cable. So they are able to put "unreasonable" (my feeling) terms on their contracts

    The upshot is that SKY are asking you to sign a contract with out the customer knowing what level of service or functionality they will get.

    Of course, I'm new to all this digital stuff and there may be good reasons that SKY make these conditions other than to offload unsold units to customers in order to make more money (sorry - thats the cynic in me) :devil:

    I'll stop my ranting now and wait until SKY get back to me before I go tail in hand and re order
    :)
     
  9. owenw

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    Can there ever be ENOUGH ranting where Sky is concerned? :D
     
  10. Starburst

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    Disagree with me in what way?
    I've never said you had the choice if you bought a brand new unsubsidised digibox from SKY.
    I assume you told SKY where they could shove their digibox and bought online or from an independent then?
     
  11. Starburst

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    The digibox is free, it is yours from day 1 the subsidy applies to the installation which SKY can claim back if you cancel the contract but they can not take back the digibox.
    Okay that's basically semantics and in reality it makes little difference if the box or the install is subsidised to the 6+ million people that have taken that route into digital satellite.
    At the end of the day SKY needs to control the encryption (Analogue was hacked to bits) and the best way to do that is to control the STB's and the only way to get people to switch from analogue to digital was to subsidise the hardware.
    Once ONdigital started to give away STB's SKY had to follow suit and that meant more or less freezing the basic spec not only to control costs but to make sure all subscribers got a similar spec service.
    Personally I would like to see higher spec SKY compatible hardware just like it was in the analogue days but not at the expense of the platforms security.

    Good luck waiting for the reply, it's not uncommon for SKY PR to use form replies which are skimpy when it comes to facts:)
    Did you email SKY customer services or Tony Ball directly?
     
  12. duncs

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    Starburst - I guess that was my misunderstanding of the conversation I had with the sales person. :confused:

    I have only emailed customer services so I will egerly await their stock reply. ;) I can always email Tony Ball if that gets me no satisfaction.

    Just out of interest, what connections are there on a digibox? Do they all have RGB? Do some just have Composite? Do any have Componant? (oops - this just shows my ignorance in these matters)
     
  13. Rasczak

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    No - the RGB output is still far superior to the S-Video one IMHO. The latter looks 'more gritty'. Digital artifacts can be seen slightly better in RGB but adjustments to the TV settings make it the most watchable picture.

    Are there digiboxes now that output in componant?

    Likewise. I'm sure there are many people who would pay for digiboxes with improved connections. I would love to see a DVI output on one.
     
  14. Starburst

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    There are three basic types of digibox.
    Pace Minibox, cheap low spec meant for second box use.
    Standard digibox, mulitpule manufacturers and has been the basic design from day 1 for SKY D and is the default box for subsidised installation deals.
    SKY+, higher spec box and sells for a premium price.

    Ignore the Pace minibox which is ok if all you want is a basic box for a kids bedroom and since you are interested in subscribing then it's the standard model you would be looking at.

    The standard digiboxes all have twin Scarts sockets (One is RGB), they all have twin phonos for audio and two RF sockets one of which supports the TVlinks system for RF distribution/control. They all have an internal modem and use the same remote control. The only real difference is the main processor speeds which determine how fast the onscreen menus are manipulated but this is more of a concern when purchasing older models, all current models are fast enough for comfortable use.

    SKY+ has all the connections a standard digibox has but comes with a s-video socket and an optical audio output which supports Dolby Digital 5.1, it has it's own dedicated remote control.
    Oh, it also has a hard drive for recording (Subscription required), nearly forgot about that:)

    Until SKY remove the "free" digibox business model they are kinda stuck with supplying a basic design for every new subscriber. SKY+ broke the mold simply because it was a premium product and PACE were prepared to build the unit based on potential and probably guaranteed sales direct to SKY.

    Check out the Plasma forum, I've read threads in there by people using various scalers/line doublers to vastly improve the SKY RGB output fed to a plasma. If you intend to spend serious money on AV and HC gear then that sort of technology might be of value.
     
  15. duncs

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    Thanks Starburst. Thats very helpful. If only Customer Services had given me that information when I phoned them. They told me that all boxes were pretty much the same but couldn't tell me what connections were available. So I canceled on the basis that the box I received may have had only RF or S Video when what I was looking for was RGB as a minimum, although digital audio would have been nice to have. Hmm - can I justify getting sky + :)

    Seems like they need to train their customer services a bit better ;)
     
  16. Starburst

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    Amen to that, there is far too much mis-information and down right mis-direction involved when talking to SKY's CS reps, the fact you can get two different answers from two reps speaks volumes:(
     
  17. owenw

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    Considering the compression rates used, surely better connections will merely highlight poor image quality and artifacts even more?

    People complain about these in regard to DVD's never mind Sky which uses much higher MPEG compression than DVD.

    If they transmitted selected (movie) channels with a low compression / high bit rate, I'm sure many of us would be prepared to pay for this along with better specced digiboxes.

    Mind you I'd much rather they develop HDTV in the first place. :)

    Owen
     
  18. Fernsehman

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    duncs, since the SKY+ Digibox is the only one that has the features you want, the mistake you made is in not doing your research and asking for the SKY+ box in the first place.

    If you do that you can be certain that that's what they'll supply.

    True. And TVs with "enhancements" such as 100Hz scan, digital processing etc. seem to compound the problem.

    Fman
     
  19. duncs

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    I did do a bit of research but i thought that the only difference with sky + was the 5.1. I was prepared to do with out that initialy as it would cost me an extra £320 for the first year on top of the £460 for the top sky package.

    With that on top of the £1000 budget for a new telly I think I might need to stop eating.

    Hmm, it seems I have entered a minefield here. :suicide:
     
  20. owenw

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    There are rumours flying about that Sky "may" reduce / drop the addition subscription fee for Sky+, reduce the cost of the boxes to make them more mainstream.

    Rumour also has it that they are planning to release 3 new Sky+ boxes around October time in time for Christmas (presumably with various Hard Disk sizes) and hopefully some new features.

    Sky won't want to lose out in the growing PVR market and will surely have to match features found on the latest crop of DVD recorders and PVRs.

    You can always wait till October to see how things pan out.

    Owen
     
  21. duncs

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    Thanks - I've just been trawling the forums (so I don't ask any more stupid questions ;) ) and noticed the rumours about changes to the pricing structure.

    Looks like the way for me to go is to get my TV (with all the inputs I might need (+ componant for my DVD) and then wait to see what sky come upwith. Or just get standard SKY and get SKY + when ready (so I get a free additional box as other threads suggest). :D
     
  22. johndj1

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    The other interim option obviously being to get a bog standard Sky box and hook it up to one of Dr John Sim's magic RGB to Component boxes which are superb
     
  23. Jsinger

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    As Sky approach their next million customer milestone (7m) I think we'll only see their customer service get worse rather than better :(

    One thing I would point out though is that the likes of us AV enthusiasts on forums such as these really aren't at all typical of Sky's average/target customer. The type of customers that Sky both targets and tends to ensare are the very people who would be more than happy with a composite, mono feed as long as they can watch the bargain bucket holiday channels all day.
     

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