Sky HD

The initial cost of the Sky HD box may seem high, but you are getting a lot of new technology and a whole heap of functionality thrown in, which makes the outlay easier to swallow. However you also have to factor in the ongoing subscription cost, after all if you’ve gone to the trouble of buying a Sky HD box, you’re going to want access to as much HD content as possible, and that means signing up for the premium package. Ticking the box to get you everything will set you back £42.50, plus an extra £10 per month for your HD subscription – so you’re going to have to plan on watching a lot of HD football and movies to justify the cost. Me? I’ve got to review high definition TVs, so I’ve got no choice – honest!

But once you’ve got past the cost, once the wait for installation is over and you sit down on your sofa and fire up some HD content, it somehow all seems worth it. Seriously, once you’ve watched an episode of the BBC’s superb Planet Earth nature programme, you’ll never want to watch standard definition again – which is a shame considering you’ve just signed up to hundreds of SD channels as well as the handful of HD ones.

Sky is well aware that anyone who’s stumped up the cash for the HD service will want to primarily watch HD content, so pressing the red button when in the root menu of the TV Guide will list only HD channels. And this is where I find myself every time I switch my TV on these days – it’s not a case of searching through the TV Guide looking for something good to watch, it’s a matter of watching something, anything as long as it’s in HD. I haven’t watched this many documentaries since I lived in Australia for a while and the only channel worth watching was SBS.

The Sky HD box does give you the option of copying recorded content to a VCR or DVD recorder, but before you get too excited, any high definition recordings are downgraded to standard definition before the copy process starts.

If there’s one problem with the Sky HD service, it’s that there aren’t enough high definition channels, but I’m sure that this will change over the coming months. But even as it stands I’d say that the service is worth the money, just so that you can get the best from your shiny new HDTV.

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