In terms of AV quality, the new 2TB receiver doesn’t appear to differ in any way from Sky’s normal HD receivers. This is only to be expected really, as the digital decoders in the box are essentially the same, and you’re hardly likely to find Sky streaming less-compressed digital HD channels just for the 2TB receiver!
The good news, of course, is that in HD picture quality terms Sky’s platform remains the one to beat. Its HD feeds consistently look cleaner and sharper than those of any other HD broadcast platform.
To be clear, we’re not talking levels of detail and clarity to rival good Blu-ray discs. It’s true to say, also, that the quality of the image can vary a bit between channels and content types. However, overall Sky’s HD delivery is ahead of the pack in quality as well quantity terms.
Standard definition pictures tend to look much more grubby. But this is certainly no more so on the 2TB receiver than it is on an ordinary Sky box, and more importantly you couldn’t say Sky’s standard def handling is worse than that of Freeview and Freesat.
When it comes to recordings, the Sky HD 2TB follows its Sky forbears in delivering results indistinguishable from the original broadcasts. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that the hard disk is simply recording the incoming digital broadcast stream! The only difference between the 2TB box and ‘normal’ Sky HD receivers is that the 2TB model can store so much more of its recorded perfection.
One last point to cover here is 3D. Sky is sticking with the format – it’s currently shown on Channel 170 – despite apparent public apathy, and the broadcaster does a pretty good job of it for the most part, showing an increasingly good understanding of what sort of filming works and what doesn’t with its self-generated output.
The only disappointment is that the resolution of Sky’s 3D broadcasts is compromised by the need to broadcast stereoscopic images side-by-side rather than using two full-resolution images like you get with 3D Blu-rays. This means Sky’s 3D pictures don’t look as high resolution as 2D HD broadcasts – a fact which joins with the dimming effect you experience while wearing 3D glasses (active shutter ones in particular) in helping us fully understand why some people would rather stick with 2D.