The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks Sky provides with much of its programming these days sound clean and punchy, and some of Sky’s ‘live’ sports event mixing is superb. The tracks are delivered equally well by both the digital audio output and HDMI output options, though if you’ve got a modern AV receiver equipped with an HDMI switching system you’ll likely much prefer the HDMI option for sheer convenience sake.
It’s a relief to be able to report, too, that thankfully drop outs and lip-synch errors are seem far less common on the new 2TB box than they used to be on Sky’s early standard Sky HD receivers.
Sky’s remote control design has for years been in a class of its own, doing an inspired job of giving all the important buttons – and there are many – suitably weighted, thoughtful positions, as well as sitting comfortably in the hand, and being beautifully responsive.
However, we’re going to dare to suggest that maybe it’s finally time for a bit of a revamp, one which might, for instance, provide direct or appropriately labelled buttons for accessing more of Sky’s latest features, such as an undelete button, a catch-up TV button and an Anytime button.
Suggesting an undelete button has reminded us that we haven’t previously mentioned this neat and relatively new Sky feature. Basically it’s an option in the menus that lets you recover from the 2TB box’s hard drive programmes that may have been accidentally deleted. It’s able to work back over a much longer period and number of deletions than you might expect, and while you might not need the feature often, on the odd occasion when you do you’ll be incredibly pleased it’s there – and that it works so well.
Although Undelete is available on non-2TB Sky HD receivers, the feature is of particular comfort with the 2TB box given the potential there is with an HDD that big for archiving favourite series.
We’ve mentioned before that it’s a pity Sky doesn’t offer a backward EPG system, but there is some good news when it comes to making it easier to find the content you want amid Sky’s vast library. Sky’s website is currently trailing a new search feature due to launch in the ‘next few months’ that will introduce predictive input, where the receiver will bring up search results with each letter of a search term you input, using analysis of the most popular content to prioritise which suggestions are shown at the top of the predictive list.
There’s room for improvement with Sky’s content-handling interface unless you’re using the service in conjunction with a tablet or smartphone and we wish Sky’s receivers could handle multimedia files via USB or DLNA, bfut nonetheless now that we’ve experienced the 2TB receiver in action we’re struggling to imagine life without it.
The way it combines Sky’s vast library of content (including unrivalled quantities of on-demand catch-up TV) and uniquely sophisticated entertainment ecosystem with a massively increased level of storage is simply a match made in heaven. In fact, we’ve come to feel that a content platform as vast as Sky's really needs at least this much storage for you to be able to get the most value from it.
The 2TB receiver becomes even more of a no-brainer if you’re currently using an older Sky HD box that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi – especially if that lack of Wi-Fi is preventing you from using the on-demand streaming services that now form so large a part of Sky’s offering.
Sod Santa and front teeth – what your telly-loving household and big HD TV really want for Christmas this year is a Sky HD 2TB receiver.