Sky + HD review

As effortlessly brilliant now as it was when it first emerged, and now you can enjoy it all in HD and for even less - bonus Tested at £99

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Match it with the right sound and vision kit, and your TV watching will be transformed


  • +

    Great Sky+ recording functionality

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    fine selection of sports and movies

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    can look and sound stunning

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  • -

    We’d like more of that 300GB capacity available for recordings

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

PVR Product of the Year 2009

Sky+ was nothing short of a revolution when it first appeared, partnering foolproof usability with brilliant functionality. Next came Sky HD – and the same slick system was brought in to the high definition domain, allowing you to pause, rewind and record brilliant-looking HD content. And it remains the benchmark.

This year saw not one but two price cuts for the Sky+ HD box. The existing deal sees the box drop to just £99, though the £10 monthly charge for the HD Mix of programmes remains.

But it's not just the price that's changed, this latest box is made by Pace rather than Thomson, who made the previous HD set-top box. Round the back there is now a digital coaxial output as well as a digital optical for sending audio but there's no component video, so it's just HDMI for HD (there's a Scart, too).

While we don't discern a visible or audible difference in quality, we do find the interface faster, skipping between channels quicker than before. It's also deathly quiet – unlike the old box – which we attribute to the increase in air vents at the back that stop the cooling fan kicking in.

Provided the new channels go live as planned, there should be some 26 channels of HD content available in October which, together with the brilliance of this new box, make this the high-definition source of choice.

Watch our Awards video of Sky+ HD

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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