Sky+ HD box: The lowdown
The Sky+ HD box used to be the standard set-top box you got with a Sky TV package - but not any more. These days you get a much slicker Sky Q box. Want to know a bit about the old Sky+ HD box? Here's everything you need to know.
What is a Sky+ HD box?
When you took out a Sky+ TV (www.sky.com) package in the past, you got a choice of two set top boxes for your telly: the Sky+ HD box, or the Sky+ HD 2TB box. The first was the basic box you can grab for free with your new package, but the 2TB one cost extra - though you got a lot more space for recordings.
The main draw of Sky's TV boxes is that you can use them to pause, rewind, and record live TV - 185 hours of standard definition telly (or 60 hours of HD) on the regular Sky+ HD box, or a massive 1180 hours (350 hours of HD) on a 2TB one. That’s right, you can store a month and a half’s worth of continuous TV on one single box. The clever tech allows you to record two things at once while also watching something else you’ve recorded, and the Smart Series Link makes sure you won’t miss an episode of your favourite TV shows.
As its name suggests, the box is HD ready too, which is great considering Sky’s TV packages include up to 73 HD channels. It also supports 3D shows, which will be available on demand since Sky closed its dedicated 3D channel.
A Sky set top box means you’ll be able to use its user-friendly, and super easy-to-understand TV guide. The home page has a few features to help you discover new TV and films to watch too: there’s Suggestions, where Sky will give you some recommendations based on what you’ve recorded and downloaded, and Top Picks, where you can see what’s hot right now.
You’ll need a broadband connection to access all the on demand content that Sky has to offer, but the box makes this easier with built-in Wi-Fi. That means it’ll connect to your internet wirelessly and there’s no need to fiddle around with massive cables all over the house.
In fact, if you connect your smartphone or tablet to that same Wi-Fi and download the Sky+ app, you can use it as a remote control to pause and rewind whatever you’re watching. And wherever you are, you can use the app to manage your recordings and explore the TV guide.
Luckily, all these features and more are available on the more modern Sky Q box too - and in a lot of ways, it's quite a bit better. Brand new Sky TV customers get the Sky Q box included as standard; and if you're a current customer, you're able to upgrade.
What channels can I get?
There’s a huge number of channels available on Sky TV. The basic telly package, Sky Entertainment, gives you more than 300 of 'em, including the exclusive Sky Atlantic. If you want a little more, there are five extra packs you can add on. There's no long-term contract for these - they roll over every 30 days - so you can add, change, or cancel them altogether whenever you like.
- Sky BoxSets - 350+ on-demand TV box sets
- Sky Cinema - All-day movie channels, more than 1,000 films on-demand, the latest blockbusters, and fresh films added every day
- Sky Sports - Add either one channel, two, or the whole lot, depending what sports you want to watch that month
- Sky Kids - Around 10 children's TV channels
- Sky HD - 40+ extra high-definition channels
For the complete list of what you get, take a look at our Sky TV channel list.
As well as live channels, a Sky+ HD box gives you access to on demand TV, provided you have broadband for it to connect to. The inclusion of so many exclusive Sky channels means it can offer the UK’s widest selection of seven day catch up.
What’s good about the Sky+ HD box?
- Huge variety of channels, including the whole Sky entertainment suite and loads of HD channels
- Can pause and rewind live TV, and record up to a whopping 1180 hours with a 2TB box - more than you can record with any other set top box in the UK
- Available almost anywhere, so long as you can install a satellite dish
- UK’s widest selection of catch up TV
- Includes Sky Go
- Easiest way to get Sky Cinema and Sky Sports, and the only way to get Sky Atlantic
What’s bad about the Sky+ HD box?
- Nowhere near as good as the Sky Q box
- Packages are expensive compared to other providers
- Opting for a 2TB box can be very expensive, with even more set-up fees on top of that
- Sky TV requires a satellite dish on your home, which can be a hassle and not always possible in rented or shared accommodation
- Sky+ HD box interface is a little clunky and outdated, at least compared to the Sky Q version
- No 'fluid viewing' like you get with Sky Q
What can I get from Sky?
Find out more about the TV, broadband, and phone services you can get from Sky: