Sky are going a bundle on pushing their PVR technology, known as Sky+. Star studded adverts are on every other hoarding.
The Sky+ name has become a bit like Hoover for vacuum cleaner and iPod for digital audio player- brand names that are used in place of the actual noun. The difference being that to use an actual Sky+ you need to subscribe to Sky. The association between the brand and the technology means that many people think that you need to subscribe to Sky television to enjoy the benefits of Sky+ type technology. This isn’t true at all. You don’t need to subscribe to Sky to get this service- other PVRs are available for Freeview, cable and Freesat. In fact some of them are a lot better than the Sky+ box!
Sky+ is good technology, but hardly the invention of Sky Television as some people believe. Sky+ is simply Sky commissioning and branding an implementation of an existing innovation. It is easy to use, but it is far from being unique to Sky or indeed the best and easiest PVR out there.
We have a Humax 9200, which is a Freeview PVR. It is great, we just go through the guide once or twice a week and select the programmes we want to watch. Then when we want to sit down and watch TV we switch on and chose something to watch. We probably only watch the news live these days, and the PVR has totally put an end to watching TV just because it’s on.
The Humax has come high in many surveys- but it has been out for a few years- a better box may have come along since.
So when you see Michael Parkinson saying how great his Sky+ is, don’t fall for it. Only get Sky+ if you want Sky television, if you just want the recording wizardry- get another PVR.