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Usability

There is a price to pay for cramming in all these extra features. One of the beauties of the Sky+ box is its simplicity and, by adding so many options, Telewest has made the TVDrive slightly trickier to use. It feels more like a TV enthusiast’s box rather than the Sky+, which has more universal appeal. That isn’t to say that only techy-minded Telewest customers will be able to use it. It is just that the Sky+ box is so brilliantly simple to use that Telewest would have had to pull a huge rabbit out of its hat to rival it.

Overall

There’s no denying that at the moment the Telewest TVDrive has the edge over the current Sky+ box in several key areas. It has HDTV compatibility, a wealth of very cool features and access to the excellent on-demand Teleport service. Sky will undoubtedly tweak its HDTV box to add a few extra facilities, and is also likely to have a bigger hard drive and access to a lot more HDTV footage. Given the track record of hard disk video recorders, reliability is also going to be a big issue for both Telewest and Sky. The one other advantage the TVDrive may have over Sky is that it may actually have more HD footage than its satellite based rival. If, as expected, the Sky HD channels are also available via cable, though Sky hasn’t confirmed this, Telewest may have all the HD content offered by Sky plus more HD available through Teleport from third parties. If you already have a Telewest unit then the TVDrive is an obvious upgrade. If you are considering going HD and are not sure whether to opt for cable or satellite it might be worth hanging on for a few months to see which rabbits Sky pulls out of its hat.

Certified gadget obsessives Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny scour Gizmoville for the oddest digital goodies, TV Scoop features all that’s cool in British telly and HDTVUK has the latest on high definition TV.

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