Feeds

Sky vs Telewest HD showdown

TV, TV on the wall, who's the highest def of all?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Tech Digest Yesterday I took delivery of my Sky HD box and naturally spent the rest of the day watching Star Wars Revenge of the Sith (it is better in HD honest) and animals mauling each other on the National Geographic HD channel.

I am also lucky enough to have a Telewest TVDrive (its HD hard disk video recorder) in the home, so here are a few thoughts about the merits of HD via satellite and cable.

Programming

Sky is clearly in the lead here as it has eight full HD channels including three movie stations, three documentary channels, Sky Sports and Sky One. Viewers can also tune into the BBC's HD channel, although at the moment it only has a HD trailer. At the moment Telewest has just a smattering of video on demand footage, namely The Magic Flute and the BBC drama doc Pride.

What could give cable a lead is if NTL Telewest took all Sky's HD channels - it certainly has enough bandwidth to do this. It could then offer the Sky channels, the BBC HD offering and the Channel Four/ITV programming it has signed up like Desperate Housewives and ITV's World Cup footy. It might also be able to grab other footage for its on demand Teleport service.

So Sky is way out in front at the moment, but don't rule out exciting HD news from cable.

Picture quality

Again a bit tricky to judge given the limited amount of HD footage Telewest has screened. I'd say Sky has the edge at the moment. There is less picture noise, better contrast levels and notably less picture judder. The Telewest pics are however more colorful and have a 3D-like quality.

The boxes

There's a direct comparison of the TVDrive and the Sky+ old unit here. Suffice to say though, even with the new Sky box little has changed. Sky now has the edge in terms of storage - offering 300 Gigabytes to the TV Drive's 160 (although only 160 Gig of the Sky box is available to the user at the moment), it is also easier to use than the TVDrive. However, the little extras the TVDrive has - like being able to play a channel while the user browses the menu system - means it might attract a few more TV obsessives.

The packages

This is a fairly simple comparison at the moment. If you want to commit to HD, go for Sky's satellite package. If you prefer to dabble and watch a little HD now and then, the TVDrive is the better bet.

The Sky package costs £299 plus a further £10 a month over an existing Sky subscription. The TVDrive is £10-15 per month on top of an existing Telewest TV subscription. There is no one-off charge for the hardware though.

Where have all the Sky HD boxes gone?
BBC HD trailer review
Is Big Brother stressing you out?
Heavy Metal Hallelujah - Lordi video
Ion USB turntable review
Free beer and kebabs from Virgin Mobile
The USA gets World Cup fever (no really)



Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.