Feeds

Sky vs Telewest HD showdown

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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)



Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE
Examining the frothy disconnect in indie cafe culture
Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay
Stump up via tat bazaar, do a good thing for ill kids
Check your Clungene, Irish women warned
Have a quick shufti, you may not be pregnant after all
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.