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)



Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.