If Leicester City could win the Premiership and Mr Khan could get a second series on the BBC then Donald Trump could be president, right? And so it proved an extraordinary year. Here is my A- Z of a packed sporting 2016.
A is for Andy Woodward
Andy Woodward, the ex Crewe and Sheffield Wednesday player, made an accusation that he was sexually abused at Crewe by convicted pedophile and football coach back in the 1980s.This triggered a rush of similar claims from similar players against multiple clubs. At this stage 5 employees at 5 Premier League clubs and three Championship clubs are officially been investigated. It’s statistically rather off that all 5 clubs are the London Premier League clubs. 30 London clubs alone have been accused in the 77 so far across the league and non league ladder. That seems absurd. Over 850 people on the NSPCC lines alone have complained, Aston Villa the latest to be named. The question now is how many are true?
After the council agreed to pay out on the Lambeth kids home scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s, any kid there, whilst a convicted pedophile was there, CAN now apply for compensation, whether abused or not. You can guess just how many people will now bang in a claim. The Shirley Oaks Survivors group of just over 700 people was the ones that have been causing all the problems at the Historic Sexual Abuse Hearings. The proceedings have been hijacked by ambulance chasing lawyers that are allegedly puling groups together to drum up class actions in pursuit of compensation so nothing actually getting done to prevent future abuse, hence the resignations. A lot of people from carehomes lead troubled lives thereafter and in need of cash. Children’s homes across the nation are being accused and the payouts are big for some adults. Woodward’s group has over 2000 ‘abused adults’ in it so far and that would be one huge class action payout against mega rich football, clubs who don’t want the bad publicity. I’m sure a lot of kids were abused back then but the numbers don’t add up. What people generally don’t know is Woodward was sacked after 13 years as a policeman just one week before he went public with his accusations and sacked for an’ inappropriate relationship with a female victim crime’. That will come out in any court case. He will want to be paid off before the court case. There are other lurid and somewhat ironic allegations about him also online. His new girlfriend is organizing the collections for his foundation. It’s just too expensive for organizations and businesses to contest each of these cases in the high court and so have to agree compensation at a lower figure than those lawyers’ fees, whether abuse took place or not. This is why whiplash claims are so high.
B is for Badminton
The Olympic sport produced a surprise Men’s Doubles Olympic bronze for Brit Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, the world number 22s beating the highly fancied Chinese pair. But 6 months later shock rippled around the sport as the British Olympic Badminton program was effectively shut down when the funding was completely withdrawn by UK Sport. It’s not a safe middle-class sport like rowing and simply dependent on Lottery money and so that could be that. Lottery funding is falling after the bizarre decision to charge £2 a ticket and so cuts being made. Tennis continues to receive big funding from the Lottery, as do many sports that have few people in them that actually play the lottery.
C is for Chicago Cubs
The Cubs finally ended a 108-year run of not winning baseballs biggest prize. The Cleveland Indians won three of the first four games of the best of seven World Series and it looked like the record would remain but the Cubs battled back and the first team in 21-years to win the World Series from losing three of the first four. They were the best team at the turn of the last century and setting records but just after the War they suffered the curse of the goat, a story you don’t need to look up.
D is for Drugs & Doping
Most Russian athletes have been doping since just after the war and it took until 2016 to finally do something about it. The Cold War put in place state doping programs to make one side look stronger than the other on the sports fields and the Americans as guilty. Putin has rebooted the Cold War and so Russia back to its old ways. After Russia were rightfully humiliated over it they hit back and hacked sports bodies computers here, revealing a massive rise in Therapeutic Use Exemptions, the so called TUE’s , loopholes that allow athletes to take banned drugs in sports where they need them to compete because they have are supposed to have a certain medical condition. 70% of the British Olympic swimming team in London 2012 claimed to have asthma so they can take certain banned stimulants. TUEs also allowed obvious cheaters to keep racing and a way out for sports bodies not to ban those star athletes that were guaranteeing their lottery funding, Bradley Wiggins an example of.
Alamaz Ayana of Ethiopia smashed the WR in the Olympic 10,000m final. Her time not only broke the 30 minute mark but loped off 14 seconds off the 23-year-old previous WR, held by a Chinese athlete whose coach was banned for doping soon after. Neither have tested positive yet. She was running faster than Mo Farah! Over to you Russian Bears.
E is for England
The highest pass completion rate in the 2014 World Cup was between Joe Hart and Andy Carroll, a vision the purist don’t need in their heads for an international team. In 2016 along came Marcus Rashford. With his late form and selection for the squad going into the Euros it was shaping up to be another Euro 2004 when Wayne Rooney exploded on to the scene and would have won us that trophy if he had stayed fit. There were similar hopes for Rashsford. He just looked that type, a confident, quick and driving forward player with great touch and can score a neat goal. But, ironically, it would be the jaded and neutralized 20 fags a day Wayne Rooney that would start the match and Rashsford only used late on as an impact substitute by Woy. Rashford immediately turned the group game with Wales for a 2-1 win at the death and the only one not terrified off failing out ther. But Woy left it too late in the disastrous Iceland match for the equalizer and extra time and that was that. Let’s hope Southgate uses him more in 2017-18.
F is for fixing
The BBC published reports that 16 players in the top 50 of men’s tennis have been flagged by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) due to suspicions that the players have thrown matches over the past several years. However, according to the reports, all the players, including Grand Slam Champions, have been allowed to continue competing. Many were players pitching up to play with injuries, just to collect their losers cheques. If you no show you don’t get paid. But some where players that were not injured but not too keen on going deep in a tournament for what ever reason and so lost. Its maybe they don’t like playing on a particular surface but either way it still going on as players tell their friends and family they may not win this match, hence the irregular betting patterns that trigger the investigations.
G is for Golf
Danny Willet from Yorkshire won the coveted Green Jacket at Augusta. It was an unexpected victory in the US Masters. 14 years after Faldo’s last win the Brits had failed to win a Major until Graham McDowell’s surprise win in the 2010 US Open. Northern Ireland would then win six in three years and GB some eight in six years. Justin Rose did win The US Open in 2013 but he is South African born so Danny Willet is the first English born for 20 years. He is only 29 but looks a one hit wonder as far as winning Majors goes though.
H is for Lewis Hamilton
I know a couple of lads who work at Mercedes F1 garage and they say Nico Rosberg was ‘contracted’ a world title. He was been threatening to leave the team for a while if they didn’t deliver that title. Well he is world champion now and there is no doubt in my mind the team ‘hurt’ Hamilton wheels to achieve that. Exactly the same parts are used on both cars and for some reason Hamilton’s were going wrong at the start of the season to allow Rosberg to win so many races. When that stopped in the final third of the season Lewis powered back by winning the final few races to lose the championship by a handful of points. Hamilton would have been world champion under any of the previous points scoring system in F1. What a stitch up! But the Mercedes boys have lost their chief designer and may not be top dogs next year so an interesting season to some with this wider and faster cars. Bernie going will also free up teams to compete.
I is for Iceland
That ludicrous defeat of England in the European Championships was the sporting lowlight of the year. They are a financially broke island of a population of just 330,000 to England’s 52 million. They only have 50,000 men under the age of 30 to pick from and most of them are fisherman. England were terrified of them and there most disastrous exit yet of an international tournament. Fear for an international athlete is when you reach the point of no return find it easier to turn back to the safety of your millions, big houses and white trophy girlfriends as reassurance that all is well.
J is for Jones
Eddie Jones has transformed England’s rugby team almost overnight and 11 unbeaten now going into the Six Nations. Northampton’s volatile Dylan Hartley is now England captain and the team has come alive. The jovial and mischievous coach is great fun with the media and England play some great attacking rugby.
K is for Kathy Grainger
The boyish looking British super female rowing champion decided on a return for the 2016 Rio Olympics and became the most decorated female Olympian. She added silver to her London gold to go her three other silvers in three other Olympics, Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). And now Rio 2016.She is a six time World Champion, on impressive lady all around and currently the Chancellor of Oxford Brooks University. If you ant a woman to rule the world then this is the girl as she got here on brains, tenacity, hard work and intelligence, not looks and figure.
L is for the Leicester City
It’s still hard to believe they won the Premiership. They actually won the bloody title! Why they won seemed to be down to the tactic of the old rope-a-dope of leaning on the ropes to soak up the punches to burnout your opponent and then hop the ball over the top to Mahrez, who gave it to Vardy, who smashed it past the keeper. Clearly teams learnt their lesson this season and blocked the Foxes only tactic and Leicester City could be the first champions since Manchester City in 1968 to be relegated the following season. Whether the Foxes doped to win the league is not being discussed but it’s noticeable that when the Blood Passport drug testing system was introduced in the Champions League in 2015 it meant you could not dope in your domestic leagues during the Champions League groups stages or you could be caught. European domestic leagues tend to drug test in - house and so you tend not to hear about the fails, certainly the case in the English Premier League. This meant the big four in England were being tested vicariously in the Premier League with results they couldn’t control. Chelsea were dreadful in that first year of ECL testing and City, Arsenal, Liverpool and United all failed to get over 75 points, the first time that had happened in 20 team Premier League history.
M is for Middlesex CCC
Andrew Strauss, the ECB number two, handed his old team the County Championship by stopping key players taking the field in the Yorkshire team, the only team that could stop them, claiming they needed to be rested for the coming England tour. Middlesex were playing Yorkshire at Lords in the final game. It was blatant stuff and poor old Rashid had to pretend he had an ill relative for his reason not to play and Joe Root remaining silent. Middlesex duly won the match with their skillful declaration and a getable run chase for the northerners and bowled them out with an hour of the day left. A draw would have handed Somerset their first ever title.
N is for Northamptonshire Steelbacks!
Second Friends Life Twenty20 trophy in three years and our third Finals Day in four Years. Our budget is one of the lowest of the 18 Counties and we have only 17 players. The key is that we don’t bother with championship cricket anymore and captain Alex Wakely and Coach David Ripley pretty much lets the players do as they please. Wakes even lets them drink shots in the changing room during a match! Fitness is poor but they can play some cricket and whack the ball and bowl some tight owners and that’s all you need in T20. No one from the ECB bothered to show up at the trophy presentation and clearly desperate to destroy this competition for the more lucrative franchise cricket that may or may not work. But with franchise cricket coming in with a tabled offer from Sky of 500 million over 5 years, if franchise cricket set up, it’s the end for domestic Twenty20 and the smaller counties.
O is for the Olympics
Michael Phelps finally retired with a record 28 medals, claiming 5 more gold’s and one silver in Rio. He is closest you get to a human fish, huge lungs and massive a wingspan unrivalled. For team GB a record medal haul shows that if you throw money at sport you get success. We again dominated the middle- class sports where the thing you are holding on to - or underneath you - does most of the work, the university sports. But it was a good Games in Rio and although the crowds were average, still an excellent TV experience. Sadly the Tories are continuing this paradoxical policy of cutting funding to the sports that don’t win medals and so the sports who most need the funding.
P is for Byrony Page
Byrony Page to me is what the Olympics should be about, a surprise medalist in the amateur of amateurs of events in the women’s trampoline in Rio. There are just two events for trampoline in The Olympics and little TV coverage. Team GB had never even made a final before. But the unknown British champion from Crewe turned up and nearly won gold. She graduated with a First from the University of Sheffield with a dissertation about the study of ‘sounds made by dinosaurs’ and a fun character. Team GB had won the team title in the World Championships in 2015 and so had potential but everyone expected the Chinese to clean sweep. Canadian Rose McLennan won gold.
Q is for Question mark?
I couldn’t squeeze in the brilliant basketball player Stephen Curry so I am putting him here. He won the NBA’s MVP in 2015 and the championship with the Golden Bear Warriors and then went stratospheric in 2016. He made a record 402, 3-pointers in a season and 157 straight games with 3-pointers. He made an incredible 13 x 3-pointers in just one game and 17 points in overtime in another game. The records go on and on and the best shooter the game has ever seen. It was one of those seasons when a sporting genius came to light.
R is for Ronaldo
The world’s best footballer and highest paid athlete won his second Champions League in three years with Real Madrid and then won the European Championships for Portugal, and topped it off with his fourth Balloon d’Or, the last award the most revered by CR7. It was quietly revealed in the tabloids he was probably having a homosexual affair with a Tunisian man but the story died a death as lawyers writs flew and Portugal won the Euros for the first time, Ronaldo breaking national records with his 21st appearance and 9th goal, leveling Platini’s record and the first ever player to play and score in four straight European Championships and so the most capped player in the event.. They were un-fancied to win but had appeared in the quarter-finals in the last four Euros with Ronaldo in the team and converted three to semi finals and one to a final, until finally winning it this year. He scored 55 goals in 57 matches in 2016 to Messi’s 59 in 62 games.
S is for sporting deaths
The great Muhammad Ali passed in a year of big name famous people dyeing. Johan Cryuff, Carlos Alberta and Arnold Palmer are no longer with is either, Palmer the man who created the modern game that may well not have mattered without him. Hanif Mohammed, who scored a then world record 499 runs in one innings also died, as did test cricketer Kiwi Martin Crowe, cousin of Russell. Ireland rugby coach Axel Foley croaking at work was a real shaker.
Ali was huge because the first black sportsmen to put white people in their place and so we bow down to him, the Mandela of sports. Sadly he boxed on too long and pulped his brains and went out a sad and noble vegetable, Ali the biggest advert yet for being and not being a professional boxer. Harry Carpenters shocked cry of ‘all my God he has won the title at 32’ highlighted what was an amazing feat back then but means little today, world champion Bernard Hopkins retiring at 50 last year and George Foreman always ready for another ruck. Ex England manager Graham Taylor also passed away and his beloved non league Lincoln City honored him by powering through to the fifth round of the FA Cup alongside non league Sutton, the first time two non league tams have made the 5th for 90 years!
T if for Tyson Fury
The Irish traveler and world heavyweight champion claimed depression for the reasons he gave up his title and stopped fighting but in reality he had failed two drugs test and erratic to say the least, an old style champion. Some of his extended family are known drug dealers and his trainer uncle Peter Fury is a gang land enforcer from the 1990s. This guy is pretty nasty and glad to see the back of him as classier heavyweights like the likable and articulate Anthony Joshua will claim his belts this year.
U is for Usain BOLT
The great man did the triple double, and then lost it, Olympic gold and silver in the 100m & 200m in Rio so three straight Olympics and added three relay gold’s on top, until Nesta Carter was stripped of his gold on a retrospective doping test for his role in that 100m relay team in 2008, Beijing. It’s an incredible feat and will never be rivaled in sprints for me but all four of that 2008 team have now tested positive, Bolt the last member and only clean athlete of the track four and two subs.
A man who could rival the feat on the track has joined Bolt in Olympic track retirement, Mo Farah, strictly marathon next time around. Where as British people love Bolt and think he isn’t a cheat, they think Mo probably is a cheat and certainly not British, failing to feature heavily in the Sports Personality voting year in, year out. He deserves to win but always fuels the doubt by not wanting to live in England and share the team’s digs at events. He always thanks God and his family first and his fans last. Bolt is the true king and now lives in England with those same drug testers.
V is for Van Gerwen
The Dutch darts player currently holds all seven PDC world ranking events, plus the world title, a feat not even achieved by Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.
W is for Wimbledon
So Andy won it again and a load of other things to, including the coveted world number one spot. You have to play a hell of a lot of tennis and win those games to stay ahead of Djokovic. But since the Meldonium thing and Sharpova in the spring, Novak’s form collapsed and he won just one event after that French Open that gave him all four slams at once. He looks a prime candidate to be doping. The loophole was conveniently there for the players to take Meldonium, even though they didn’t have the heart condition it’s prescribed for and so it will be exploited by players and tennis will cover up positive results. They are slowly being weened off drugs and the rankings are changing. Over 700 Russian athletes alone were believed to be on meldonium in 2015.
When someone like Sharapova naively comes out publicly to say she has failed a drugs test then tennis has to also own up there has been a positive. They had no chance to cover it up as per normal. But she knows where the bodies are buried and has had her ban slashed because of. If she had kept stum it would have been a silent six month ban, the type Nadal receives, allegedly. The fact 35-year-old Serene Williams beat 36-year-old Venus Williams and 35-year-old Roger Federer beat 31-year-old Nadal in the Australian Open suggest stills lot of bottled energy going around, 5000-1 the odds of those two finals three weeks ago.
X is for the X Games –
One of the biggest, young, geekiest and oddest sports crowd in the world are the X games lot, people that pack huge arenas and pay to watch other people playing videogames. It started off in South East Asia and all the rage around the world now. You can even bet on it and the best players on million dollar contracts. Its one of the very few sports you don’t have to change your clothing to make this kind of money.
Z is for Zika
Every year we are scared rotten by an infection disease and as the final Ebola cases died out it was a mosquito spread one this time around, young mums to be the most fearful. It was believed the bug spread bug, so to speak, has caused the deformed baby syndrome in some cases. Babies are meant to be cute, the main reason to have them. Athletes used the extremely small chance of catching it to dodge the Rio Olympics perhaps fearing a differing kind of blood test. The bulked up Rory Macilroy refused to go, golf a sport where they are rarely tested, Olympic testing very different. Many other athletes also didn’t go, again, in sports that are not used to rigorous testing.
This review focuses on the Sky+ box itself rather than the Sky+ service. I would however advise you to speak to friends, family, workmates etc and find out what they pay for their specific Sky service. One of my relatives told me he was paying £45 per month for a HD package when I was paying £80-90 for a lower one (i didn't believe him!). He had phoned Sky and said BT had called him and were going to sign him up so they offered him a loyalty deal. When we phoned Sky they told us we hadn't been with them long enough and we didn't already have HD but they could offer £15 off so we now pay £75 for the movie+sports+espn package plus we had a free upgrade to 3 HD Boxes (we had to pay £99 for one 1 Terabyte box, on a side note the storage space on the HD boxes is massive. I have around 10 David Attenborough series such as Life, Planet Earth, Life of Mammals etc recorded on a 1TB box and the box is at 70% space available).
One last thing to know is that Sky have different teams depending on the job. The first installation guy that came said he couldn't do the job as it involved touching the dish and it need a specialist height team. He did it in the end (he tethered his ladder to the wall by drilling into it! I would have held it for him but didn't know if I was qualified seeing as Sky had a specialist team...).
Back to the review! Firstly HD is amazing for sports, movies, documentaries etc where the visual difference is really noticeable with small details, lighting and backgrounds looking really crisp compared to the standard channels. Having watched HD at friends and families houses who have Virgin the picture quality has been pretty much the same to my eyes so if this is your major concern I would not worry, for me HD quality is pretty much the same between Sky and Virgin from what I have seen.
The problem for me with Sky+ is the design of the box for users. The menu hasn't changed since the earlier versions or changes are not applied consistently. The HD Boxes had a major upgrade recently and all they have done is make it look prettier as far as i can see.
One thing that annoys me is channels like BBC, ITV, C4 have their HD channels somewhere random i.e. BBCHD is channel 143, C4 is 230 instead of being at 101,104 which are still standard definition. This is annoying as by habit I go to 101 for BBC1 watch the 200m olympic final feeling like something's not right and then realise it's not on BBCHD because that 's on 143! The sports and movies don't have this problem so I assume it is something to do with Sky and non-Sky channels.
Sky Search: The search function on the sky box is just not worth it. It sometimes works but if i want 50/50 i'll flip a coin.I have typed in "Life" knowing it was on and it returns no programs.
Sky Planner: is the Sky Box's program recorder. You access it by pressing the green button on the TV guide. It is the place to manage programs that have been recorded on the sky box. The Series Link option allows whole series' to be recorded automatically as they come on tv. The strange part of the Planner is how you delete and keep programs. To keep a program you press the blue button, all this does is that when you try to delete it later it will ask you to confirm you want to delete the program. The problem with this is that it is dumb! If you don't press blue to keep a program it will just delete it, so if you went to the wrong item by accident and press yellow unlucky your program is gone! Every program should be "keep" by default as there is no recovery feature if you delete by accident. The flip side is that if you record a series and press keep on one it keeps every episode so when time comes to delete you have to go one by one to each episode and press delete then confirm delete for each one. You would think Sky would be able to give you a tick box option so that you can select multiple programs at once and confirm delete once but no the process is "select one program confirm you want to delete one program".
Anytime: The Sky+ anytime option is like a showcase for programs that Sky want to draw to your attention. This is a great idea but from what I have seen Virgin do theirs much better. On Sky you press the red button on the TV guide and a list comes up of programs. These programs can be anything from docs, reality tv, movies, sports highlights etc. The movies it lists is actually quite good as they are usually the ones that Sky are showcasing that month. The rest of the options are hit and miss, if you like it you like it if not wait until the next update. On Virgin I have been shown that you can rate programs with 1,2 or 3 thumbs up to tell the system that these types of programs interest you, the Virgin box will then record those types of programs for you. It's pretty cool from what I have seen. It seems that Sky use anytime to push what they want you to see but Virgin help you find new programs like the ones you already watch and like. The strangest part is that if one of the random programs turns out to be interesting you can't series link from anytime! That's right you have to go through the tv guide to the program and record from there (because the search doesn't work remember!). Why Sky want to showcase stuf they want you to continue watching as a series but not let you easily record it is beyond me.
Sky Go: This is sky's mobile/internet option that allows you to watch sky on the move. It is really amazing however setting it up is a real pain as there are always problems registering devices. You are allowed to register two devices but you can only change one device a month. The problem is that the system just doesn't perform as intended. The last time I had a problem replacing a device it still didn't work having jumped through all the hoops and waited a whole month. I phoned sky support and the advisor told me that as i had removed a device prior to adding it the system had counted it as a change, yes removing a device counts as a change before you add the new device so really you seem to need 2 changes a month just to change one device! To top it off everytime I phone them they remind me that this is a free service as provided by Sky (I always ask them for the sky fraud team as I'm sure I pay them money every month)
These are the main features I use and I would assume the TV ones are the main functions most people would use day-to-day. If Sky could really improve what fancy people like to call User Experience then they could be the only real option to recommend. Even with only a tiny amount of experience with Virgin at friends houses I can see plenty of improvements that Sky could make to their TV Service.
I'm sure Virgin users would be able to point out flaws in the Virgin service but from my small experience with Virgin at other people's houses I think Sky could learn a lot from them at this time. I do feel I would be a Virgin customer if their service was available in my area.
I will admit that at first I was a little sceptical about HD TV. To me, prior to HD, Tv seemed good enough as it was and I saw little problem with the picture quality.
As I was both moving house and investing in a new TV at the same time it seemed logical that my new investment should be future proof and full HD compatible...and what's the point in having an HD TV with no HD content? I upgraded my sky subscription from the normal (non-sky+) to HD at the same.
Once the engineer had left I was blown away. The difference is more than I ever thought it would be and now I'd never go back, to the point that it is an irritant having to watch non-HD content from those channels sky is yet to drag into the 21st century. The movie channels really come into their own when in both HD and 5.1 sound as it's as close to an in-house cinema experience I can imagine.
Sky+ is included as part of the package. This in itself is a revelation to me that, much like HD, I never thought I needed until I had it and frequently find my box close to full with programming I would otherwise have missed or had to watch at a lower quality via the likes of iPlayer etc.
The menu system is fairly intuitive and although a little different to the standard sky one doesn't take much to learn to use.
For some reason the picture from the sky box is only 1080i rather than 1080p, so not actually FULL HD, but I find the difference negligible.
The sky anytime+ feature available for those who also have sky broadband is a nice addition but the content is somewhat lacking in quality. Sadly, there is also very little HD stuff available but it's a nice natural evolution of the anytime idea and will hopefully improve as time goes on.
The one possible complaint I had when first subscribing was the shortage of HD channels. Sky sports and the movie channels were there but little else. This is changing frequently and there are now over 50 available to justify the additional £10 per month but it is worth noting that just because the channel has the HD letters at the end doesn't necessarily mean you are watching HD as some do still broadcast standard definition content that has not been upscalled to the higher resolution.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend Sky HD to anyone who regularly uses either the sports, movie or nature channels as all benefit hugely from the added detail. Sky Arts also show some good HD content but may not justify the £120 a year additional subscription on it's own. If you don't have the sport or movie channels it's worth checking your favourite programming is available in HD. Assuming it is you may want to consider the upgrade.
With the advent of 3D now upon us, those with a 3D TV get the 3D channel included in the HD package but I can't comment on this yet as I haven't justified the 3D upgrade to my bank account just yet!
I subscribed to sky HD a while ago back close to its first realise and i must be truthful when i first got it was not so impressed there was such a lack, of High Definition content i looked into both sky and virgin HD boxes but even back then you could tell when the HD channels started to come sky would have all if not most of them.
Now there more HD channels available i would say in my personal view BBC HD is the best quality channel HD there is although they are all impressive.
We still have Sky+ in other rooms and the difference in navigation is extrem i am loving the TV for the HD box much more than the Sky+ box. The HD TV guide is so much more user friendly especially when it comes to the search function.
Also the search bar is more user friendly as now you can read the synopsis of another program without switching to that program.
Although is it good there is still a lack of HD content that is available but i think that more channels will be coming soon.
If you have a Good high definition TV and have £10 to spare each month I would definitely recommend it.
I was, at first, a little hesitant about paying the extra money per month to install a Sky HD box in our home. We already have Sky Plus so this was a multi-room add-on & I wasn't sure how it would be able to improve our viewing experience.
But it did just that. It improved our experience, which was already a pleasant one with Sky.
You can really tell the difference between the 'normal' non-HD channels and the flashy HD ones. When I first received the box, I wasn't convinced I would be able to see a difference so I popped on my glasses & flicked between Sky 1 and Sky 1 HD. I admit that I saw some improvements but still wasn't 100%. Onto the Discovery channels - that's where you'll notice the real difference! Nothing says HD like flying above snowy mountains in a picture so crisp and clear that you feel as though you're really there, you can almost feel the cold air brush past you.
After a while, I began to notice more and more differences between the normal channels & the HD ones. Whenever possible, I will record my favourite shows on HD channels because the image is just that much better - & besides, who doesn't want to see Tim Roth in all his HD glory?
There are a few tweaks still to sort out. I noticed that Comedy Central has recently added a HD channel although I've yet to notice any real difference (Probably due to most of their shows being re-runs and not being in HD to begin with). They did have some teething problems at the beginning and the channel often cut out without warning.
My biggest disappointment is that there just aren't enough HD versions of channels.
Having had Sky+ for over 3 years, we had been watching it on an older Sony television (still flat screen, but not high in Hertz) Hertz over 100 really improve the motion of what you are watching. So we decided to wait to get Sky HD until we upgraded our television to improve the overall viewing experience. We actually ordered our HD box online and this arrived in the post, so it just shows you how easy it is to install. (only if you have sky fitted already, not for new customers) we plugged in the new box, having it update via the telephone line. We did have to wait a few hours to receive certain features such as anytime, but mostly all other channels are avaliable. When initially turning on to a sky HD channel on our new tv it was actually breathtaking. We decided on watching the discovery channel and the difference was instantly recognisable. The image was so crystal clear and the picture so much more defined than your what your use too. The tv guide page is set out slightly different allowing the hd programmes to be in a sepperate folder. Currently there are many HD channels around but more and more are becomming avaliable. Although I do find the BBC hd channel to be confusing as it has its own playlist, showing selected programmes. Not the programmes that are being shown on BBC one. Overall having Sky HD s something I could never go back on. The quality is amazing and you can certainly tell the difference when viewing a standard channel.
Sky HD really is fantastic. Theres really no going back to something like freeview after this; nothing else compares to it. We first got this installed with Sky+ about four months ago. The man who installed it for us was actually late turning up and once he'd arrived seemed unsure what to do. However, after explaining what exactly we wanted doing, he was very efficient and friendly. It was installed by drilling a hole through our wall to connect the wire to the Sky box.
The difference between HD and a normal screen is unbelieveable at first. It's especially fantastic when watching sports or documentaries. There is one or more HD channel in nearly every programme genre.
~What Is Included?~
The tv guide is very easy to navigate; there are sections for each genre, such as: All channels, HD, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Movies, Sports, News, Documentaries, Kids, Music, Shopping, Religion, International, Gaming, Specialist, Adult and Favourites. There is also a little screen in the top right hand corner which shows the programme you are currently watching while you are surfing through the others channels to see what else is on.
HD channels include:
Sky Arts 1
Sky Arts 2
SkyPremiere + all Sky movie channels
+ many more.
All in all, this is a great addition to our TV. It really makes a difference, although after a while you get so used to it that you need to flick back to a non HD channel just to remember the difference. I'd defnitely recommend this to anyone who is sitting on the fence about whether or not to buy this.
I hope I helped!
When you see HD it is amazing how much technology has come on in the last 15 years, but SKY HD is not worth it unless you make an investment in an HD TV, otherwise you might as well just get Sky+.
The Sky+ HD box is very easy to set up if you're upgrading from Sky+, but if you don't have it plugged into a phone line then you'll need to activate it by phoning sky, but the staff are helpful and this will only take 5 minutes.
The HD package doesn't come as standard, so you'll need to pay £10 a month on top of the normal, but with an increasing number of HD Channels this isn't too hard to stomach.
The EPG on the box is one of the main annoyances, as it's clunky and slow, but this may well be solved in a future update.
Overall it's a definite improvement over Sky+ (Even more over FreeView!), but not without a few minor annoyances.
What is HD?
High definition television (often referred to as HDTV or HD) is video which has a resolution which is higher than the resolution which standard televisions have. HD has one or two million pixels per frame which is on average 5 times that of a standard television. The picture which you get on a high definition television is much sharper and clearer than that which you would get on a standard television.
Why choose Sky+ HD?
Sky+HD was launched in June 2006 and has been a massive hit with many existing and new sky customers. With a Sky+ HD box you are able to watch up to 44 high definition channels which have 5 times more picture detail and a wonderful vibrant colour. Sky+ enables you to pause live television so that you never miss a moment - something you cannot achieve from watching a standard television or sky box. With the pausing option, users are able to even rewind live television so that if you miss something, you just go back and watch it again. Sky+ HD gives you the option of either series link programme recording or reminders. This enables you to be able to either set a reminder for every time your favourite programme is on, or to record that programme so you never miss an episode. This feature is different from the one which you receive on the standard Sky+ box where you have to go into your planner and wait for it to series link your programme; this takes a lot longer than when you do it on a Sky+ HD box. The recording system enables you to record television and movies at the touch of a button. There is no need now for you to fiddle around with DVD recorders or video recorders with tapes and timers. You can record up to 60 hours of high definition shows or up to 185 hours of standard definition programmes. Recorded programmes are saved onto the hard-drive of the sky box.
The new Sky+HD TV guide
The now, next and later banner has been improved from the old Sky+ box so that it is easier to read and you can find out information on all the programmes on every channel 12 hours ahead. There is a mini TV in the right hand corner which allows you to look at what is on on whilst your watching something on television so you don't have to miss anything. Programmes in your planner are 'series stacked' so every episode of the same programme are kept in the same section. This saves you from hunting around in your planner for a specific episode. There is now also an improved search function which lets you search for a specific programme by its title or genre.
The box is a small, black smart looking box which is much more aesthetically pleasing than the previous editions of the sky boxes. It is small and slimline and won't look out of place with the rest of your electronic equipment.
What can you watch?
There are 44 different high definition channels which you can watch when you have a Sky+ HD box which you cannot watch on an ordinary Sky+ box. A few of these are:-
Sky Arts 1 & 2
Sky Premiere and Sky Showcase
Sky Real Lives
Sky Screen 1
Sky Screen 2
Sky Sci Fi/Horror
Sky Modern Greats
Sky Sports 1 - You feel as if you're on the football pitch
Sky Sports 2
Sky Sports 3
Sky Box Office 1
Sky Box Office 2
Sky plans to have 50 channels by Christmas 2010.
What do you need to have Sky+HD?
To have Sky+HD you will need a HD ready television and a Sky+HD box along with a Sky HD subscription. HD ready televisions have a little HD symbol in the corner which will let you know if they are HD compatible or not. The television also has to have a HDMI (A High Definition Multi Interface) port so it can be connected to the HD box. The cable which goes into this port delivers crystal-clear, all digital audio and video via one cable
So how much does it all cost?
If you already have sky?
Existing Sky TV customers get a free Sky+ HD box when they take their first Sky+ HD package. Customers who choose to upgrade to multiroom get free standard setup. The HD pack costs an extra £10 a month and so does the sky multiroom package.
If customers choose to replace their box with a Sky+ HD box and choose self set up there is a monthly charge of just £10 for the HD pack.
Customers choosing to replace their box but have an engineer visit their homes and set up the box for them (usually recommended) there is a standard set up fee of £60 and then a monthly cost of £10 for the HD pack.
If you're new to sky?
If you're new to sky you have several options available to you:-
* A Sky+ HD starter kit
This pack is a once a month payment of £29. You get:-
One entertainment pack, you get to choose one of six - £19 a month
A HD pack - £10 a month
Your Sky+HD box for free
Free set-up (this normally costs about £30)
* Sky+HD Movies
This pack is a once a month payment of £45. You get:-
1 Entertainment pack, you choose one of six - £19 a month
HD pack - £10 a month
Movies pack - You get to watch up to 600 movies a month (These are separate from box office which you get without the movies package) - £16 a month
Free Sky+HD box
Free set-up (this normally costs about £30)
* Sky+HD with Sky sports
This pack is a once a month payment of £49. You get:-
1 entertainment pack, you choose one of six - £19 a month
HD pack - £10 a month
Sports pack - You get exclusive live coverage of sports events across the sky sports HD channels - £20 a month
Free Sky+HD box
Free set-up (this normally costs about £30)
How can you get Sky+HD then?
You can upgrade online on www.sky.com, go in store or ring up it's as simple as that.
You pick what you want to watch, choose a sky box, add sky broadband and talk and choose an installation date. To speak to an advisor you can ring 08442 411 268 (UK) or 0818 719 852 (ROI)
My opinion of Sky+HD
I've now had a Sky+HD box for several months and I can certainly tell the difference between watching a standard channel and a high definition channel. The results are amazing and it's defiantly worth upgrading to the HD package. The TV guide although at the beginning was quite difficult for me to grasp as it is such a change from the original TV guide but after playing around with it for an hour or so I finally grasped it. The search function is incredibly useful and I find myself using that quite often to find programmes which I want to record without having to sift though hours of TV guide to find it. I think overall it was defiantly an investment upgrading to Sky+HD and would recommend it to both people considering upgrade and people considering joining Sky. The packages can be pricey but are defiantly worth it. For sports lovers Sky sports HD gives you the feel of being at the actual matches and for film fanatics the Sky movies HD package makes you feel like being at the movies in your own home (especially if you have surround sound!). I'd defiantly recommend.
Also on Ciao under the username of Kinwhat
I recieved my first sky plus hd box around 6 months ago and from day one it took over 20 minutes to switch it on every morning then one day it decided not to switch on at all, but after an engineer visit and a new box it works great. It takes 3 minutes to switch on after being put off at the mains, its a great picture and i love the layout of the menu. I would reccomend this to anyone as you can see everything much clearer in HD especially the football. I think the box looks great also and does not look out of place on my unit. I find it looks much better than the standard sky plus white box. I also like how when recording a programme it gives you the option to series link it straight away rather than having to go into your planner and doing it that way which takes a lot more time. All in all it is a great box.
This review will concentrate not the Sky Plus box itself, but as it says in the title on the current range of HD channels available from Sky. If you have a HD TV and a digital Tv package of any sort its certainly worth switching to this provider which offers itself at £10 extra per month on top of the monthly price you pay. Note: You will only receive HD channels in relation to your current package e.g you wont receive history HD if you don't receive the Documentary package etc. just worth a note as so many people I know have complained over this!
SKY 1 Hd, ITV HD and Channel 4 HD - The entire Sky 1, ITV and channel 4 output in HD. Much better quality picture, all programs on the normal channels in HD.
BBC HD - A HD channel from the BBC which is mainly BBC one output on an evening but doesn't include any sport or soaps. Usually worth checking listings as there is a difference
FX HD - American dramas, comedy and SCI Fi- Differs in output from the normal FX channel.
BIO HD, SYFY HD, E4 HD, SKY Arts 1 and 2 HD, Luxe TV, History HD, Sky News HD, Nat Geo HD, Discovery HD, Crime HD Sky Real Live HD- All the normal channels in HD
Movies and Sports - All channels on Sky movies and Sky sports currently showing in HD including older movies. Sport output looks great in Hd. Includes Eurosport
Sky Box Office HD - Covers special sporting events, WWE, Boxing ETC
All in all each of the main Sky packages you are likely to have there is at least a handful of HD channels available to you and for £10 a month you might as well make the most of that huge HD TV you paid all that money for. Remember its not HD unless you use something with HD output!
The difference is huge!
Also appears on my Ciao account
We purchased sky HD early 2010 with Christmas money and in my opinion it was money well spent.
Be advised though, you need to have a HD or HD ready TV
To more tech savvy people you need a TV that runs at 720p. 1080p or 1080i
The HD channels it includes are the ones you would expect from the leading digital TV provider, all the major stations, BBC, Sky one, all of the sports channels and one of my favourites discovery HD, there is no better display of the awesome picture quality than in nature programs, you can see every strand of grass and every single hair on an animal or Bear Grylls head.
The operating system seems to have had an overhaul as well, making browsing through the scheduled programs easier, there is also built in Sky+ so you can record programs while watching something else, which is very useful, i like begin in control of what im watching and when.
Just to make the switch over to HD easier, there is now an option on the TV guide section of the menus that shows you the HD version of the channels available and then shows you which shows where filmed with a HD camera so you can really see what's in HD
Sadly my one drawback with the HD channels is that it will put none HD programs such as cartoons like the Simpsons or family guy in a lower resolution to give the appearance of HD instead, which some times give the illusion of being squashed.
Overall i give Sky HD 4/5
It is still the best HD provider out there but has a price tag to match sadly
If you are watching something on Sky or Sky+ at the moment i would strongly recommend upgrading to Sky HD for just a slight increase on the amount you are paying now
Last year I decided that sky offered me a better deal than virgin so I cancelled my subscription at the end of the term, virgin then took away my discounts and made sure that I paid full price on everything for my last bill ( surely a 12mth contract is for both of us??) anyway I moved over to sky. my first attempt was using sky+, a move which although had no on demand made me happy, I soon moved up to sky hd when offered a free box off tesco and here I am 12 mths on, watching 4 entertainment packs, sky sports 1 and disney cinemagic ( all on hd) with unlimited broadband and unlimited phone calls with line rental all for £66.00. now they have had excellent customer service because when I have wanted to change over the packages they did it all without any trouble.
if you keep changing packages and keep making calls then you can expect to have different bills every month but go for the unllimited stuff and you cannot go wrong.
They have also told me that we are soon to get on demand tv through the sky anytime service which should cost no more.
I recently signed up for sky hd after taking up their offer to existing customers for a free sky hd box then only another £10 a month on top of your existing package. There is an set up fee of £30 which is a bit excessive considering all it involves is basically a sky engineer coming round your house and plugging it in before spending 10 minutes updating it. To be honest, if you're an existing cumstomer and know how the sky box works then the new box isn't much different so an instruction manual would have been better than paying £30!
At the moment there are about 30 odd channels but they are promising to raise this to 50 by christmas. The picture quality is brilliant particularly on the bbc and sky movies channels, it makes normal resolution seem out of focus! Not all hd channels show hd programmes as there are lots of normal shows that have 'enhanced' pictures but these are not hd. The memory of the box is much bigger than before as well so as to come with the hd programmes.
In conclusion there are lots of nice features on sky hd (such as asking you if you want to record a series or just one progamme everytime you go to record) but all in all this is more 'evolution' than 'revolution'.
I had been debating for a good while on whether to get sky HD added to my sky TV package but every time I looked at the advertisements I just couldn't warrant paying an extra £10 per month. I loved the whole idea of HD considering I already had the HD ready TV but I couldn't believe that once getting HD you don't actually receive any added channels, for instance you get HD versions of programmes you can already watch but there isn't anything extra.
Anyway about 4 months ago I caved into the latest craze and decided to go for it. I called sky television customer services and advised that I wanted to add sky HD to my current package. At this point the staff were very helpful and really nice to talk to. The lady that I was ordering my package with advised me that I would need a new box to view HD as my sky plus box wasn't equipped for it.
I was then offered to have the box delivered and install myself or have a specially trained member of staff there to do it for me. At this point I paid the lady £30.00 one off payment for my box and declined the help. The lady advised me installation was simple and that I would have no problems installing myself.
When my box arrived I couldn't wait to get started so I asked my partner to do the installation and get things going. We did everything advised and contacted sky who told us a few things to do by the remote then he confirmed it was all done correctly. The lad then advised us to wait up to 6 hours and by this time we will have HD television.
About 7 hours later I still had no HD and to make matters worse all of my movie channels were now missing. I called customer services and was then advised that it could actually take 24 hours and I had previously been miss-informed. The lady couldn't explain why I had lost channels but assured me it would be fixed by that time tomorrow. I wasn't impressed by this stage but casually accepted.
The time arrived the following day and I still didn't have HD or the channels I was paying for and lost. I called customer services and again was advised another 24 hours again I agreed to save argument but again 24 hours later there was nothing.
The next time I rang customer services I asked to speak with someone higher as I wasn't getting any help from that particular lad. Anyways after daily phone calls by the fourth day my sky HD was up and running and my lost channels were back up and running. Sky did compensate for the missing days so I have to give them that.
I must admit I do definitely notice a difference with sky HD especially when watching nature programmes or films as the picture is clearer and brighter and you can clearly see the difference in picture quality when swapping between normal and HD.
The sky HD box itself is very smartly designed being a slightly curved black with a smart silver line across the front. It looks nicely in place with the rest of the electricals and it doesn't need to be hidden out the way.
I like the way the menus and TV listing work as the difference between HD and normal sky plus is that the show you are watching is still available to view in the corner. With the HD box you can still use the sky plus facility.
I must admit I have had a few problems with recording HD programmes as when I try to view them at a later date they keep sticking and skipping. To be fair I haven't rang about this issue yet but I intend to this weekend. I will say though that a few of my friends now have HD and they don't have any issues with it at all so maybe I'm just a bit unlucky.