Digital TV and HD Digital TV Through a Satellite Dish

Sky currently operates the most popular digital TV service in the UK and they are also the only provider of digital satellite television services. Sky are known as an industry leading innovator in the digital TV field and have recently won multiple awards for their personal video recorder PVR) and high definition (HD) boxes.

How does Sky Digital work?

Sky broadcast digital quality programming via satellite, which is then picked up by domestic mini satellite dishes that are fixed upon the external wall or roof of your home. The signal will then be passed from the mini dish through cabling into your Sky set top box which will into turn be connected to your TV in order to output programming. Technically the system is very complex but you will not need to worry about installation because Sky will designate an engineer to fit the system for you and they will also supply you with all the equipment necessary for the service.

How to choose the right Sky Digital package?

There are usually several different viewing packages that you can choose based upon price, number of channels required, and equipment needed. In many ways this is a great benefit because you can tailor your choices to your specific requirements so that you do not pay for an option that you will never use. Having said that, the wide variation of options can seem confusing at first glance so it is wise to have a general idea of what you want prior to beginning the Sky Digital online ordering system. We will run you through some of the issues you should consider.

When you are choosing your preferred package you should initially decide what type of set top box you want (note that the Sky Minidish will be offered free of charge with all paid subscriptions). There are three main choices, from a free option, to the latest High Definition box, which you will need to pay for.

Standard Sky box

The standard Sky box is offered free of charge to everyone that takes out a paid subscription to a Sky TV channel package, which is a minimum of £15 per month (there may be a £30 installation charge based on circumstances). The standard box outputs digital TV and radio channels, incorporates an excellent electronic programming guide (EPG), parental control mechanisms and a wealth of additional digital output (you may have heard broadcasters telling you to “press your red button…” – you will be able to do this via your Sky system).

Sky + box

The Sky + box is the intermediate option and will cost a one off fee to buy the box as well as an ongoing monthly fee (currently £10 per month) – although this is waived on many of the Sky packages. The Sky + box acts as a digital recorder – inside the Sky + box is a hard drive (the kind you will find inside a computer) that will record programmes at the push of a button. This negates the need for clunky videotapes or the necessity to find blank media to record to – the programmes will be stored in the box itself. Not only can you record programmes, you can also pause and rewind live television due to the hard drive technology. Basically you will find all the benefits of the standard Sky box in the Sky + box, but you will also have the option to record programmes with the minimum of fuss. You can schedule recordings through the simple yet powerful Sky planner (EPG) and even record entire series automatically – watch your favourite programmes at a time to suit you! If you’re already familiar with the standard Sky service, Sky+ will likely take you minutes to master.

Sky HD box

The High Definition (HD) box is currently the most advanced Sky receiver on the market today. It encompassed all the features of the Sky + box, but includes a larger hard disk (so you can record more programmes) and you can view and record in High Definition format. As the technology is so advanced, there are few channels that actually produce programmes in HD format, so there is limited scope for viewing, however, more programming is being rolled out continuously and the increase in picture definition (4x better) has to be seen to be believed.

Similarly to the Sky + box you will need to pay a one off fee for the receiver and a monthly subscription in order to make use of the HD facilities.

One important note is that you will need a television that is capable of connecting to the HD box, otherwise you will not be able to receive programmes in the HD format. The vast majority of the new plasma and LCD style televisions will be able to offer high definition viewing. To make sure, check that the TV has at least one HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) socket. If it does, you will be able to connect your Sky HD player via an HDMI cable (similar to a scart cable) to your TV and experience glorious High Definition viewing!

Sky Digital Channels

Once you have decided on the type of Sky box you want, your final choice is to decide which channels you want in your package. There are several different packages which you can choice from a low monthly cost for a basic entertainment package all the way to over £50 per month for all channels including HD channels, entertainment, movies, sports, etc. There is literally hundreds of Sky Digital TV channels and radio broadcasts that can be chosen with new channels being added regularly. You will be able to find a comprehensive list of them during the order process on the Sky site.