Tata Sky finally has a recorder that can play and record HD content. OK, so it’s not full HD, but 1080i is better than nothing at all. The Tata Sky technicians graciously set it up for us in our lab and although it took over half a day to make the necessary arrangements, it was done.
The USB slot in the front which has no current use
Now that we’ve had the set-top box for a week or so, let's see if it really is worth the buy.
Now you can record HD content
We hooked up the box to the Philips 6000 Series Full HD TV as well as the Dell ST2420L Full HD monitor via HDMI. Keep in mind that the box has an output of 16:9 as well as 4:3, so resolution is maintained. The HD transmission is in 1080i, whihc is not full HD but a step below it. Sadly, there's only a small list of HD channels provided These include National Geographic, Discovery and Star Plus, although the latter is currently just upscaled. What’s nice is that cricket is also being shown in HD and surprisingly without ad breaks. Apart from this and a few movies that fall into the VOD (video on demand) category, everything else is pretty much in standard definition.
The view from behind
One bonus is that the Tata Sky + HD come loaded with a 500GB internal hard drive which is plenty of space to record your favorite shows. What Tata claims is up to 625 hours of standard definition content. That’s nothing to sneeze at but don’t expect the same amount of content in HD seeing as file size is so much larger. An additional function is the ability to record up to 2 shows simultaneously however the catch is you’ll have to be watching one of them at the time. Movies in the ‘Showcase’ section can also be recorded, but you’ll have to make sure you watch them within 24 hours of purchase. 25 hours and it’s gone, that’s not enough time sometimes. Of course one has to wonder why you’d buy a movie and not watch it. Then again someone else in your home could buy it and save it for you.
A good product that just needs a little time
The price tag on the Tata Sky + HD is Rs. 3,999 with monthly plans starting at Rs. 150. Here’s something that could be a real deal breaker for a few potential subscribers planning to upgrade services – You’ll end up with two boxes. There’s no way to exchange your older box and of course you can’t be gracious and pass it along to a friend, since it’s registered to you, your only recourse is to use it in another room.
The bottom line is, it’s still an upgrade or purchase you should consider but at a later date, when more HD channels are made available. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before more HD channels are introduced, but who’s to say when that will happen? But for those who want to be prepared, the Tata Sky + HD set-top box is a no brainer. Buy it, install it and get ready to start recording.
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