Amstrad HD Box DRX780UK

The Amstrad HD Box DRX780UK is the latest digital box that's tailor fit for Sky+ HD from Amstrad. Not surprising since Sky owns Amstrad.

This digital box comes in the same flow design that may be seen in other contemporary digital boxes: curved shape, black and a matching remote. It also has the same hard drive capacity at 300 gigabytes, 160 gigabytes of which is considered personal space.

The Amstrad DRX780UK may be used with an existing Sky Subscription card, or with a subscription to HD Mix. It also supports free to air channels and free HD channels like Luxe HD and BBC HD.

The Amstrad DRX780UK comes with the HD remote control, user manuals, SCART lead UK power lead, HDMI lead, RF lead and telephone lead. It may be connected to an aerial antenna, VCR, and has connection options to HDMI, digital optical and coaxial audio outs, S-video, 2 dish inputs, SATA, Ethernet, USB, RF1 and RF2 outs and RS-232.

I personally saw this digital box in action, after my friend got it just last week. The HD picture is excellent, specifically on SS HD, Discovery HD and BBC HD. Amstradís latest digital box certainly lived up to its marketing hype of providing excellent picture quality. But it is not the case with the picture quality of standard definition channels though, which at most could be best described as decent.

Decent is not exactly excellent, but I guess it is a wee bit better than Thomson's new HD box. Also, if you set the output to automatic, the picture quality improves slightly.

Compared to my older box and Thomsonís digital boxes, this one also has faster menus. What's more it seems that it has not failed a recording session. The unit is quiet, barely noticeable. So there is really not a lot to complain about this box, at all. And as my friend would attest, he has had "no problems so far."

Admittedly, it could be better, but with Sky subsidising it, it seems that most of us won't have any choice if the engineer comes around knocking with the Amstrad HD DRX780UK in hand. Sky *does* own Amstrad, don't they?

A Pace or a Samsung HD digital box has been known to give better signals though. But overall, it seems Amstrad is the digital box to get if you want reliability. Another good thing about Amstrad's new HD box is that not only has it been getting good reviews, it has not been known to overheat or crash; as is the case with Samsung's. Also Sky's engineers seem to be recommending Amstrad more than any other digital box (did I mention Sky owned Amstrad?)

So overall, Amstrad has come out with a box with a respectable SD picture quality, excellent HD picture and generally better than average sound. It seems Amstradís edge over similar HD boxes is that it has proven to be more reliable than pricier digital boxes, notably that of Samsungís