It’s not in the same league as, say, the Apple iPod, but Sky’s innovative Sky+ digital video recorder will in time be recognised as the product that launched a thousand competitors. It’s been around for an eternity in gadget terms, which just goes to show how right it was in the first place. Sky+ is still one of the most effective and elegant ways to organise your TV viewing.

No HDMI needn’t be a problem

In some ways, Sky+ has fallen off the pace in recent times. It doesn’t have an HDMI output (heck, it doesn’t even have component video outputs) – Sky wants you to buy a Sky HD box for that. It may boast a 160GB hard drive, but only half of that is available for personal recordings – the rest is for receiving Anytime, Sky’s on-demand service.

Still, 80GB is enough for more than 40 hours of recording, and the way the Sky+ box goes about its business is still a lesson for the competition. The on-screen menus and programme guide are easy to read, simple to understand and a piece of cake to navigate. Find the programme you want to copy on the guide, and press record. That’s all it takes. Even if you’re out of the house when the realisation that you’re missing Dog Borstal strikes, you can go to and set the box recording via your mobile phone.

The original and the best

Naturally, you can pause and rewind live TV. Naturally, there’s a digital optical output for connection to your multichannel amp, so you can enjoy surround sound from any broadcasts that include it. And since the advent of Sky HD, the box is less expensive than ever and the package of Sky programmes you must buy is more flexible.

It’s no longer cutting edge, but Sky+ is still excellent at what it does. All of the other PVRs in our Top 10 are slaves to the Sky+ template. It will become a classic.

Stuff says... 

Sky + review

It’s not too sophisticated, but Sky+ is so simple, useful and reliable that it makes most other PVRs seem vaguely remedial