I didn’t believe it, but it has. And now and I wouldn’t be without my Sky+ digital satellite receiver.
It costs £99 and on top of that you either have to subscribe to two premium TV packages, such as movies and sport, or pay an extra £10 per month rental as well as a subscription to Sky digital TV. It sounds a lot, but believe me it is well worth it.
Sky+ is a regular digital satellite receiver, but the clever part is that it contains a hard disc, which can record and save digital TV programmes. The quality of the playback is identical to the original broadcast, and you don’t need any tapes. There’s no more hunting round for a video cassette with enough space wound on to the right place.
And there’s no complicated programming of a VCR.
To record, just search for your programme on the onscreen planner, which gives you all the listings on all the channels for a week, then press the record button, and that’s it. Even better, if you are a soap fan or are hooked on a series of programmes, then press the record button followed by the series link button. Sky+ will then record every episode automatically — you don’t have to do anything more and you will never miss an episode of EastEnders or Doctors again.
Sky+ can record two programmes at once while you watch a pre-recorded programme. And that is not all. You can also pause live programmes, rewind and play action replays.
Often programmes on satellite channels last for about an hour and include about 20 minutes of adverts, which can really break up the action. A good tip is to set the record button for that programme and then start watching it 20 minutes after it starts. You can then fast forward through the adverts at 30 times the normal speed. You get to the end at the same time.
You can now programme your Sky+ box remotely using your mobile phone or texting. It costs 25p per programme, but if you are away from home and realise you haven’t set it to record your favourite programme, it could be money well spent.
Sky+ can store up to 40 hours of TV on its hard disc, and you can also archive your programmes onto a DVD or video cassette.
Watch what you like, when you like. It will revolutionise how you watch television; I absolutely love it.
Dr Steven Livingston is a GP in Barnet, Hertfordshire