With 65 HD channels and a newly extended catch-up service, Sky is now comfortably ahead of the rest when it comes to offering pay TV subscribers a range of channels to choose from. But with so much to dine on you're gonna need a bigger boat if you want to keep on top of all the sport, movies and other entertainment available. Enter the new Sky+HD 2TB PVR.
The nomenclature is a tad misleading, though. This latest receiver only offers 500GB more user recording space than its Sky+ HD 1TB predecessor. The remaining 500GB is portioned off for on-demand services.
But whatever way you cut it, it can sure fit in a heck of a lot of TV episodes.
Design wise, the new Sky+ HD 2TB is a dead-ringer for its sibling. This Sky/Amstrad-made box measures a compact 351 x 265 x 73mm (13.8 x 10.4 x 2.9 inches) and has a curvy, glossy finish and comparable jack pack.
In addition to HDMI, there are two digital audio outputs (optical and coaxial), Scart (needless to say you'll not benefit from HD if you use this), a pair of F-connectors, Ethernet, RJ45 telephone jack plus inactive e-SATA and USB ports from and back.
The Sky viewing card slots lurks behind a small fascia flap on the right. The default Sky remote is also supplied.
The Sky+ HD 2TB set-top box is priced at £49 (around AU$76/US$79) for existing Sky customers who take an HD subscription. New customers joining with HD can get the box for £149 (around AU$231/US$240).
Other charges may apply depending on your chosen package or setup. Sky charges £30 as a standard set-up cost for new customers, and £60 for existing Sky TV customers. However, self-set up is available for £15.
To access the full bouquet of Sky+ HD channels requires a £10.25 increment to your chosen Sky package price.
If you want to buy an extra Sky+ HD 2TB box, or buy the box without a Sky+ HD subscription, it will cost you £249.
The original Sky+ recorder effectively set the template for all other PVRs to follow, and this latest iteration doesn't deviate much from the formula.
A seven day ahead electronic programme guide (EPG) enables you to record shows or series, plus there's Live Pause and - most recently and excitingly - Undelete.
12 best Blu-ray players in the UK 2012
The latter provides a welcome safety net. Should a family member 'accidentally' erase your carefully manicured stack of Star Trek: TOS Remastered (thank you CBS Action), you can pull Kirk and co back from the black hole of oblivion.
The most fundamental change from earlier Sky propositions is the revamped and engorged on-demand offerings.
Thankfully Sky continues to push new shows and movies into the box overnight just as it did with AnyTime, which enables you to find surprises that might otherwise have been lost amid the EPG, and now there's Pull-based catch-up content as well.
In addition to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Demand 5, there's content from Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts and Sky Sports. And 4od is promised for 2013.
When it comes to sheer usability, Sky has this game nailed with the Sky+ HD 2TB. The main menu navigation is clean and simple, sub-menus are clear, and the EPG is snap to navigate.
When it comes to searching for content, though, it's a bit of a dog's dinner. Finding a needle in a haystack would probably be easier.
Thankfully, this no longer really matters, since search functionality is now very effectively covered by the Sky+ app, which increasingly is becoming part and parcel of the user experience.
The latest version of the Sky+ app for iPad, blessed with Zeebox technology, enhances viewing with metadata-linked search and some social media. The Android app isn't as advanced, but still offers remote recording, search and channel highlights.
In terms of raw audio-visual performance, the Sky+ HD 2TB box doesn't disappoint (although there are the usual caveats). The best of Sky's HD channel output, which includes Sky Sports F1 HD, is recorded with mirror-perfect fidelity.
When it comes to 1080i TV transmissions, you won't find better. Naturally some of the lower budget SD channels aren't up to snuff, although the box will try valiantly to upscale them depending on how the picture set-up menu has been configured.
The service is also fully compatible with Sky's Side-By-Side format 3D output. While this lacks the clarity of flat high-definition, it's entertaining enough if funny spectacles are your thing.
Sky deserves a pat on the back for at least maintaining its commitment to the third dimension, given the withering disregard expressed by consumers at large. It's probably fair to say that we won't see 3D being ramped up much going forward, but at least there's been no let-up in free and new Pay TV offerings from the channel.
Perhaps disappointingly, Dolby Digital 5.1 is still only available over a separate digital audio lead - the HDMI feed is slavishly chained to stereo.
Consequently you can expect some faffing around with your AV receiver if you plan on employing the recorder in a home cinema system. Once up and running, though, it's a solid enough multi-channel sound experience.