Sky Digital is superior to cable companies who only provide a shortlist of channels in comparison. New Sky channels are being added eg +1 hour later. The Sky Magazine has updated us with the Essentials brochures and remote control guides. The Autoview function switches channels and our VCRs or DVD Recorders can record these shows eg overnight.
I am experiencing excellent TV pictures from the AV scart connection using gold-tipped digital-friendly scart cables, especially 1 inch thick scart cables. I learnt how to use the Sky Installation Menu to change the RF Output channel from say channel 68 to channel 21 through to 69. I found better TV channel reception on a few of these UHF channels. Press Services 4, 0, 1, select then 4. Change UHF setting to another channel then check what the ordinary TV channel display looks like. I reset my TV to make channel 21 show the UHF 21 channel and so on through to channel 69. This speeds things up.
I got a new Sky minibox and twin LND unit fitted to get the multiroom service. After a year the new box was mine without a continued subscription. I got a new Pace Sky box from Ebay and replaced my first box so I got even better reception. I got another set top box from Ebay later because I wanted an extra remote control and the set top box was only a few pounds extra anyway.
Freeview set top boxes like the Netgem I-Player or BT Digital TV Adapter version have a selection of about 85 TV and Radio channels. You need a wideband roof aerial fitted plus signal booster boxes and gold-tipped UHF cables just to scan and get and maintain decent pictures. You can still lose channels and experience broken up pictures or frozen screen displays. I got a Netgem I-Player Freeview set top box from Ebay mainly because it has Internet access like the Bush Internet set top box but with lots of extra features.
For £150 you could get a new Sky box with a much better Freeview style selection of Sky channels but I'd rather recommend a friend to get a subscription package and both get some freebies eg Shop vouchers. It's much better to get a fully enabled Sky viewing card to choose either 2, 4 or 6 channel mixes and to upgrade to Sky Movies for a month or to order a Sky Box Office film every now and then.
Enjoying Freeview may seem like getting a cheap Freeview set top box and then getting an expensive aerial fitted plus signal boosters etc yet you'd soon want an even better selection of channels and think of getting Sky and maybe later getting a second Sky box to please the rest of the family, too. At the end of the year's minimum contracts you own the set top boxes etc. You can cancel the subscriptions and still get the best collection of free channels or maybe try one of the excellent cable suppliers. Even in the passing of a year they still won't have all the Sky subscription channels so you could miss out on some great entertainment... and their installed equipment usually doesn't belong to you when you cancel with them.
As always, Sky offers an incredible selection of channels and services including Sky Talk phone discounts. Compare these deals with NTL, Telewest etc. Ordinary Freeview set top boxes aren't in their league. They are just one step up the ladder from basic TV with 5 or 6 channels and several radio channels added if you ever want to tune in to them. Brilliant if you're OK with what they offer, but nowhere near what Sky has on show...