home entertainment

Super Quick Fixes if Your Sky Digital Box Has No Signal

Quick Fixes if Your Sky Digital Box Has No Signal

You’ve just sat down after a long day, ready to stick on one of your favourite programmes to kick back and relax…only to find that your Sky Box has no signal.

There’s nothing more frustrating!

Unfortunately, if your sky box has no signal due to bad weather, there’s not a whole lot you can do. However, there are some DIY quick fixes you can try to fix your Sky Box signal.

Sky has No Signal? Try this first…

First, check that no cables have come loose or disconnected at the back of your box. This is one of the most common problems you’ll encounter when your sky box has no signal, but luckily it’s the quickest fix!

You can also make sure there are no objects that you may have inadvertently placed on a cable.

If the cables are all good, try the following to troubleshoot the problem:

Rest Transponder in Off Mode

Press and hold the Standby button on your Sky remote until the red light indicating ‘Off” comes on, and wait five seconds before pressing the Sky button on your remote.

The light will change to amber indicating the digital box is in the standby mode.

Wait another five or so minutes before going to the next step which is to press the Sky button again. The box defaults to the Welcome Channel (channel 998) which confirms the reset and connection status.

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Check the Dish Input Connection

This step will interrupt any recordings that are currently in process. However, saved settings and recorded programmes are safe.

First, switch off your Sky Box and all peripheral devices at the mains and wait until the power light on your digital box has gone out before moving on to the next step.

Unscrew the dish input cables and check for two things:

  • Damage to the cables. Call an engineer if the cables are dislodged from the metal housing or the nozzle is bent or broken.
  • The two separate cable parts must not be touching. Keep the core and the braiding (copper or aluminium sheath) separate at all times. If there’s even an iota of contact, you’ll lose signal.

If the cables are ok, gently push them back into their sockets and tighten the screws.

Check Signal Strength

Checking signal strength is the same of HD and older model Sky Boxes. Press the Services button on your remote and then the 4 & 6 buttons. You’ll get the Signal Test Menu.

The signal should be at least 50% if the weather is good and about 40% if the weather is bad. If you’ve got no signal strength try the following steps:

  1. Switch the Sky + HD box and TV to standby
  2. Wait a few minutes and then switch off all connected items and unplug them from the mains
  3. Disconnect and then reconnect the cables from the satellite to Dish Input 1 and Dish Input 2 at the back of your box.
  4. Take care not to bend the copper wire in the middle of the satellite cable and make sure you secure the connection at the back of the skybox (remember, if these wires are damaged or broken you’ll need to call a Sky engineer to sort them out).
  5. Plug in and switch on all items and check signal strength again

Error message

If you get a message that says, No Satellite Signal is Being Received – Error 25 or Error 29 you can try resetting your digital box.

Switch off the mains and unplug the Sky Box and HD or Standard recorder from the mains supply.

Wait about half a minute and reconnect all the items you’ve unplugged and switch on the mains. Check to see whether you’ve got a signal. If you still don’t have a signal the fault might be in the new Sky mini dish LNB cables, standard LNB cables or coaxial cable.

Check LNB Cables

Check the LNB cables by checking the F-Connectors for tightness; they should be tight, but not too tight. Look for moisture which is harmful to the feeder or LNB. The LNB cable connections must be adequately water-proofed, failure. Adequately water-proofed cable connections will have self-amalgamating tape, other types of tape aren’t sufficient for keeping moisture out of the cable box and LNB over the long term, and will inevitably disrupt signal from the satellite dish.

Try swapping the LNB Cables by unscrewing the cable connectors found on the back of the box, swap them around to check if one of them is faulty.

If this gives you a picture then check the F-Connector on the faulty cable at both the dish and box for a short triggered by the coaxial cable outer braiding touching the cable’s copper centre.

Dish alignment

It’s easy for a dish to be knocked out of alignment by anything from weather to somebody putting a ladder up to clean high windows or check the gutter. If the dish has been knocked out of position you can try to realign it yourself or call a technician to do it for you.

While you’re up there, you can also check the general condition of your dish. It may be badly rusted or corroded, in which case a replacement is necessary.

For a video tutorial on how to cure this problem, please see here;

If you still have problems and have a TV capable of Wi-Fi – why not try NOW TV?

NOW TV is available on demand with single day or monthly passes and can make accessing SKY’s services much easier and cheaper.

Still No Signal from your Skybox?

The problem may lie with the Sky Box itself! Try swapping your box with a neighbour or friend and if the borrowed Sky Box works just fine then you know that yours is faulty and you’ll have to give the Sky helpline a call.

Quick Tips If Your Sky BoX Won’t Turn On

If your Sky digital box won’t turn on or becomes unresponsive, here are some 7 troubleshooting tips that can rectify the fault:

  1. Reboot the Sky Box

A reboot should be your first course of action when attempting to solve technical issues with any device. In the case of the Sky Box, you’ll need to switch off the plugs for the box and all connected devices (either deactivate them at the mains or unplug them). Make sure the power light for the Sky Box is off and that all connected devices are also powered off. Then switch them all back on. Wait about 3 minutes before pressing Sky on your Sky remote. A green light display on the front indicates that your Sky box problems have been resolved.

  1. Power reset

If your Sky digital box has become unresponsive to the remote control commands, turn off the mains of the digital box and the television. Ensure there are no lights in the digital box panel before you switch on the mains again.  As you do so, a red light will appear indicating that the box is in standby mode. Let the box remain in the standby mode for about 5 minutes and then switch on the television and press Sky on the remote. The digital box light should turn green and your Sky welcome channel should appear.

  1. Remote control

Sometimes the Sky Box won’t turn on because the batteries in your Sky remote are getting too weak to work. Replacing the batteries may help resolve the problem. Alternatively, if you have accidentally pressed the TV button on the remote, the Sky Box will become unresponsive.  Press the Sky button on the remote to get the box to respond.

  1. Software update

The digital Sky Box may also become unresponsive if it is overdue for a software update. To initiate the software download, unplug the digital box and press the ‘Backup’ button located at the front panel of the digital box. Without releasing the backup button, plug in the digital box. Keep pressing the button until the lights on the front panel of the digital box flash. You can let go of the button but will need to wait for approximately 10 minutes while the software downloads. Once the software has been installed, your digital box should operate perfectly.

  1. LNB settings

LNB settings determine whether or not your Sky Box can receive satellite signals, so if the box is not responding, it could be due to an LNB fault. Check that you have the right LNB settings. You can access your LNB settings by going to your menu system (press Select on the remote) and choosing the Settings option (it’s the option to the far left, with a spanner next to it). Choose the ‘Advanced Settings’ option; you will be asked for a PIN number (0000 for the older decoders, the first four digits of your account number for the newer models. You can call Sky for help if you don’t remember it). After entering your Pin number, select LNB setup.

  1. Connectors

Check that the connectors at the back of the Sky Box are tightly screwed on. Check that there are no stray wires around the cable connectors.

  1. Panel reset

If the above steps do not work, try resetting the box. (Important: This will delete all recordings in your hard drive). To reset the digital box follow these steps:

  • Turn off the mains
  • Press the left and right arrow buttons either side of the select button on your Sky remote
  • Keeping the buttons pressed, turn on the box again
  • Continue pressing the buttons and within 60 seconds the blue/green circle lights on the box will light up
  • Release the left and right arrow buttons and press the select button twice
  • The blue/green circle lights will move anti-clockwise and the record/ play lights will start flashing on/off
  • When the lights go off, the box is rebooted
  • You will only see the red light on the box
  • Wait for 3 minutes before switching on the box using the remote to see if the problem has been resolved.
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Pick of the Best Home Theatre Surround Sound Systems

Pick of the Best Home Theatre Surround Sound Systems

Do you love the immersive sound experience when you go to the cinema? Of course you, who doesn’t? Do you want to bring some of the magic home with you? You can, thanks to the range of surround sound home cinema systems available on the market.

Some home entertainment systems represent a significant financial investment (they can cost in excess of £1500) and some are far more affordable. Whatever you pay for your system, however, you want to ensure that it is well protected against various risks, including breakdown and theft. This makes insurance something of a necessity.

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What type of system do I need: Wireless surround sound, compact soundbar, 3D audio and visual capabilities?

The first thing you need to do is decide what type of sound system you want; for example, you can simply use a hi-fi system to ramp up your sound, or you can buy a sophisticated wireless home theatre system, or you can get a nifty, space-saving soundbar which mimics surround sound without all of the speakers.

If you go the home theatre route you can choose between 5.1 surround sound (3 front speakers, 2 rear speakers and a subwoofer) and 7.1 surround sound (which means you get 7 speakers and a subwoofer). All of those speakers come with a lot of wires, which can get messy and confusing. Fortunately there are some wireless surround sound options that are much neater to set up.

Home cinema systems are comprehensive, which means they usually come with a Blu-ray or DVD player, and also include 3D TV and audio options.

Soundbars (or sound bars, depending on the brand) don’t have external speakers, instead they have several speakers enclosed in a bar or base that can be placed in front of your TV or wall-mounted. The speakers are designed to mimic surround sound, so you don’t have to sacrifice sound quality just because you don’t have the space for 5 or 7 speakers. Some soundbars come with an external subwoofer so that you can get even better sound.

The option you choose depends on how much space you have, how fussy you are about sound and how much you want to spend. Soundbars are usually the cheapest and most compact option, and while the definitely offer good audio quality, they don’t provide the ultra-immersive surround sound that many people crave.

Home theatre systems with surround sound offer superior audio (provided you buy a good quality system) but the speakers do take up a lot of space and you may need someone to help you with installation if all the wires and connections intimidate you.

Connecting your hi-fi to your TV is the most basic and affordable option. You’ll get better sound quality than from your TV speakers and you can adjust the audio settings to suit you. You won’t get the surround sound experience though.

Features to look for

Good sound quality, obviously. The system needs deliver clear dialogue and the sound effects and background audio shouldn’t drown out dialogue.

Easy set-up is very important, especially if you’re going to do the installation on your own.

User-friendliness is also important, after all, you don’t want to breeze through the installation part and then spend the next few days trying to figure out how to open the DVD player.

Our pick of home theatre surround sound systems

  • Sony BDV-N5200W Home Cinema System

Winner of the best home cinema system of 2014, it also got 5 stars from What HiFi. It delivers crisp, immersive surround sound, great picture quality, compact speakers and it’s easy to set-up. The entire system consists of a Blu-ray player, 5 speakers, wireless subwoofer, compact amplifier, and a range of smart features.

Expect to pay around £500.

  • Sony HT-RT5 Hybrid Home Cinema System

This Sony model is a hybrid soundbar-surround sound system that may fall short on surround sound quality but still delivers clear sound and delivery. It comes with a subwoofer, and two rear wireless speakers, as well as 3 HDMI inputs and one output.

Expect to pay between £500 and £680.

  • Philips Fidelio B5 Soundbar Surround Sound System

This Philips home theatre system earned 5 stars for sound, build and features from What Hi-Fi? One of its selling points is its Bluetooth-powered multi-room surround sound speakers. All aspects of audio gel with one another, so you can clearly distinguish between the special effects, the dialogue and soundtrack. It comes with 2 HDMI inputs and one output.

Expect to pay around £550.

  • Ruark Audio R7 Mk2

The R7 earned 5 stars from TrustedReviews, thanks to the incredible sound from its CD player, FM internet radio, stereo speakers, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optional TV mount. The main unit can either sit on a sideboard, on its own feet, or on legs. The long retro-designed unit comes with a subwoofer and ‘one of the coolest remotes around, no question’. The optional AV/TV mount can accommodate televisions up to 50”, and comes with space for a satellite box and Blu-ray player.

Expect to pay around £2000.

  • Cambridge Audio CXN

The Cambridge Audio CXN also earned 5 stars from TrustedReviews. It comes with Wi-Fi and Ethernet (and optional Bluetooth), Spotify Connect and internet radio, incredible sound, and a 4.3” colour display. It may carry a high price tag, but the superior sound quality is deemed well worth it.

Expect to pay around £700.

  • Samsung R7

Another 5-star winner, the Samsung surround sound system is good looking, easy to use, delivers great sound and boasts a wealth of features, including Omni-directional sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and online music streaming.

Expect to pay around £500.

  • LG LHB725 Surround Sound Home Cinema System

This LG home theatre system earned 4 stars from ExpertReviews, thanks to great picture and sound quality and compact components. It boasts a 3D Blu-ray player, subwoofer, 5 speakers, Bluetooth, Ethernet port and wireless connectivity options. You can also choose between a multi-room setup and Private Sound mode.

Expect to pay between £300 and £400.

  • Pioneer SBX-N500 Soundbar

Another 4-star winner from ExpertReviews, the Pioneer Soundbar offers a quick and simple way to create a home cinema experience without taking up all the space of a proper 5.1 surround sound system. There are a range of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, and HDMI and USB ports. The 2.1 speaker configuration offers great audio quality and the system supports MP3, WMA, and various AAC files.

Expect to pay around £250.

  • Yamaha YSP-5600 Soundbar

The Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar is one of the best small home theatre systems on the market. The soundbar consists of a whopping 44 speakers and comes with 2 subwoofers that mimic 7.1 surround sound. It also has 6 ‘height’ channel speakers that provide the illusion of sound from above – a 3D audio experience. It comes with 4 HDMI slots, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth.

Expect to pay around £1600.

  • LG LHB745 5.1 Smart 3D Blu-ray & DVD Home Cinema System

LG’s smart 5.1 surround sound system delivers a multi-layered audio experience, thanks largely to its Aramid fibre speakers. There is also a 3D Surround Processor that provides a fully immersive sound experience. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth. Smart features include BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Instant, full web browser and access to apps from Premium Content Zone.

Expect to pay between £350 and £450.

  • LG BH9540TW 9.1 Smart 3D Blu-ray Wireless Home Cinema System

If you want a serious surround sound system for a fully immersive home theatre experience then you should consider this LG smart cinema system. You get 9 speakers, the rear of which are wireless. The Amarid Fibre Speaks and subwoofer make sure you feel the audio in your bones, without any distortion. What’s more, the system can upscale DVDs to HD quality as well as upscale HD to 4K, and convert 2D to 3D without compromising quality. Enjoy built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for online media streaming, full web browsing and social networking.

Expect to pay between £700 and £800.

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Pick of the Best Vinyl Players in the UK

The Best Vinyl Players in the UK

Vinyl fans say that nothing beats the sound of cared for records on a well-maintained turntable; CDs simply can’t compare and MP3s … bah! The thing is vinyl is undergoing a revival, which means more and more people are becoming converts and extolling vinyl to the skies. According to James Stables, vinyl was officially declared dead in May 1991, but in 2006 vinyl sales started to seriously pick up with current annual sales at around £12 million.

Who’s doing all the buying?

Well, it’s not baby boomers on a memory trip. Stables cites an ICM poll conducted in April 2013 which found that 18 – 24-year-olds are the biggest vinyl buyers. Clearly the CD/digital generation sees the same benefits of vinyl that their parents and grandparents saw. Interestingly, 27% of the new vinyl generation don’t own a turntable.

Reasons for the “revivyl” include the tangible and emotional nature of records. Buying and listening to records is an event, as opposed to the clinical downloading and playing of digital music. And, aside from the “best sound”, the imperfections give it charm, integrity and authenticity, at least according to Stables.

What turntable should you buy?

Given that a significant number of vinyl fans don’t actually have turntables, we thought we’d round up some of the best turntables in the UK, from budget to high-end buys and even portable players.

  • Rega RP1 Turntable

In December 2013, Paul Rigby assessed some of the best turntables for home listening. The Rega RP1 made the list for its mid-range price (£229/£300) and clear sound. It’s a great system if you’ve never had a turntable before, as it’s easy to set up. Vinyl noobs won’t have any problem putting needle to track and kicking back to their favourite sounds.

  • Michel Gyrodec SE

Gyrodec has been a respected name in turntables since vinyl’s heyday. The modern versions are no less notable for their sound quality and aesthetic appeal. At £1449, the price tag is perhaps a little intimidating for first-time buyers, but the fact that it outshines many higher-end turntables makes it excellent value and a must-have for the getting-serious vinyl fundi.

  • Avid Acutus SP Reference

Rigby is a big fan of this very high-end record player. At £15,000, it is not cheap and so is better suited to those with big budgets and big passion. Even though the price tag is high enough to take away your breath, Rigby says that it still offers “superb value for money” with mature, detailed sound, delicate upper midrange and big, bold bass.

  • Marantz TT5005

In March 2014, Rigby turned his attention to better budget turntables. He warns that the truly cheap kind is likely to ruin your records, let alone the music, so if you are looking for affordable record players, you need to resign yourself to spending at least £150, which is the price tag on the Marantz. It’s simple, easy to use and produces quality sound, which exactly what you want from a budget machine.

  • Pro-Ject Elemental USB

This turntable combines old school with new school, so you get the magic of vinyl sound with a USB port thrown in. The port allows you to record from your record onto your computer, so you can get the best sound on your iPod or MP3 player. It costs around £219.

  • Thorens TD 170-1

Modern Thorens models are as renowned for the value for money and quality as their vintage models, which are still in great demand. The TD 170-1 has three speeds, so you can play all your (and your dad’s) 33rpm, 45rpm and 78rpm records. It retails for around £385.

  • Numark PT01

The delicate needle and finicky grooves make turntables the least likely of portable devices; however, there are some versions that take portability in their stride. The prices for decent portable turntables vary widely, but if you want to start at the lower end of the market, you’re looking the Numark PT01 for £95. It’s battery-powered (of course) and comes with a 12V adaptor and USB port. You’ll have to look quite hard for one because, according to Rigby, the model has been discontinued, but you might be lucky on Amazon, eBay or Gumtree.

  • Vestex Handy Trax USB

For a relatively low £155, you get a lightweight turntable with a basic amp, mono speaker and up to 65 hours of battery life. There is a USB port and can play 78rpm records. All in all, it’s not bad value for money.

  • Braun PCV 4

Rigby calls the Braun PCV 4 a piece of art. It’s a tad vintage, which goes some way towards explaining the price. But it’s the sound quality that sets it apart from most other portable players. It has a built-in amplifier and speakers and closes up into a handy suitcase-type carrier. If you’re lucky enough to find one, you’re looking at about £600.

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11 Tips to Make Your LED TV Last Longer

11 Tips to Help Make Your LED TV Last Longer

You’ve just bought a brand new LED TV. It cost you a pretty penny, so you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. How are you going to do it?

As with all things, TVs fade with age but there are steps you can take to lengthen the life of your new investment. According to manufacturers, the lifespan of an LED TV varies between 4 and 10 years (between 40,000 and 100,000 hours), depending on usage and maintenance. Of course, factors like type, brand, location and environment play a crucial role. Samsung, Sony, LG and other well-known brands normally last longer because of the higher quality hardware components used. However, even with less well-known brands, it is safe to assume that the life expectancy will be a few years longer than even the best TV warranty.

Here are 11 tips for you to make sure that you get the maximum mileage from your new LED TV.

  1. DON’T leave your screen on when you’re not watching.
  2. DON’T leave it in standby mode.
  3. DO switch it off when nobody’s watching TV – and unplug it too, to save on your energy bill.
  4. Where you place your LED TV is an important factor that adds or subtracts years from its lifespan. DON’T set it up near a window, the sun will damage the components.
  5. DON’T set it up near a woodstove, as the wood dust, ash and heat will really shorten its lifespan.
  6. DON’T set it up too close to the floor; the dust will settle there.
  7. DO mount it against the wall for best results.
  8. DO make sure you keep it well ventilated.
  9. DO adjust the brightness levels. There’s no need to keep the brightness at showroom levels. Remember, once the picture begins to dim the picture quality is affected until it eventually becomes unwatchable. ‘Film’ or ‘home’ settings work just as well, or you could adjust it based on the light of the room it’s in by selecting either ‘dark room’ or ‘medium room’.
  10. DO adjust contrast levels. The higher the contrast the more power the TV uses which decreases the TV’s longevity. Set the contrast to ‘standard’.
  11. DO use a voltage regulator with a battery back up in case of power dips or surges. This prevents the power caps from going BAM! when other electronics switch on and draw electricity.

You want to make sure you get the best value for your money from your LED TV. Follow these 11 tips and you should enjoy excellent viewing for years to come.

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Bluray player vs. PS4 – Which is Right for You?

Bluray player vs. PS4 – Which is Right for You?

If you’re a gamer and you also watch a lot of Blu-rays should you combine both and go for the Sony Playstation 4? Or should you just stick with a dedicated Blu-ray player? Tech manufacturers such as Microsoft and Panasonic seem to side with Sony since most of them have added the Blu-ray option to their next generation gamers. However, we weren’t entirely convinced and put forward the ‘digital age old’ question of whether it’s best to have a multi-functional or single-function system by reviewing both the Blu-ray player and the PS4. This is what we found:

PS4 Advantages

  • There are many advantages to the PS4. Of course, not only can you play games but stream live videos and play blu-ray discs. And the blu-ray disc quality is excellent on it. However, it does take a few extra minutes (up to five in some cases) for the PS4 to load up the blu-ray disc format, which can be annoying for some users.
  • The PS4 is an attractive model with its matte black plastic and tilted edges. The power supply is part of the appliance so there’s no need to look for someone to plug it in.
  • There’s an option for background music and the menus are easy to follow.
  • The audio quality and picture resolution is good with the PS4 for 24p films.
  • Also has Wi-fi internet, plays MP3s and has a slideshow option for photos.

PS4 Disadvantages

  • The PS4 is a lot more expensive to buy than a blu-ray player – quite a lot more expensive so would put it out of the price range of many individuals.
  • The glass panel on the PS4 is black and smart looking but it’s also liable to get scratched easily so could look used pretty quickly.
  • Videos and certain films (such as those from foreign sources) have reduced vertical resolution compared to a standalone Blu-ray player, especially when it comes to playing PAL DVDs. Also the PS4 has no 3D blu-ray playback function.
  • PS4 has a tendency to get quite hot when used for long periods.

Blu-ray Advantages

  • Best device for those who watch mostly movies rather than play games since the picture quality is excellent.
  • You can still stream videos as many models have Wi Fi and access to many streaming services
  • Players have a huge storage capacity (from 50 GB up to 200 GB) but the average disc can only store up to five hours of TV.
  • Some Blu-ray players are ‘backwards compatible’ ie users are able to read CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, as well as play them.
  • All the main tech manufacturers approve. Philips, Sony, Panasonic, Dell and Apple have all given their backing to Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Disadvantages

  • Blu-ray players and the discs themselves are still regarded as too expensive for the mass market.
  • Not that many movies support Blu-ray.
  • There’s competition from the HD-DVD market which could potentially make Blu-ray obsolete.
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Hi-Fi Audio Systems Explained

Hi-Fi Audio Systems; Explained

What is Hi-fi?

Hi-fi means high fidelity sounds. The terminology was first introduced in the 1950’s to describe systems that produced images and audio in the purest form.

Hi-fi audio systems reproduce sound with minimal background disturbances and offer the closest resemblance to the original sound. Using a hi-fi system, you are able to recreate the exact acoustics as experienced at a live musical concert. If you close your eyes and listen to hi-fi audio, it is as if you had a live musician playing for you.

Today the term ‘hi-fi’ is used to describe the high quality acoustics of some home-theatre systems, televisions, DVD players and surround sound speakers.

How is Hi-fi different from high-definition (HD)?

A hi-fi system can have both digital and analogue sounds. On the other hand, a high-definition audio system only produces high-quality digital sounds.

The term HD audio is relatively new. It refers to specifications and hardware features that allow your computer to send digital audio signals to ancillary audio devices such as speakers and headphones. Although an HD system offers an impressive listening experience, in no way does it recreate the ‘original sound’ effect like the hi-fi audio system.

Hi-fi systems are ideal for listening to classical and acoustic music, while HD speakers are better for listening to studio-recorded pop/ rock music.

Is a Hi-fi audio system for you?

A hi-fi audio system is something that every avid music lover aspires to own because of the supreme sound quality and the hefty cost of buying one.

If you are a musical purist, then you would probably be happier using a traditional hi-fi system, comprising of an amplifier, turntable, radio, CD player, digital to analogue convertor, and a powerful set of speakers.  Needless to say, you would also need the space to accommodate all these devices. This system can cost anywhere between £7000 and £13000, depending on the value of the individual components.

Alternatively, you can consider the simpler and convenient all-in-one box such as NaimUniti. It is priced at a comparatively modest £2,700, and is capable of bringing genuine high-quality sound to every room in the house.

For more affordable options, have a look at the ten most recommended hi-fi audio systems by Stuff UK.

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5 Tips to Resolve a Non-Functional On-Demand Box

5 Tips to Resolve a Non-Functional On-Demand Box

All major UK broadcasters offer online programme viewing services. Depending on the on-demand TV service you use, you can view satellite television shows through the internet for up to 30 days after the first broadcast. All you need to view free on demand TV is a high-speed broadband connection.

However, paid on-demand TV services such as BT Vision, and Virgin Media also require a set top box. The on-demand TV set top box is connected to the internet using a mobile internet connector, a broadband router using an Ethernet cable, or in-built Wi-Fi.

If at any time you find that the on-demand box is not working, carrying out the following corrective steps may solve the problem.

    1. Ensure that the broadband is working. To watch on demand programmes, you need to have basic internet speed. Check the exact internet speed requirement in the user manual of your on demand box.  Additionally, if the speed of your household broadband connection is lower than 12 mps, you should consider upgrading the connection, for a better viewing experience.
    2. Check that the on demand box is connected to the internet. Go to the settings option of the set top box, select network setup and test connection. The exact steps for checking the internet connectivity on your box will depend on the model you have.

Ensure that Ethernet cable is connected to both the Ethernet port on the box and on the wireless connector. To check if the Ethernet cable is faulty, connect both ends of the cable to the same router and check if the port lights turn on. If this does not happen, it means you need a new Ethernet cable.

  1. Remove potential interferences in router signal:
    • Check that there are no other electrical devices that use wireless signals around your wireless router (include cordless telephones, fax machines, microwaves, mobile phones)
    • Remove physical objects around the router that may block the signal ( particularly metal and water based)
    • Do not place the wireless router near a window ( the signal strength may be affected by outside interferences)
  2. Manually reset the router. If there is no problem with the network connectivity, switch off the router for about a minute before turning it on to check if the problem has been resolved.
  3. Reset the set-top box. Unplug the power cord for the set-top box.  Wait for a minute before turning it on again. If the problem is not resolved, contact your service provider for further troubleshooting help.

If your set-top box needs to be reset frequently, then most likely the on-demand box is faulty.

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How To Choose A Hi-Fi System Under £50

How To Choose A Hi-Fi System Under £50

Strapped for cash and devoid of sounds? Well you won’t be for long. Not if you purchase one of the following smart Hi fi systems – all of which come in under £50:

  • Karcher MC 6510-S. Has audio ports for plugging in remote devices and for headphones. Comes with CD and radio function (AM/FM tuners). Costs around £36.
  • TM-099K MP3 Micro HiFi System. Has an FM RDS tuner with 30 presets, a USB 2.0 port and SD/MMC slot. Can hook up to portable media and has headphones jack for speakers. Costs around £37.
  • iTek I60006 Silver CD Radio Micro-System. Has a top loading CD player/CD-R/CD-RW player and AM/FM stereo radio along with 20 track programming. An LCD display and single alarm function are also built in. Comes with remote control. Costs around £37.
  • LOGIK LCDHF512 Mini Hi-Fi System. Comes with two mini speakers (which can be connected to an MP3 player), an LED display and remote control device.  Costs around £39.
  • Akai A60006 Micro Hi-Fi System. Micro CD and radio with alarm and LCD display. Comes with LCD display, 20 track programmable memory and remote control. Costs around £39.
  • TOKAI TM-101PE CD/MP3 Micro HiFi System. The system supports CD, CD-R/-RW and MP3 formats. Has an FM tuner with 20 station programmable memory. The USB 2.0 port hooks to portable media. Has an alarm clock with sleep and snooze settings. Costs around £40.
  • Polaroid CM1101W. This micro system contains a CD, radio (FM) and Bluetooth player with headphone sockets. Also has smart LCD display. Costs around £40.
  • Denver MC-5000 CD Player Micro System Wall Mount AUX. Free standing micro hifi system which can also be wall mounted. Has built in radio, CD player and option to connect an MP3 or CD player. Has radio/CD alarm and two way speakers. Costs around £48.
  • IWANTIT IHFUSBN13 Wireless Docking System. Connects between the iPhone, iPad and other compatible devices. Near Field Communication (NFC) means similar devices will hook up automatically for instant sounds. Can also play CDs and listen to radio and has 10 W power. Costs around £49.
  • LOGIK LHFIP2112 Micro Hi-Fi System. A built-in iPod dock, CD player and FM radio, this system comes with 10 W power, sleek-looking speakers and a slimline remote control. Costs around £49.
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What is a Sky Digital Box?

What’s a Sky Digital Box?

Modern technology terms are used all the time, but in our fast-paced digital, electronic and hyper-connected world it can be hard to keep up with everything, or know exactly what something means.

Let’s take a Sky digital box for example. Many people talk about them and lots of us own them, but what exactly are they? Simply put, a Sky digital box (or digibox) is a device that allows you to receive digital satellite television broadcasts from a satellite in your home. Believe it or not, digital boxes have actually been around since the 1990s.

Paired Up Viewing

Your digital box uses card pairing – i.e. a viewing card is paired to a particular digibox and this prevents one card (or subscription) being used on multiple boxes – so for example you will only be able to view premium channels such as Sky Movies or Sky Sports on the box the card was paired with. The digital box in your home will be set up according to the package you have agreed with Sky and these vary, from family-friendly to options which include more sports or arts.

You can also opt for a Sky+ HD (high definition) box – if vision and sound is very important to you (perhaps if you particularly like watching films or nature programmes). The HD box gets you a high number of HD channels, and pauses and rewinds live TV. Pause-and-rewind live TV is a real boon, because it means you never need to miss a programme if the telephone goes, for example, or you want to get yourself a cup of tea or coffee.

Recording and Catch-Up Services

With your HD box, you can also record and store up to 185 hours of standard TV (the figure is less for programmes in HD as they take up more space) and it gives you access to catch up services through the BBC iPlayer, ITV on demand and 4oD.

Obviously, a digital box and the necessary subscription to Sky takes some commitment, so weigh up what you can get for your money and the benefits such a subscription might ultimately bring to you and your family.

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3 Common Freeview EPG Problems

Three Common Freeview EPG Problems

The Freeview Electronic Program Guide or EPG is an onscreen guide that indicates the channels and programmes available on Freeview over the next one week. The Freeview EPG service is only accessible on set-top boxes, TV’s, and digital video recorders that carry the Freeview EPG logo.

Thanks to the Freeview EPG feature, you will never again miss your favourite TV shows. All you need to do is simply record the programme as per the timings indicated in the Freeview EPG. However, at times the Freeview EPG does not work as expected.

Here are three of the most common Freeview EPG faults you may encounter, as well as the recommended troubleshooting steps to resolve the problems.

All channels missing

Regardless of the TV or box you are using, the EPG may stop displaying information on all channels. Press ‘menu’ on the Freeview remote control. If the menu is not displayed, it means that the set-top box is not correctly connected to the TV.  You then need to perform the following checks.

  • Check that the SCART lead from the output of the Freeview box is connected to the spare SCART socket on the TV.
  • Check that the TV aerial is connected to the input aerial socket of the Freeview box / TV.
  • Check that your outdoor aerial is not dislodged. If it has been raining, check that there is no water in the aerial connectors and that the aerial lead from the roof is not severed.
  • Check that you are not using an incompatible set-top box or incompatible TV.

Some channels missing

Freeview’s TV channels are transmitted in six blocks (known as multiplexes). If you are not receiving some channels, then most likely you are not receiving some of the multiplexes. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Scan for channels and add channels using the Freeview remote
  • Check that the missing Freeview channels are available in your area
  • Check the signal strength. If the signal is weak, there could be a problem with your aerial or cabling.

Sometimes passing bad weather can temporarily affect your Freeview signal. Also, if you are using a relay transmitter, you may not get all channels as these devices can typically transmit only a few of the multiplexes.

Missing a new channel

If you are receiving all other channels on a particular multiplex, but not a recently added channel, try the following steps:

  • If the channel does not get added automatically, unplug the box for 30 seconds
  • Plug it in and perform a full- channel scan. If you have a set-top box, go to menu, select ‘Setup’ and scan for channels. For Freeview TV’s, the scan channel option will be available under ‘settings’.

A recurring problem of missing channels or poor reception could also be due to an indoor aerial. Installing a rooftop aerial may help to solve the problem.

Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles