Sky Digibox front and back


The front panel

Front panel; JPEG 11K
Above is the front panel of the Pace BSkyB 2500B receiver, other models may differ slightly.

The buttons

'O' with 'I' in it.
This is the 'standby' button, used to switch the device "on" and "off". I say that in quotes because the device never actually switches off, it just goes into a power-down mode.
The indicator with the same symbol is red when the unit is in standby, and green when on.
This is the 'information' button. If the channel is showing a programme synopsis for what you are watching, this will display it to you.
tv guide
This calls up the on-screen TV guide.
If you do not have a remote control, you can access the Services menu by pressing this button, then the right arrow until you have highlighted the Services menu...
back up
This is used to go back the a menu, or a parent menu. You'll see on-screen prompts when you're supposed to use this key...
The left/right/up/down arrows move you around the menus, channels, and programmes.
When you have chosen a menu, channel, or programme with the arrows - press 'select' to choose that option.

The indicators

'O' with 'I' in it.
This is red when the Digibox is in 'standby' mode, and green when it is 'on'.
remote command
This blinks when a command is received from the remote controller.
If you have messages waiting, via an on-line service, this will light up.
Allegedly this is 'unimplemented'.
This lights when you have connected to an on-line service using your Digibox.

Smartcard slots

interactive card
I believe this is for interactive services that require some sort of ID card.
Sky viewing card
Your Sky card, or FreeView card, goes in here.


The back panel

Back panel; JPEG 16K
Above is the back panel of the Pace BSkyB 2500B receiver, other models may differ slightly.

From left to right:

220-240VAC input. Normal figure-8 lead as used with hi-fi units and other satellite receivers.
This, apparently, is used by engineers to 'rescue' your box if the off-air upgrade fails. There doesn't appear to be any purpose to this as far as the end-user in concerned, and you have no idea how much I think that is a shame!
Module expansion port
This slot is for plug-in expansion modules. One would expect these to be decoder systems for other encryption methods, but given the prevalence of Sky, I do wonder how likely this is to ever happen.
As it happens, the slot was exactly the right size for my processor fan, which you can see fitted.
The upper SCART is intended to be connected to your VCR, the lower to your TV. This is most likely due to English VCRs not having two SCART connections so video looping through your VCR is possible but non-trivial for people not SCART-savvy (now, why doesn't somebody make a SCART plug with in/out both instead of a switch?).
As far as I can see, the picture output on both SCART sockets is identical (some people have asked me about this - on some receivers, the on-screen captions and programme info doesn't appear on the VCR output, only the TV output).
Audio out
Left and right channels for stereo audio.
RF out 2
This contains the modulated RF signal from the Digibox for connection to older equipment that has no SCART or A/V. Additionally, 9V may be present on this output if you use a Digilink to connect TVs in other parts of your house.
Never connect regular RF equipment (VCRs, TVs...) to this socket without first ensuring that the 9V is not present!
RF out 1
The modulated RF signal intended for 'local' RF equipment such as a VCR or a TV. Use this in preference to RF 2.
Connect your television aerial (or other RF equipment) to this socket. It works as a daisy-chain arrangement.
Telephone line
The Digibox incorporates a V.34 modem for on-line services and PPV ordering.


Use without a remote controller

You can use a box that has been set up for you by pressing the front panel buttons. Most options are accessible, though some things may take longer (no page up/down etc).
One thing you cannot do is tune in new channels. You need the numbers on the controller in order to enter the frequency, and when the boutique appears you need to press coloured buttons to select which channel(s) to include.
It's a shame that these facilities are not present 'manually' (like arrows to increment/decrement the frequency, and 'i' to choose channels), as the box is almost completely usable without a controller.
Having said that, tuning into channels manually is not what the Digibox is all about.
What will be missing, and could possibly degrade your use of the receiver is the 'red button', so you will be unable to access any of the interactive services on SkyDigital. It's a shame there is no 'hidden' keypress (like 'select' and 'i') to emulate a press of the red button...


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Copyright © 2004 Richard Murray