Is Astro Max as good as they say? Here’s my personalÂ account on what its like to use Astro Max.
I managed to get hold of an Astro Max unit due toÂ Astro’s initiativeÂ to reward faithful existing clients the opportunity to experience this new service via free upgrade of our existing unit with a brand spanking new Astro Max unit. With that…. who can complain?
I was happy to hear of the free upgrageÂ from their notification letter and quickily called the Astro center to have the upgrade sent to us asap. I was informed that it will take about 3 weeks to have the unit delivered over but to my surprise again, it was delivered by one of their agents only afterÂ 3 days.
During installation we had to change a “receptor?” on the satalite dish because apparantly one of the sensors in it was damaged. What used to work for the old Astro unit will no longer work for the new Astro Max unit. This is because the new Astro Max unit requires all the sensors or receptors to work properly before it is able to operate properly. The changing of the part cost like RM80.00 (if I remember correctly) so… so much for the FREE upgrade. In any case, we’re still happy to receive the free unit F.O.C.
The Astro Max unit is touted to have various features:
- Pause Live TV
- Rewind Live TV
- Records 60 hours of Live TV
- Watch another show while recording another
Astro MAX highlights:
- 80GB hard disk drive.
- 60 hours of programme storage capacity.
- 2 tuners – watch two time-conflicting programmes.
- Creates a 30 minute buffer in the programme you are currently watching.
- Lets you control live TV with pause, rewind, instant replay, slow-motion and frame by frame.
- Fully integrated with the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for easy to use recording
My Personal Experience (after a couple of months usage):
I like the recording capability of Astro Max. The fact that we can record while watching another channel is a good plus point
Furthermore the ability to set the unit to record at a pre-designated time and interval is also useful.
The rewinding feature while watching Live TV has also been used but not all the time. Its good to have none the less.
The fast forwarding feature for pre-recorded shows are a good feature. I find myself fast forwarding past all the adverts. I wonder how they can charge as much now to advertisers. Most people will just fast forward through them right? … unless you’re dead bored and would watch anything out there.
- Unlike old Astro units, this Astro Max unit takes ages to load! When you click on a button from stand-by or start-up it boots up like a PC. After all it is somewhat like a PC with a 80GB Hard Disk in it. This is what you see when you start up….
- I have experienced lots of software issues with the unit. Luckily they’re really not that life threatening and I can close one eye and “reboot” when I am faced with such situations. I wonder if it uses a Microsoft Windows operating system… what’s with the reboots? Anyway some of the software problems I have encountered are:
- Slow Startups. It takes up to 20 seconds or more for the unit to start showing a channel. The old units will normally display a channel within a couple of seconds.
- Auto Checking and Updating of unit when starting up and sometime while watching astro
- Channel Information sometimes does not show up automatically at all when changing channel. All I see is a channel number without the name of the channel. Everything else is blank.Â I will need to press the INFO button before I can see the name of the channel and also name of the show.
- Unable to record certain channels. Sometimes I will be able to records Channel 30 WLT but sometimes it doesn’t even give me the option. I am sure this is not limited to Channel 30. Why is it I can record sometimes and I can’t at others?
- Unable to start and watch pre-recorded shows during rain or poor signal strength. How frustrating have you felt when you want to watch astro and it starts to rain? Ok so you decide to watch pre-recorded shows… After all they are pre-recorded and you don’t need signal strength to watch it. But then, due to some unknown reason (probably software related rather than hardware), the unit is not able to start up without proper signal even though you are planning to watch pre-recorded MYMAX shows.
- Hanging of machine. What’s new here? In order to get out of hanging, pressing any other button will not help. You actually need to swicth off the wall switch and back on again and keep your fingers crossed that the unit will boot up correctly. Of course in the meanwhile, you will need to wait for the starting up again. Sometimes it takes up to three reboots to get things to work properly. What gives?
Would I purchase my own Astro Max? – The answer to this is perhaps NO. Though it has all the perks listed above, it also has all the problems listed above. For ordinary Astro users, I think the old units will do just fine. However if Astro is able to address my concerns above and have them rectified, I think it Astro Max would be the way to go. After all, the features are good things to have. But from how I see it, Astro Max still needs a lot of tweeking to carry out. The hardware might have limitations but the software is definately way below par.
NOTE: This article is based on personal experience and need not be a full and complete representation on all users of Astro Max.
To find out more about ASTRO MAX service you can find it here at