That Grundig box at the bottom was the one we were supplied with when we got 'Sky Digital' originally. I always found it to be rather sluggish, and found that the Panasonic ones were always rather nippy, so when I had the opportunity to buy a second hand Panasonic STB and re-pair the card I did. But it was a silver box, never knew it was also in black like above.
Yeah, that Grundig is a bit on the slow side, feels like it takes a pretty noticeable length of time to respond to button presses on the remote. In fairness, it was the... second? third? box out (Pace, then Amstrad/Grundig about the same time, then Panasonic), so I suppose it's allowed a little bit of slack. Probably one of the slowest there is though.
There are a surprising amount of colours... well, shades, I suppose, of early Digibox. There were silver versions of all of those four originals. There's a silver Grundig (two, in fact, I've seen it with black buttons and silver buttons), a silver Panasonic, a silver Amstrad (as pictured above), and a silver Pace 2200 too. The 2300 had a silver version as well, I think that was essentially just a silver/grey 2400. The later Grundigs too, there's all sorts of models, there's black ones, silver ones, ones with and without S-Video, and with a mish-mash of model numbers all confusingly similar to each other, and all inexplicably unattractive.
I've never been quite clear on what the difference was between the 2200, 2300, and 2400 either, they all seem to have existed around the same time, and been much of a muchness internally. I've also seen pictures of what appears to be a white 2400, from memory, but I've never come across one in person, it might just've been a very brightly lit photo of a silver one as it seems to be a particularly matt silver. Still, at the end of the day it's mostly a matter of taste, given they all share pretty similar internals and all do the same thing, with some being a little bit faster or slower than the others.
Having said that, there's a confusingly broad array of CPU architectures across the whole range of Digiboxes (and Sky+/HD if you throw those in too), so that would account for some of the speed differences, but I suppose it says something about the portability of OpenTV that it can run easily enough on that many platforms without the manufacturers feeling like it's just too much work to bother. Once that's running you can just plop the Sky EPG
on top of it and you're away (I might be oversimplifying that slightly, but OpenTV exists to do most of the work, that's what it's for after all). There's various ST20 variants (TP2 in the first models, then TP3 in the Panasonic, then STixxxx in some of the later ones), there's some Conexant ARM-based chips in the Amstrads and a couple of Paces, there's some MIPS-based NEC EMMA chips in a few Pace boxes and in the Sony VTX-S760U (but not that S750U, that was an ST20 - see? it's all over the place), and Panasonic had their own "MN" chips after the TU-DSB20... It's all very odd, you'd have thought they'd have just picked a standard platform to all agree to use, but I suppose it worked out alright in the end, give or take the odd firmware update not playing ball here and there.
That's quite the brain leak, hadn't planned on going off in that many directions, but I've been looking at this stuff for some years so the opportunity to spill some thoughts on it all is always welcome!
the Grundig appears to have its own take on the 'digibox' logo too...
Yeah, it's just a little bit "off", I dunno whether they got early artwork or whether it got distorted somehow, probably doesn't help that the front panel on that Grundig is oddly-shaped, with that rounded overhang.
Edit edit: There's also a photo floating around somewhere of an Amstrad with the egg logo on the left-hand side, below the Amstrad logo, so it seems it took them all a few goes to figure out what to do with it.
A further curiosity to add, now that it comes to mind, there was an image of a Toshiba "DBS2000", which appeared to be a Pace 2300 with an egg logo on it (I don't think any actual Pace 2300s had that), and I read somewhere the other day that Pace had apparently agreed to make boxes for someone else to rebrand too, though I don't remember who. Edit again: It was Sharp, apparently, although without doing some very serious digging I don't have any significant source for that.
Edit edit edit edit... I should really stop
after I post things... but I did find a proper Pace press release from March 1999 stating that they did intend to manufacture Digiboxes for Sharp: https://web.archive.org/web/20050214161851/http://www.pacemicro.com/corporate/content.asp?id=186&template=0
That does make the supposed Toshiba box even more confusing though, given it was pictured with the egg logo. If March 1999 was Pace's first announced OEM Digibox project, then either the Toshiba deal didn't go through (which... well, we didn't get Toshiba-branded Pace boxes...), or it's something else (including possibly fake).
Last edited by settopboxing on 2 July 2020 1:13pm - 4 times in total