Why don't you use a SKY-Plus Digibox?
The SKY+ Digibox is reported by lots of users as being unreliable, regardless of manufacturer. However, Pace might be the best choice; at least they have a UK repair division that you can speak to.
I confess that I watch mostly BBC and ITV. From that point of view my Sky (minimal) subscription is a waste except that my wife likes to watch the "Living" channel.
However, I have an ElGato EyeTV 410 Freeview tuner connected to one of my Apple Macs and a www.tvtv subscription (free for 1 year). Using this combination, I can set it to record programmes automatically up to 2 weeks in advance. I can view them on my 19" TFT monitor or I can burn a DVD. I can also edit the recordings (strip out adverts) and I can also save them as MPEG files.
I also have an ElGato EyeTV200 analogue tuner that can accept the RF input from my Sky Digibox or an S-Video input from a VCR or SKY+ Digibox. This unit is obsolescent so buy one now! It's great for converting VHS tapes to DVD.
If you can't afford a Mac then you probably can't afford an EyeTV tuner either. However, maybe you can scrape together some pennies for the equivalent FireDTV tuner?
It allegedly works with Windoze but I can't vouch for its capabilities or reliability.
There are also cheaper tuners available but they tend to require a very strong Freeview signal. I tried one here and it didn't work.
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