Reviews of Freeview HD Boxes (set-top) and Freeview HD Televisions (TV)

 
 
   
Freeview HD Digital Box
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Reviews

For the best UK Freeview HD box or best Television with built-in Freeview HD
at affordable prices. We compare models as soon as the are available that are compliant to DVB-T2 and MPEG-4 standards

DIGITAL BOXES - Freeview HD TELEVISIONS - Freeview HD

 
Freeview HD digital boxes    

Digital Boxes   DVB-T2 / M-PEG-4

Humax HD Fox-T2

Humax HD Fox T2 Freeview HD - hover mouse over image for larger image
This was the first Freeview HD digital box to hit the UK market, and soon other manufactures followed suit.

  • HD Channels TV reception through an aerial
  • Dolby Digital+ Audio Output
  • RJ45 for sharing with other devices such as PC & NAS through Home Networking
  • 8-day on screen electronic programme guide
  • Interactive TV service via MHEG
  • Parental Control
  • Subtitle and Audio Description
  • Perfect digital transmission for picture and sound through HDMI output
  • Auto detection of new channels
  • Fully compliant to UK DVB-T2 and backwardly compatible to DVB-T
  • Standby power : less than 1W
  • Resolution format : 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i
  • Play media contents in external HDD or memory through USB (MP3, JPG, XViD)
  • Portal Ready for future purpose

Positive aspects:

It is a great piece of kit that both looks good and has a far superior and impressive programming guide compared to the previous generation of digital boxes
  • Gone are the days of re-tuning - this beauty takes this chore to another level, seamlessly adding channels in the background.
  • The ability to connect to other media via a RJ45 network socket.
  • Another plus feature is the ability to operate most of its functions from the front of the box, something missing from many PVR's - ideal if you lose the remote control.
  • 2-year onsite replacement warranty

Disappointing aspects:

We are a little disappointed in this offering for three reasons:


  1. Does not have an internal HDD so cannot record. With only one tuner - this means that you cannot play-rewind-pause live TV, however you can play recordings from an external HDD or Memory stick
  2. No CI slot for extending the service to Top-up TV
  3. The price - around £180

Conclusion

If you can't wait and get HD on your TV through your aerial this could be the Freeview HD Box for you. At this price Freesat is a good contender, after you pay for the box/satellite dish - their content is free as well. But in our opinion it is well worth waiting to get the extra features (such as the ability to record) that will inevitably come along and at a cheaper price. You can purchase this model from:

Humax HD Fox-T2 - Argos - £89.97
Humax HD Fox-T2 - Amazon - £109.99

Specifications

System Resources
CPU/MPU/Mainchip BCM7405
Flash memory 32MB
SDRAM 256MB (+64MB)
EEPROM 8KB
Tuner & Channel : Terrestrial
Number tuner 1 DVB-T/DVB-T2
Input Connector IEC 169-2 Female
Frequency Range 48.5MHz to 226.5MHz(VHF)
470MHz to 862MHz(UHF)
Signal Level
-70 to -10 dBm
Demodulation OFDM
Mode 2K, 8K
FEC mode 1/2,2/3,3/4,5/6,7/8
Guard Intervals 1/4,1/8,1/16,1/32
MPEG Transport Stream A/V Decoding
Transport Stream MPEG-4 PART2/MPEG-2
ISO/IEC 13818
Profile Level MPEG-2 MP@HL,
MPEG-4 AVC MP@L3,
MP@L4, HP@L4
Input Rate 15Mbit/s Max
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9
Video Resolution 1080p,1080i,720p,
576p,576i
Audio Decoding MPEG/MusiCam
Layer I & II
Audio mode Single/Dual Mono/Stereo/
Joint Stereo
Front panel interface
Display 7-Segment
LED 3
Buttons 4
CI Slot N/A
USB N/A
CAS Slot x
Rear panel interface
SCART 1 TV, 1 VCR
RF N/A
RCA 1 Video, 2 Audio
Component N/A
S/PDIF 1
HDMI 1 (with HDCP)
Data port Ethernet
USB 1 (PVR)
Power cord Type UK 3pin fixed
Power Supply
Input voltage AC 90-250V (Free voltage),
SMPS
Type Embedded switch mode
power supply unit
Power consumption Standby Under 1W
Protection Separate internal fuse
& lightning protection
Physical specification
Size (W x H x D) 280 x 45 x 200 (mm)
Weight(Net) 1.42 kg




Freeview HD digital boxes    

Digital Boxes   DVB-T2 / M-PEG-4

Sharp TUT2HR32 Freeview HD Recorder

Humax HD Fox T2 Freeview HD - hover mouse over image for larger image
Freeview HD HDD Digital Recorder. These can be obtained from:
Amazon - £64.97 Special Price

  • Digital HD TV Recorder designed to receive and record Freeview HD services
  • Twin Digital Tuner
    320GB Hard drive
  • Freeview+ HD
  • 8 day Freeview TV guide
  • One touch recording + Pause and rewind live TV
  • Simultaneous 2 channel recording whilst watching a pre-recorded programme series, Split and Multiple/Alternative Recording
Sharp TUT2HR32 rear panel
1   RF IN (Antenna in)
7
  Ethernet (RJ45)
2   RF OUT (Antenna out)
8
  HDMI
3   TV (SCART)
9
  VCR (SCART)
4   SPDIF
10
  Optical (Infra Red)
5   USB
11
  RS232
6   Cooling Fan Outlet
12
  12v DC

Positive remarks:

Its what we have been waiting for. It has all the bells and whistles (see brief overview above) with a great sleek look and feel.
  • MPEG 4 and backwardly compatible with previous versions.
  • Comes with both USB and a RJ45 ethernet socket.

Disappointing aspects:

We are a little disappointed for the following reasons:


  1. Only a 1 year warranty when other manufacturers are offering 2 years on their equipment
  2. No CI slot for extending the service to Top-up TV
  3. The price - RRP £280

That being said it is a great offering from Sharp

Conclusion

If you can't wait for the price to fall more, go out and order it now - at least you will be able to see and record your favourite programmes in HD.

Sharp TUT2HR32

Amazon - £64.97

Specifications

Tuner & Channel : Terrestrial
Number of tuners 2 x DVB-T/DVB-T2
Recording
Hard Disk (built in)  yes
Hard Dish capacity  320Gb
USB port yes
USB recording no
USB playback on other devices no
Freeview HD
SD Upscaling to HD yes
HD output - 1080p / 1080i / 720p / 576p
yes
Technical
MPEG 1 yes
MPEG 2 yes
MPEG 4 yes
Audio - MPEG1 layer I & layer II, MP3 yes
Audio - MPEG2 layer II, Dolby Digital yes
MPEG2 AAC/AAC+ yes
Rear Panel Interfaces
Audio R / L Connector yes
Audio R / L Output yes
Digital Audio Output yes
CI Slot no
USB yes
RGB Video Output yes
RGB Video Input yes
CVBS Video Output yes
CVBS Video Input yes
S-Video no
Analogue Audio Output yes
Analogue Audio Input yes
Digital Video Output yes
HDMI yes
Ethernet yes
RF Input yes
Loop-through Output yes
Power Supply
Input voltage AC 220-240V
Power consumption Standby (TBA)
Power consumption Max (TBA)
Physical specification
Size (W x H x D) 300 x 55 x 259 (mm)
Weight(Net) 4.1 kg
 
Freeview HD digital boxes    

Digital Boxes   DVB-T2 / M-PEG-4

Humax HDR Fox-T2 - RECORDER

Humax HD Fox T2 Freeview HD RECORDER - hover mouse over image for larger image
The Humax HDR Recorder comes in 2 types; 500gb and 1tb, apart from that it shares most of the features of the non recorder box . So it is well worth reading the features of the Humax HD Fox T2 in the opposite column.

Positive aspects:

Humax makes one of the best DVR's around and this is no exception to the norm. Below are some of the features that apply to this recorder.

Live Pause - ideal for time that your viewing is interrupted

Series Recording - Set up the recording of a whole series of a favourite programme

Chase Play - Play whilst the programme is still recording

Accurate Recording - starts the recording only when your programme starts to be broadcast

Split Recording - record a programmes that is split with another programme between the two parts

Smart Recording - Alerts you if there is a clash with another recording and even suggests an alternative if it is repeated another time

HD Alternatives - if your programme is availble in HD as well as SD it alerts you

Recording Recommendations - suggest a similar programme that you might want to record

Humax TV Portal - Catch-up and on-demand services via the internet

Multimedia and Home Networking - home networking capabilities or simply plug in USB memory stick into unit to play videos, photos, mp3 and more

Energy Saving - eco-friendly and less than one watt in standby

2-year onsite replacement warranty


Disappointing aspects:

Although this is a great little DVR we found some issues, which we are sure time will be addressed:
  1. When the automatic updates for the EPG are loaded, some have fond that this can clear the list of programmes set to record. If you have a lot of these, it can be tedious to re-programme them in.
  2. It could do with a second SCART connector, although their are alternative connections provided..
  3. The price is still on the high side

Conclusion

This is a great offering and compared with other makes around. It is an established brand name (Humax) who have a good long-term experience tn providing digital boxes for the satellite industry.

Humax PVR9300T Digital HDR Recorder

Humax HDR Fox-T2 RECORDER

500mb:
Argos - £289.95  |  Amazon - £244.95  |
John Lewis - £249.95

1tb:
Amazon - £289.95  |  John Lewis - 299.95  |

Specifications

System Resources
CPU/MPU/Mainchip BCM7405
Flash memory 32MB
SDRAM 320MB
EEPROM 8KB
HDD 500MB / 1TB
Front End
Tuner type 2 x DVB-T2
Input Connector IEC 169-2 Female
RF loop-through connector IEC 169-2, Male
Demodulation OFDM
MPEG Transport Stream A/V Decoding
Transport Stream MPEG-4 PART2/MPEG-2
ISO/IEC 13818
Profile Level MPEG-2 MP@HL
MPEG-4 AVC MP@L3
MP@L4, HP@L4
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9, Letter box
Video Resolution 1080p,1080i,720p
576p,576i
Audio Decoding Dolby MS 10
Surround
Audio mode Single/Dual Mono/Stereo/
Joint Stereo
Front panel interface
Display VFD (12 digits)
LED 1 x (3-in-1 Color: Red in
recording, blue in
operating and
amber in stand-by)
Buttons 5 touch keys
USB 1 x USB (2.0)
Rear panel interface
SCART 1 x TV
RCA 1 x Video, 2 x Audio
S/PDIF 1
HDMI 1 x 1.3a (with HDCP)
Data port Ethernet (RJ45)
USB 1 x (USB2)
CI Slot 1 x (CI+)
Power cord Type UK 3pin fixed
Tuner 1 x UHF loop-through
Power Supply
Input voltage AC 90-250V (Free voltage),
SMPS
Type Embedded switch mode
power supply unit
Power consumption Standby Under 1W
Physical specification
Size (W x H x D) 380 x 55 x 246 (mm)
Weight(Net) 2.8 kg




 


   
Notes
 
Freeview HD Digital Set-top Box

At present there are many choices in Freeview HD Digital Box (set-top) available in the UK made by various manufacturers. Look out for DVB-T2 and MPEG-4

The introduction to HD on Freeview has been gradual starting with Granada TV and London (Crystal Palace Transmitter) getting theirs first on 2nd December 2009. Other areas have been added over the 3 year period.

Now we are approaching the conclusion of the digital switchover, many now have the choice of terrestrial HD TV.

 
Freeview HD Digital (TV) Television

After Panasonic has released the first TV with built in HD Freeview Tuner other manufacturers have followed suite with a wide variety being made availiable. New technologies have been developed giving bigger and better TVs and choice including OLED and 3D.

Don't be fooled by HD Ready and upscaling to 1080i/p. HD TVs with Freeview built in are still being sold but they are NOT Freeview HD.

You will need a HD Box or HDTV with a DVB-T2 tuner and be capable of decoding a MPEG-4 broadcasts.