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tiggs's picture
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Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Hello guys, where I live is due to go digital in early february of 2012 and as such my parents are considering the purchase of a freeview hd recorder, and would have a maximum budget of £300. It would be used with a Philips 9 series 47" hd tv, and they would like it to have at least a 500gb hard disk. So what models are recommended at this price level?.

Thanks for you're help,

 

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

As luck would have it, we did a Group Test of Freeview HD recorders in our December issue, and the reviews have just gone online. The winner was the Samsung BD-DT7800 at £280, our 2011 digital TV recorder Product of the Year. You can see the other reviews here.

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

I'll probably be known as the Freeview HD peddler given it's all I seem to post about these days ( Smile ), but in my opinion, there are 3 or 4 main choices when it comes to Freeview HD PVRs. They are:

1. The Samsung BD-DT7800 - WHF's current best buy and offers 500 GB hard disk along with Samsung's Smart Hub portal, giving access to the likes of iPlayer, Lovefilm and YouTube. Its fatal flaw (in my opinion) is by restricting you to only being able to record one thing at a time, even though it has two tuners - the second tuner is restricted to allowing you to watch while you record. However, this might be fine for yourself / parents and the bonus of the portal might be more of a draw. Can be picked up for under £200.

2. The Humax HDR-FOX T2 - a very good PVR which not only offers 500 GB space, it allows two programmes to be recorded at once, as well as an online portal including iPlayer and YouTube (and in theory, Sky Player at some point I think). Main disadvantage is price - you'll be lucky to find it for much less than £250.

3. The Digital Stream DHR8205 - this is the one I have. Note there have been a couple of updates since the WHF review offering more functionality and the price has dropped considerably. Again, 500 GB space available and recording from two tuners at once is possible. No portal for the Digital Stream, though in theory iPlayer is coming via the red button at some point. I say in theory as it's been promised for a while, but the BBC are playing games with Digital Stream and thus far, it hasn't appeared. I do get feedback from the company it is still coming though (I'm part of the beta testers group for the machine so have line of comms into them). Main advantage is price - you can get it for £150 nowadays which is a bargain given everything it features. I've done my own review you can read here.

4. Sony SVR-HDT500 (no WHF review) - this box is very similar to the Digital Stream (the software was written by the same company), but costs more as there's a Sony badge on it ( :grin: ). I've put it here as it does have the iPlayer update the Digital Stream does not yet have - whether that's worth an extra £80-£100 is up to you!

My opinion? If you're just purely after a reliable Freeview HD PVR, the Digital Stream will give you everything you need and is great value for money. If you want something with a few more bells and whistles, I'd go for the Humax.

 

Anonymous
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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Prof, any idea if you can record a channel on the Samsung and watch something previously recorded on it at the same time? Being able to record 2 channels at once is not a big deal for me but being able to watch something back as i am recording something else is. Cheers.

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Hi there, just checked the manual and you can indeed watch a recording whilst recording something else on the Samsung (you can also do this on all the other PVRs I've mentioned above).

 

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

<duplicate post>

 

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

I currently use a Digitalstream and for the money I don't think you can beat it.

The picture quality from live broadcast and recordings is excellent.

The functionality is good.

Its reliable.

And its cheap to boot what more could you want.

Anonymous
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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

professorhat wrote:

Hi there, just checked the manual and you can indeed watch a recording whilst recording something else on the Samsung (you can also do this on all the other PVRs I've mentioned above).

 

Cheers prof. V helpful as usual.

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

It's also worth noting that for anyone else interested in a freeview hd recorder/pvr that John Lewis currently have the 500gb Humax on price match for £244.95/£249.95 I can't remember which is the correct price.

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Hi If the Samsung is so good I'm at a loss to understand its slating on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-BD-DT7800-500GB-Recorder-Freeview/dp/B005FVJ7QC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335592782&sr=8-1

I know with anything technical you do get poor reviews from Muppets who shouldn't be allowed to own technology but I still find the reviews a very goog indicater for real world use. I'm in the market for an HD PVR and want to know if the Humax is worth the extra. I'm not that impressed with the SD one I have, I find the interface slow and incredibly dated in look.

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

I love my Humax.

It records two things at once (the best programmes are often on at the same time) and I can watch something else. (Including a previously recorded programme.)

Pausing 'live' TV is excellent. (Even whilst recording other things.)

Watching from the beginning of a Grand Prix, whilst still recording the end of it, was great (especially when they start really early on a Sunday morning).

It's good looking and I have no objection to the EPG. It's simple and intuitive to operate. (It's 'picture in picture' and doesn't interrupt the sound whilst browsing like our Panasonic TV's EPG does.)

Picture and sound quality is excellent. BBC iPlayer is excellent quality too.

I should say I have never seen the Samsung. Didn't even consider it. No idea what it does or how well.

I bought my Humax from John Lewis (who price-matched Richer Sound's price) and got a two year guarantee.

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

roger06 wrote:

Hi If the Samsung is so good I'm at a loss to understand its slating on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-BD-DT7800-500GB-Recorder-Freeview/dp/B005FVJ7QC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335592782&sr=8-1

I know with anything technical you do get poor reviews from Muppets who shouldn't be allowed to own technology but I still find the reviews a very goog indicater for real world use. I'm in the market for an HD PVR and want to know if the Humax is worth the extra. I'm not that impressed with the SD one I have, I find the interface slow and incredibly dated in look.

Looking at the Samsung reviews, for the unhappy ones, it's a mixture of people complaining about the limited use of the box (i.e. can only record one programme at a time etc.) or that it is crashing. In terms of the ace reviews flying in the face of this, I think this is a bigger issue with PVRs than other devices, in that reviewers obviously only spend a few days with a unit, and in those days, the bugs that are present may well not show up. This is worse for PVRs since they are, in effect, mini computers with complicated OSes, and it's very easy for these bugs to be missed in those few days. To be fair to the reviewers, they can only report what they see.  My experience with the Phillips (or in reality Pace) Freeview HD PVR showed me that - it was riddled with bugs which made it very unreliable and therefore useless as a PVR, but it consistently scored high reviews. The difference was, everyone who owned one eventually reported these issues on the forums, which showed it to be a deep seated error in the firmware.

For a more accurate picture, I tend to look at more forums like  this one for the Samsung - like the Amazon reviews, once you read the posts of people who've been using the box for a few weeks, you'll build up a better picture of the genuine issues (and bonuses) of the unit.

Annnywayy...

In my mind, I think the Humax is worth the extra, but don't rule out the Digital Stream for a very good (and reliable) Freeview HD PVR. It's available for £70 less than the Humax from Amazon at the moment (though out of stock currently), or £50 from John Lewis with a 2 year guarantee. A recent firmware update has indeed added BBC iPlayer functionality to this box, as well as DLNA streaming (though it's a reasonably complex setup compared to some, so not recommended unless you're happy copying files to USB disks etc.).

Digital Stream have also proven to provide the most exemplary after sales customer service I've ever seen from a manufacturer. I bought one early one (coming on for 2 years ago now) and several of the features I personally requested were actually built into the firmware - this was all done via what turned into the official Digital Stream forum over on AVforums. They have also proven very good at replacing any faulty units (of which there are always going to be some) not sorted by the retailer, generally offering a next day delivery and collection service.

There's a also a thriving community of online users who have produced a Wiki page for the Digital Stream - link.

 

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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Very useful. Prof.

Am I right in thinking that another plus point of the Digital Stream is the prescence of SCART socketry? I read that the overprced Sony clone has none, and that for me is a deal-killer. I always want the option to archive or share the occasional programme, and wth only hdmi out, you're stuffed.

(Am I right in thinking the DS's DLNA only lets you stream content TO the box, not get progs OFF it?).

I might have gone for one of the current twin tuner Panasonics, based on the solid fault-free experience of their DVD recorders, but 'no scart, no sale'.  (And I'm not sure if they still deface the EPG with that stupid advert).

I'm reluctant to pay a premium for the Humax. Despite their admirable product support in firmware updates, the missed programme endings and disc-wiping file system corruptions on the SD models puts me off.

Anonymous
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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Hi,

 

After reading all the useful info here and elsewhere I was about to order.

 

It seems this is now discontinued?

http://www.ricability-digitaltv.org.uk/pages/products/digital_tvs/index.asp?Product=Digital%20Stream%20DHR8205U

 

Is the 8206U exactly the same as the 8205U with just a larger 1TB HDD?

Any other changes?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Anonymous
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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Anyone know if Samsung are planning on bringing out a follow up to the BD-DT 7800 freeview HD box any time soon?

Anonymous
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RE: Which Freeview HD Recorder?

Hello.  I will be purchasing my first ever freeview recorder. I want HD, pause & play and watch a recording whilst recording another programme. Idaelly I would also like to transfer favourite recorded programmes to disc, but not essential. Price is fine up to about £250 or even 300 - what should I buy?

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