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Technika Smartbox 8320HD review

Astonishing features at a rather astonishing price, but the Technika Smartbox 8320HD needs refining Tested at £200.00

Our Verdict

Who’d have thought Technika would be at the cutting-edge of set-top boxes? With greater refinement, this could be a winner

For

  • Exceptional suite of features (including on-demand content) at a great price
  • very decent pictures and sound

Against

  • Still not bug-free
  • a bit flimsy in the flesh

There are some products that really set the whathifi.com forums alight. That's exactly what the Technika Smartbox 8320HD did, firstly by offering astonishing features at a great price, and then by being so horribly riddled with bugs that it was withdrawn from sale.

It's back now, and the good news is that Technika has killed lots of the bugs, but kept all of those features.

Those features: built-in wired and 803.11n wi-fi network connections that give you access to BBC iPlayer, Sky Player, and a raft of on-demand HD movies. Just connect the box, register with Fetch TV and you're good to go.

We went straight to the movie store and clicked to rent Alice in Wonderland in HD.

Punchy, sharp images
After a 10-minute wait while the box downloaded the first part of the movie, we were ready to go, and although the image falls short of full 1080p for detail, it's undeniably punchy and sharp.

The lack of surround sound, though, is a bigger disappointment. The Technika's perfectly decent as a ‘basic' PVR too, producing pictures from the three HD channels and standard-def images that, a touch of shimmer aside, are close to the best on test.

So, it's good, but it's still not 100 per cent bug-free, and we had to reset it a couple of times during our testing. Were it not for that, the mix of features, price and performance may well have been enough for five stars.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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