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Best digital TV boxes

It's almost certain to be one of these - after all, these are the best digital boxes around. They will let you do everything from watch and record digital TV to deliver streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix. And with Black Friday around the corner, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for bargains.

Best subscription service

Voice controls, 4K content, split-screen viewing, and more – Sky Q truly is the future of TV. And its price reflects that.

Specifications

: 4K UHD
: 2TB hard drive

Reasons to buy

+
Great content
+
Slick new design
+
Impressive picture and sound
+
Multi-room TV really works
+
4K Ultra HD video

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Some features seem a little niche
-
Touchpad remote can be fiddly

Best Freeview box

The 5000T builds on a solid run of five-star Humax products. If Freeview is your bag, you can't go wrong at this price.

Specifications

: Wi-fi built-in
: Full HD channels
: Record four channels at once

Reasons to buy

+
Multiple tuners
+
Access to catch-up apps
+
Built-in wi-fi
+
Great sound and picture

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing significant at this price

Best Freesat box

With built-in wi-fi, all the standard catch-up services, impressive HD image quality and 5.1 surround sound, this Humax is the best option for Freesat customers.

Specifications

: 1 TB hard drive

Reasons to buy

+
Clear picture
+
Expressive sound
+
Easy to use
+
Flexibility with app

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t work with hi-res audio

Best YouView box

YouView is a fantastic budget option. It quickly - and cheaply - enhances your TV-viewing experience with minimum fuss.

Specifications

: 500GB hard drive

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent catch-up offerings
+
Easy to use
+
Good picture quality
+
Plenty of storage space

Reasons to avoid

-
Still no wi-fi provided

Best streaming box

Some necessary updates have brought the TV 4K right up to speed and to the front of the streaming box pack.

Specifications

: 4K HDR
: Dolby Vision

Reasons to buy

+
Substantial library of 4K HDR content
+
Small, silent box
+
Nice UI
+
Useful voice control
+
Strong picture and sound
+
Almost every app you could ask for

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of some advanced audio formats
-
All 4 still missing
-
Universal search isn't quite universal

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.