Sharp TU-T2HR32 review

Given the ability of recent products in the highly competitive Freeview HD box market, there's little here to recommend this mediocre Sharp Tested at £290.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

You can buy much better than this


  • +

    Respectable tuners give good picture and recording quality


  • -

    Some usability issues

  • -

    spec looks distinctly inadequate at this price

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

While standard Freeview HD boxes were quick to appear, their recording equivalents – branded as Freeview+HD – have been frustratingly delayed. So, has Sharp's TU-T2HR32 been worth the wait?

First impressions aren't great. Some set-top-boxes give you an alphanumeric display for easy station identification and other handy status information: the TU-T2HR32 gives you what appears to be a miniature version of the alien comms panel from Close Encounters.

Doubtless the permutations of blinking lights will make more sense the more you live with the Sharp, but at first glance… well, we've seen clearer systems, let's put it that way.

Standard set of connections
Socketry is as you'd expect for the class, with a single HDMI, twin Scarts and optical and coaxial digital outs. However, as with many of its ilk, the Sharp won't output Dolby Digital 5.1 sound (where present).

As an additional frustration, the ethernet and USB inputs are largely redundant, at least at present: the TU-T2HR32 won't replay digital media from USB drives, and it can't access or stream content from the internet or your network.

In fairness, such functionality might not concern you at all – but equally, it's available in other boxes at no extra cost.

High on the frustration scale
In its defence, the Sharp fulfils its primary roles well. Live and recorded picture quality from standard-definition and HD channels is fine, with dense colours, sharply drawn edges and, in the main, satisfyingly low levels of background noise.

However, it's a frustration that you're not given the option of bypassing the internal scaling, a failing shared by many rivals: we settled on leaving the box at 1080i as the best compromise, as the showroom-friendly 1080p mode tends to soften the image too much.

What's left to say? The fan's a little noisy, the remote control is a basic (rather than learning) design and it's only a 320GB device, when the class standard at this price is now 500GB.

All in all – and especially in light of the ability offered by the recent entries in this market – it's hard to see the appeal of this Sharp.

See all our Freeview box reviews

Follow on Twitter

What Hi-Fi?

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, Reading 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.

Read more about how we test