Dion is one of Tesco’s in-house electronics brands and the VSTBAW10 is one of its cheap and cheerful Freeview boxes. It’s not HD-ready, but it provides a quick and easy way of watching digital channels on older TVs not already equipped with their own digital tuner.
On the outside the VSTBAW10 is an attractive looking device, sporting a fetching white finish and slender dimensions – it’s about the same size as a Blu-ray disc case. Curves at each end are another nice touch. Build quality isn’t great – it’s plasticky and light as a feather – but we refer you to that ultra-low price tag. On the front is a black strip, embedded into which is an LED that glows red when in standby.
Rear socketry is as simple as it gets – an RF input for your rooftop aerial, a loopthrough output (which you’ll need if you need to pass the signal onto another device) and a single Scart output, which offers composite and higher-quality RGB pictures.
The most eye-catching feature of this box is the ability to access Channel Zero, a range of over-the-air interactive services using Trove technology, created by Electra Entertainment. It’s a way of delivering connected TV-style premium content and apps to non-connected set-top boxes, and Tesco is the first of the company’s retail partners. Among the content on offer at present is Reuters news, Met Office weather updates, What’s On TV magazine and PlayJam games. It’s accessed from the EPG or by hitting the dedicated button on the remote. It doesn’t come with Channel Zero installed – you have to activate it onscreen and it’s downloaded while the box is in standby, which takes a few hours.