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Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


Provided you set the Scart output to RGB, the Dion VSTBAW10 delivers passable picture quality, although we’ve seen better. The image is quite smeary and flecked with mosquito noise, which squirms uncomfortably when objects move too quickly.

The colour balance is also suspect. Skin tones have a waxy, reddish hue and stops them looking natural. Diagonal lines also suffer from stepping. Its pictures are watchable, and you probably won’t notice these artefacts on small TVs in the kitchen or bedroom, but if you really care about picture quality then invest in a more expensive receiver.


On the plus side, the overall image is vibrant and movement looks smooth, plus you can make out a fair amount of detail. We watched BBC One’s coverage of Wimbledon, and found the green grass of the court to look nice and bright, while we never lost sight of the ball.

On the sonic side, speech is clear and everyday TV soundtracks come through the speakers without any distortion. It also loads digital text and interactive services in a flash.


If you’re looking for a cheap way to add Freeview to an ageing TV, then the Dion VSTBAW10 might be worth chucking in your trolley. It’s easy to use despite its basic onscreen design, and the addition of Channel Zero gives it the edge over Freeview boxes from bigger-name brands. Don’t expect high-class picture quality though, with noise and poor colour reproduction betraying its peanuts price tag.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5
  • Value 8


July 6, 2011, 5:22 pm

Please take this as a constructive criticism rather than a complaint: I'm happy to skim or skip reviews that I don't find interesting, but it seems a bit incongruous with the flavour of this site for you to be reviewing a bargain basement set top box which has got some sort of glorified Teletext thing bolted on. If it wasn't for "Channel Zero" (which to me seems a worthless feature) I doubt you'd have reviewed this. Is it your view that Channel Zero is a sufficiently interesting addition to merit reviewing a product that you'd otherwise have ignored?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the box - it has its place in opening up Freeview access to less well off people who have an old TV and are yet to make the leap to digital, but (and I accept I may be wrong here) I don't expect you have more than a handful of readers who fit that demographic.


August 11, 2011, 3:47 am

Thanks for this review. I'll purchase one (or something very similar) to use with my old DVD/PVR box as a stop gap until the tech I really want improves a bit and, possibly, drops in price.

K Wojtak

April 19, 2015, 9:13 pm

I bought a Dion Trove recorder (DTR500SS11) as it had a lot of recording capacity and was a reasonable price. It is probably the worst piece of electronic kit I have every purchased. Frequently the box will completely hang mid-operation. The only way out is to power on-off and then it declares it has a hardware fault and requires a complete reformat. Despite 2 complete reformats the errors just keep on reoccurring. During recording you may as well forget trying to use it to see other recorded programs as is suddenly stops responding to the remote. So a fast forward will carry on forwarding to the end. Save your money and get something better.

John H

July 28, 2016, 9:29 am

I read this review with interest.

My 50"Samsung TV, sound bar and Sky 2TB Box are in the Yellow Box storage. I have an old LG TV which was mounted on a wall bracket in the kitchen about ten years ago and has been in a plastic box ever since.

I tried to tune the TV in my temporary flat. Plugged it into the aerial socket and tried auto tune, fine tune and manual tune. Nothing but fuzz and snow although I did pick up the security cameras.

I bought an indoor aerial. Still nothing.

Read this review. Returned the aerial and bought this cheap as chips box.

Used the same aerial cable. Plugged it into the Dion. SCART into TV. Power cable in.

Bang. It autotuned itself immediately and I was watching the news within two minutes of unpacking it.

Not sure the picture quality is the best although that might be the old TV.

I bought this as an experiment as I assumed the tuner on the TV was knackered. My only regret now that the experiment was positive is that I didn't buy a more expensive device, something I may well do now I know I can get Freeview here.

Getting DAB radio is a bonus (although I cannot get Planet Rock).

I will explore Channel Zero for the sake of it but it holds no major interest to me.

This was £15 well spent.

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