Dion VSTBAW10 review



Our Score



  • Channel Zero interactive technology
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use


  • Poor five-channel EPG
  • Build quality
  • Picture quality

Review Price £17.97

Key Features: RGB Scart output; Channel Zero; 7-day EPG; Subtitles and digital text access; Auto standby

Manufacturer: Dion

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.

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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.

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