Grundig GUFSDTR500HD Freesat+ HD Recorder - Grundig GUFSDTR500HD

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Inside the DTR500 are two DVB S2 tuners, which like any twin-tuner PVR allows you to watch one channel and record another or record two channels simultaneously while watching a recording from the hard-disk. Try to record a third channel while recording two others and an onscreen dialogue box lists the various options open to you in plain English – a helpful feature. You can of course watch and record hi-def channels, which at the moment are limited to BBC HD and ITV HD on Freesat.

You get all the usual features like Pause and Rewind Live TV, Audio Description, digital text, Series Link and Split Recording. The box is also able to receive and decode Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks.

Installation is easy. After you’ve screwed in the LNB cables and hooked up your HDMI, boot up the box and a menu screen invites you to punch in your postcode (so you get the correct regional channel variations) and TV aspect ratio, then it searches for the channels. At the end you get a summary telling you how many channels it’s found.

If you want to add non-Freesat channels, then activate the ‘Show Non-Freesat Channels’ option in the setup menu then perform a manual search by keying in the relevant frequency, symbol rate and LNB polarisation. Once found, these channels can only be viewed in the Channel List and not from the EPG. That's better than not having them at all, though.

In general the Grundig’s onscreen menu design is highly impressive – clean, uncluttered and eye-catching. Generous use of strangely familiar icons, crisp text and bold colours ensures an engaging and hassle-free user experience. There are those who’ll moan that it lacks the intuitiveness of Sky’s latest EPG, and although that’s true you’ll still be hard-pressed to fault it.

The 8-day EPG is easy to follow and surprisingly uncluttered, despite cramming in a grid of eight channels, programme synopses, genre tabs and colour-coded instructions along the bottom. That doesn’t leave any room for a live TV box though, which is a shame. But a more annoying omission is that you can’t select Series Link when you set a programme to record – instead you have to zip over to the library, find the programme you’ve just scheduled and hit the green button, which is too long-winded. We’d have preferred a pop-up box giving you the Record Once/Record Series options straight away, like Sky+.

The Library menu is excellent. All of your recordings are clearly listed with their full titles, while live TV plays in a box in the top left corner. A neat Preview feature lets you play the recording in the box and all of the main functions are helpfully listed along the bottom. Interestingly, this screen also doubles up as the timer schedule list – all of the programmes to be recorded are listed at the bottom. It’s a shame you can’t record from the buffer memory, but otherwise the DTR500HD offers a decent range of recording features.

Mike

January 8, 2010, 7:29 pm

This is good news for the consumer market, as you say competition is always good for us as it tends to push prices down. However, I don't think Humax are sitting on their laurels though. I know they are due to be launching two second generation Freesat HD+ recorders, one with USB 2.O connection to enable a hook up to an external HDD and the other with an internal 500 GB HDD this year along with another model for Freeview ( I digress slightly!). What I'm a little confused about though is whether the new Humax mobels will all come with 1080P line input? I'm aware the Freeview model is supposed to be but not sure as yet about the Freesat one? I'm hoping that as long as the new model performs as well as the original Foxsat HDR including the later software upgrade to sort out it's teething problems, I think Grunding are definately going to get some severe competition from Humax, especially if the Freesat+ comes with 1080P!I would definately love to see companies, the likes of Sony start pushing something like this as well as a Blue Ray recorder!

HDRE

January 9, 2010, 3:38 pm

@TR/Danny Excellent Review.


More Freesat product reviews please. As a current Sky HD customer I'm very interested in any real alternative to Sky's very user friendly interface/platform.

justin steggles

January 9, 2010, 4:45 pm

Yes, more of the same please. I know alot of people looking for an alternative to the Sky HD box, which seems to be very unreliable. Everyone I know needs to reset there box at least once a week and failed recordings etc.


Roll on Freesat.

Mike

January 10, 2010, 3:45 pm

@justin steggles, that's interesting your comments about Sky boxes being unreliable and giving failed recordings. I have a Grundig Sky box under their freesat alternative to a subscription service. I find this box as with others I've tried from Sky, to be excatly that too! My box either freezes up so I can't change channels etc or it sometimes fails to switch on for a 'autoview' programme. Has anyone heard of similar occurrences on the Humam foxsat HDR ? ( Freesat +) recorder?

HDRE

January 10, 2010, 8:37 pm

@Justin, your not alone, Thanks to SKY HD, I've missed my chance to watch Heroes series 4 episodes 1 & 2! When you rely on Sky to record a series and find it's failed to record one of x in a series of episodes you begin to look else where. My Sky box couldn't find a signal, despite watching MOTD at the time! This is not the first time either. My current frustrating issue is the audio dropping every so often (though the usual trick of turn it off and on again does the trick) . My other SKY box (not HD) is fine and has never experienced anywhere near the level of problems I've had with my HD box. Considering I'm paying for a premium for the service, I'll be weighing my options up once more tech' is available or reviewed whether it be FreeSat or Freeview HD boxes. Bye bye SKY!

Wedge

January 11, 2010, 2:57 am

It's still overpriced compared to a Freeview PVR and I can't see why.

Gadgetsearcher

November 20, 2010, 7:44 pm

I have had this machine for 3 weeks in Spain. Got it from Cosco £200.00. Picture and sound just superb. Menus brilliantly clear but use of remote abit cumbersome and not so user friendly but quite manageable. It could do with the ability to sort recordings into files for those you want to keep. e.g. Films.


The fan is very noisy and it probaby better to take it off auto standby. I have a Humax Freeview PVR and this runs rings round it. It could do with FIND function and the worst feature is when deleting. There is no option to reconsider.


Otherwise it is superb and great value. I am going to get another and replace my Humax PVR which often starts late and very often finishes recording early so you miss the last minute ot two of the program. The Grundig behaves perfectly in this respect.I give it 4.875 stars.

Doodle

December 12, 2010, 4:55 pm

I've been trying to connect the Grundig to a Hava Titanium HD Wifi to view Freesat on my PC via the internet. The Hava has Component, Composite and S-Video inputs but no HDMI so I have to use the Scart on the Grundig. So far I've tried using a Scart to Composite adaptor but got no picture or sound. Can anyone offer any guidance about what the Grundig Scart can provide and correspondingly, which input to use on the Hava.

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