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Grundig GUFSDTR500HD Freesat+ HD Recorder review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Humax’s fantastic FOXSAT HDR has had a monopoly on the Freesat+ PVR market for over a year but as we roll into 2010 other companies are starting to muscle in on the hard-disk hi-def action.

This high-definition capable box from Grundig, as well as models from Goodmans and Sagem, are giving Humax some much-needed competition (always a good thing for consumers) but Humax is still in a very strong position. Its year-long head start has established it as the Freesat PVR to beat, and in that time its online price has fallen to an irresistible £240 – all of which means that any challengers need something special up their sleeves to justify higher launch prices. Is Grundig’s GUFSDTR500HD up to the task?

The first thing to point out is that the DTR500HD (which is what we’ll call it from now on) boasts a bigger hard-disk – 500GB compared with the Humax’s 320GB – which holds up to 125 hours of high-definition TV or 312 hours of standard definition. That accounts for the Grundig’s higher price, but if you don’t need that much space and want to save a few pennies then a 320GB version is also available (for about £249.99, depending on where you look).

It’s pleasing to see that Grundig has put some effort into the box’s design. In fact, it’s a bit of stunner, boasting a fashionable gloss-black finish, a cool, curvy fascia and a minimal array of buttons, all of which makes it much prettier than the Humax. That said, at 290mm wide it might look a bit mismatched when stacked on a Blu-ray or DVD player, and the lack of a front panel means you’ll need to consult the onscreen displays for all the info.

On the back there’s a healthy selection of sockets, including two LNB inputs, an HDMI output (which supports 1080i, 720p and 576p), twin Scart outputs plus optical and coaxial digital audio outputs (able to feed a Dolby Digital bitstream to your AV receiver). There’s also an Ethernet port, which has taken on even greater significance since the launch of the BBC’s iPlayer beta trial (reviewed by John) as it means you’ll be able to connect to the internet and access the Beeb’s library of on-demand programmes. However, you will have to wait for the service to launch properly as the DTR500HD can’t access the beta (it’s exclusive to the Humax FOXSAT-HD and HDR).

Also on the rear is a USB port which can only be used to manually upgrade the unit’s software. Sadly you can’t use it to upload files onto the hard disk or dump recordings onto an external HDD as you can on the Humax FOXSAT-HDR, putting this box at a disadvantage in that respect.

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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