Performance wise, the HDFS is top class. Operating speed is ultra quick – digital text pages appear reasonably quick and channels change instantly. And while connected wirelessly to the web, we hit the red button on BBC One and sure enough the ‘BBC iPlayer Beta’ option is listed at the bottom (although it disappeared a couple of times).
The service appears in a flash, it moves from option to option with minimum delay and programmes loaded up in around 10 seconds. They also played back without a single buffering pause, making this a beautifully smooth way of seeing iPlayer in action. Picture quality is a touch fuzzy in standard quality but step up to higher quality and it can look as good as live Freesat programmes.
Moving to Freesat, we’re hugely impressed by the picture quality. High-definition channels, in this case BBC HD, look as stunning as ever, boasting lashings of glorious detail and splashes of radiant, natural colour. The through-a-window clarity of the image alone makes this box worth buying.
Standard definition pictures on BBC One are obviously softer and introduce some sprinklings of mosquito and block noise. We’ve seen boxes that offer a touch more sharpness, but on the whole we reckon you’ll be more than happy with the HDFS’s picture prowess.
Sonically the Technisat doesn’t put a foot wrong – Dolby Digital on BBC HD is dynamic and expansive, particularly when you pipe it though a home cinema system as we did, and analogue stereo through a TV is consistently clean and audible. When streaming MP3 files from a PC, punchy, well-balanced sound quality is the order of the day.
Could the Technisat HDFS be the best Freesat receiver money can buy? We think so. It boasts a fantastic array of features that will appeal to beginners and advanced users alike, and the wireless PC streaming and iPlayer access puts it in a class all of its own. Picture quality, operating speed, onscreen design and looks are also impressive, putting even the impressive Humax FOXSAT-HD to shame.
The only issue could be the £150 price tag, which some people may find slightly high for a straight up receiver with no PVR functionality – particularly as you have to pay out an extra £30 for the wireless adaptor. But in our opinion it’s a small price to pay for such a slick, feature-packed Freesat box.