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Technisat HDFS Freesat HD Receiver review

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Technisat HDFS Freesat HD Receiver

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

The launch of Freeview HD might have taken the some of the shine off Freesat with its extra HD channel and through-an-aerial accessibility, but the subscription satellite service remains a hassle-free and cost-effective way of getting high-definition TV. There are loads of excellent Freesat HD receivers and recorders out there, and the Technisat HDFS is one of them.

This box has been available since last year but for one reason or another we never got our hands on one. However, it was thrust back into the limelight recently with news that it can now access the BBC iPlayer Beta trial, and is the first box capable of accessing it wirelessly – the perfect excuse for us to investigate this new feature and find out what else this feature-packed receiver has to offer.

The box itself is one of the more attractive Freesat receivers out there. It’s slim, compact and boasts a sleek black finish accentuated by a silver stripe and menu controls on the front panel. In the centre of the front panel is a scrolling alphanumeric LED display, which helpfully shows the name of the current TV or radio channel. Overall build quality is highly impressive.

A flap on the front drops down to reveal a USB port and SD/MMC/MS and Compact Flash card slots, hinting that this box does a lot more than just receive Freesat programmes. The Technisat’s multimedia capabilities are unrivalled in the Freesat receiver market, but we’ll discuss those in full later.

On the rear panel is a wide range of sockets covering all bases. Pictures can be piped to your TV using the HDMI output – crucial if you want to watch hi-def Freesat broadcasts on BBC HD and ITV 1 HD – the SCART output, or the composite video output. A second SCART is provided for connection to an external recorder, but both SCART only support S-video and composite video, denying you the ability to make best-quality RGB recordings. On the audio side the HDFS generously offers coaxial and optical digital outputs as well as analogue stereo.

As mentioned earlier, one of the HDFS’ main selling points is its ability to access the BBC iPlayer wirelessly, and for that reason you’ll find a second USB port on the rear, which allows you to plug in a Technisat W-LAN USB adaptor (or you can use the front mounted port if you prefer). This gizmo will set you back around £30 but it’s worth the extra expense for the added convenience. It’s discreet and comes with a little antenna to improve reception and a USB extension cable.

You’ll also find an Ethernet port on the rear, providing a wired connection to the web. But whether wired or wireless, you can the connection to stream MP3 audio files, MPEG-2 video and JPEG photos from networked PCs using the Windows file sharing (CIFS) system. This is the unit’s killer feature and works brilliantly – it’s easy to locate your content thanks to the straightforward menu screens, and our sample streamed music and photos from our networked laptop without a hitch. Alternatively music, movies and pictures can be played back from storage devices connected to either USB port, or from memory cards.

Hoggypotter

April 23, 2010, 3:58 pm

I was just going to buy the Humax HDR box and now this review! Do you know if Technisat will be releasing a PVR version of this box? I'm leaving Sky at the end of May and need to make a decision.

HDRE

April 23, 2010, 4:17 pm

Add PVR functionality and it's "hasta luego" SKY.

fuey

April 23, 2010, 5:14 pm

@TrustedReviews - I've just performed a few google searches which have revealed...PVR functionality...





{10-OCT-2009}


http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/i...





{31-OCT-2009}


http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/i...





Can you confirm? Did you review box perform a software update, which revealed this functionality?

arjeeone

April 23, 2010, 5:25 pm

Well I for one am confused by the review as I have this Technisat HDFS Freesat receiver and I'm happily recording stuff from it onto an external hard drive that's plugged into the rear USB socket... Admittedly the interface needs a bit of work but it's a feature that Technisat introduce via firmare update some months ago now.


Supports all the standard features like pausing live tv etc.


Great unit and even better once divx streaming is supported.

DavidDB

April 23, 2010, 7:24 pm

I have had the Technisat HDFS since November and I can confirm its as good as any box I have ever considered - The Recording Function added after buying it works really well (mostly) and I was blown away by the quality of iPlayer its much better than I dare expected.





With it showing up online for as little as £139 and that includes a THREE YEAR warranty I cannot recommend this receiver more highly.





And if your interested the Tech Support department available in the UK by phone and email could teach a few other manufacturers how it should be done.

Chocoa

April 23, 2010, 7:56 pm

Question is do you go Freesat or Freeview for HD in the future? Somewhat confusing marketing by UK channels methinks. Puts me off deciding....

Stelph

April 23, 2010, 8:17 pm

Odd, how could TrustedReviews have missed the PVR function of this box? It may be a bit of a bodge involving an external Hard Drive (and the files that are recorded are encoded so youcant play them back on a PC unfortunatly, only the box you recorded them on) but it is there:





http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/i...





Hadnt spotted that it had dropped to £139 tho, I was thinking of saving up for the Humax but thats still +£200 and as I live in a flat with a single LNR this may be the better option TBH

Hoggypotter

April 23, 2010, 8:32 pm

Thanks for confirming the PVR functionality. Looks like I'll be getting the Techinsat instead of the Humax. Bye bye Sky.

DavidDB

April 23, 2010, 8:33 pm

Long term Freesat will have way more bandwidth than Freeview HD - but the channel line up may not reflect this at launch. There will be more capacity when Astra launches an additional satellite next year. Plus ITVplayer is on its way soon to Freesat Boxes soon.





FREESAT is available in your area now (at a safe bet) but you will of course need to check when your area switches over to Freesat HD - the World Cup will help a lot of people decide which way to jump. And just think of all those dead Sky dishes around the UK just waiting to get some low cost HD goodnes.

ffrankmccaffery

April 23, 2010, 9:10 pm

Would it be possible to include screenshots of the menus and on screen display in future reviews? Ultimately they're what you'll be staring at a most of the time.

Martin Daler

April 23, 2010, 10:04 pm

@Stelph - can you use USB powered hard drives?

Chris Beach

April 23, 2010, 10:15 pm

Isn't FreeSat currently limited mainly because its sharing the satellite with Sky, which wont give it the bandwidth it needs...something to do with needing a narrow frequency so that the channels can't be picked up say in France or Germany, if they can then the providers won't sell them the channels/content.

Enigma

April 24, 2010, 4:47 am

Judging by the comments of 'Free at last. Free at last from Sky.' Is it any wonder the Murdochs were complaining of the BBC's “chilling ambitions”.





Well if you want to keep Freesat, BBC's website, iPlayer, Canvas, etc and ensure that the BBC continues to innovate and not be brow beaten by self interests of the profiteering private sector of the likes of the Sky (aka News Corporation of the Murdoch empire) then you may want to have a look at the publication of the proposed strategy for the BBC. The proposals will now be subject to a 12 week consultation  (From 02 Mar - 25 May 2010).  





The Executive's proposals can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/...





There are a number of ways in which you can have your say:





Online Survey: https://consultations.external...





Email: srconsultation@bbc.co.uk

Enigma

April 25, 2010, 3:33 am

I thought all those seeking 'freedom' from Sky tv may like to see these stories:


James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks invade Independent newspaper office: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/g...





So 'expect' a visit from James & Rebekah :-(( very sooon!





Viewers complain to Ofcom over Nick Clegg's treatment in Sky debate: http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi...

Enigma

April 26, 2010, 1:47 am

I inadvertently (as I don't normally watch PoVs) caught an interview with one of BBC's Executives on Points of View on the issue of limited HD programming by the BBC. You may be able to catch it on BBC iPlayer.

Enigma

April 26, 2010, 2:53 am

It MUST be serious! “Stars line up to condemn the Tories over funding plans for the BBC”:





http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...

Danny P

April 26, 2010, 2:31 pm

Apologies for not mentioning the PVR add-on - guess I was too busy checking out the iPlayer - but yes, it's fantastic and yet another reason why this is the Freesat box to beat.

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