The last time we crossed paths with German brand Technisat was in our review of its HDFS Freesat HD receiver, one of the only models with the talent to topple Humax’s FOXSAT-HD. But now Technisat has turned its attention to the nascent Freeview HD market with the HDFV, which once again finds itself squaring up to a wide range of other great-value boxes, all of which deliver free hi-def pictures through a rooftop aerial. So how will the HDFV earn your hard-earned cash? Let’s find out…
Looks-wise, the HDFV boasts a slim metal casing, a minimal, reflective fascia and an eye-catching silver ring of controls on the left-hand side. These are direction keys for controlling menus, with an OK button placed in the middle. There’s also an LED display in the middle that shows the number of the selected channel while a flap on the right hides what looks like a smartcard slot, but it’s actually redundant – Common Interface and smartcard slots are found on the German variant, but they aren’t used here.
On the back is a useful array of sockets, including an HDMI v1.3 output, an RGB-capable SCART, coaxial digital, composite video and analogue stereo outputs, RF input/loop and a USB port. The latter opens up a wealth of extra features – you can play music, video and photos from USB storage devices, plug in Technisat’s optional Wi-Fi adapter for wireless networking or plug in a USB stick and turn the HDFV into a PVR.
Aside from Freeview HD, these are the HDFV’s major selling points. With Technisat’s WLAN adapter attached, you can access content on networked PCs and NAS drives wirelessly (with support for uPNP and CIFS devices) as well as future IPTV services like BBC iPlayer. Disappointingly, file support is limited, with a list that only includes MPEG, MP3, JPEG and VOB.
If you don’t have a wireless router (or don’t fancy paying £30 for the adapter) then there’s an Ethernet port on the back too. We weren’t supplied with a dongle so had to use Ethernet for testing.
You can also record Freeview programmes in SD or HD onto a suitable USB storage device, which is much cheaper than forking out for a proper Freeview HD PVR like Humax’s recently launched recorder. There’s a timer function on board, which can be set from the EPG by hitting the red button. You can use this to record a programme, to switch over to a certain programme or as a ‘wake-up timer’.