The Media Organiser is slightly more confusing. It shows lists for two external devices at once – your laptop’s content on the left and USB content on the right, for example. You can select which device is shown on each side using the red and green keys. USB recordings are presented in a list with the programme names taken from the EPG.
We initially had some difficulties accessing files on our networked PC, but got there in the end. The HDFV uses CIFS to connect to PCs running XP or Vista, but they need to have been set up for public access with a password in place. PCs running Windows 7 can only be connected using uPnP, which can be activated in Windows Media Center.
If you want to use the PVR functionality, it’s worth connecting your USB stick and running the ‘DVR Suitability Test’ located in the Recording Media Organiser menu. We tried one with an insufficient writing speed and performance was glitchy, but with the right type of device connected, it records and plays live TV with no problems at all.
To view your recordings, you need to visit the Nav menu, which can be accessed by pressing the blue button (but that’s not made clear on the remote itself). The list of recordings is easy to follow and gives all the relevant detail about each recording. What’s more, picture quality is excellent, looking as crisp and colourful as the original broadcast.
Live TV pictures are excellent, particularly hi-def channels viewed on a 1080p TV. Coverage of The Open golf from St Andrews on BBC HD looks immaculate – the sharply-dressed golfers, finely-textured sandy bunkers and billowing grass are all presented with intense sharpness, plus the radiant, natural colour reproduction is to be applauded. Thanks to the wonders of hi-def you can finally see the ball travelling through the air.
Standard definition channels suffer by comparison from block noise and soft detail reproduction, but it’s no worse than any other Freeview HD box we’ve seen recently. Audio is consistently clear through the HDMI and coaxial outputs.
The Technisat HDFV is undoubtedly one of the best Freeview HD boxes on the market, by virtue of its generous feature list. The inclusion of network media streaming, USB media playback, PVR functionality and optional Wi-Fi support puts it head and shoulders above the competition – even the Humax HD FOX-T2 and Icecrypt T2200. The best part is that all this extra functionality comes at no extra cost, as its £150 price tag matches most of its rivals.
Our only complaints are that some parts of the operating system are clunky and confusing, and a second USB port would have solved a big connectivity clash, but otherwise this is a terrific Freeview HD debut from Technisat.