5 Best Freesat Recorder Box 2020 – [FULL UK REVIEW]
Best Freesat Recorder Box
We strongly believe that at this point in time, Freesat plus video on demand services are the best way to go for people who want maximum entertainment for minimum cost. Freesat itself currently delivers about 200 channels some of which are in HD. These cover everything from your core channels such as BBC to more niche options such as international channels.
If that’s not enough, then you can boost your viewing pleasure with contract-free content from a wide range of providers. Even Sky have quietly conceded that they had better establish themselves in this area and have made themselves the proud owners of Now TV, which allows people to buy month-by-month contracts to access Sky content, including Sky Sports and premium TV such as the mighty Game of Thrones.
Sports fans, in particular, may want to look at ditching their Sky contract since it is no longer a guarantee that you will be able to watch the top matches in the most popular sports. Other video on demand providers, notably BT and Amazon, are also eager to grab a slice of this market and have already claimed some EPL matches.
If you already have a Sky box, then it will work just fine for Freesat (or, more accurately Freesat from Sky), but you can’t expect it to work forever and, obviously, Sky won’t replace it if you are out of contract with them.
So, if you need to replace an old box, if you want a spare or extra boxes for other rooms or if you’re not with Sky but would like Freesat, you’ll need a Freesat receiver and if you’re going to get a receiver, then it’s a good idea to get a recorder as well, since this obviously increases your options. We love catch up TV, but even so, there are times when the only feasible way to see a programme is to record it for later.
So, with that in mind, we’ve selected what we think are the three best Freesat HD recorders at the budget, mid-range and premium price points and here they are.
Best freesat recorder box
Technomate TM-5402 HD M3, 1080p Digital Satellite Receiver
In terms of both functionality and price, the Technomate sits roughly in the middle of the Edision boxes and the Humax boxes below.
Like the Edision devices, you need to add your own storage to record programmes and we’re fine with this for the reasons we’ve already mentioned. In fact, in certain situations it might even be a bonus.
First of all, if you’re the type of person who likes to record a lot of programmes and then bing-watch them, you may find it a whole lot easier just to keep switching out storage drives on the Edision than to have to keep on top of your available storage in our other top pick, the Humax.
Secondly, the Technomate is ahead of the pack in one interesting respect, which is that it can record no less than three programmes at once (while playing back another), so parents, for example, could opt to record programmes for their children, then attach the USB drive to a computer and divide up the files so each child has their own curated set of programmes to watch as they wish (within parental guidelines), without necessarily being allowed to use the Freesat recorder themselves.
We have to admit that, in our opinion, the Technomate is never going to win any prizes for chic and stylish good looks, but this isn’t a beauty contest and at the end of the day it’s picture quality and functionality that matters (at least that’s what we think) and the Technomate scores highly on both. It doesn’t have the rich functionality of the Humax – but it doesn’t have the same price tag either.
Best Freesat HD recorder for people who want solid functionality without a huge price tag and/or for people who want the flexibility of recording on different USB storage drives.
- Full HD 1080p & 3D Ready
- Record up to 3 channels and playback a recorded file at the same time
- USB PVR (Timeshift, Rewind, Forward (fast or slow), Record channels, Playback Music and Picture files)
- 1x Smart Card Reader & 1x Common Interface (CI) slot
- Ethernet port (access Weather, Maps...and more)
Humax HDR-1100S 500 GB Freesat with Freetime HD TV Recorder Review
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Humax HDR-1100S 1TB Freesat with Freetime HD TV Recorder Review – Black
When it comes to satellite receivers in general and satellite recorders in particular, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that Humax is the only name in town.
Thankfully for those on a budget, this isn’t true at all, but if you are the kind of person who sees your TV as the core of your home entertainment and you like to spend a lot of time in front of it, enjoying great shows either by yourself or with family and/or friends, then one of these Humax boxes could be the perfect choice for you.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name, these devices are identical apart from the size of the hard drives. If you like to watch a lot of HD programming, we’d definitely suggest paying the extra for the 1TB box, if you can possibly afford it, as HD files are so big they can take over a hard drive very quickly.
In terms of functionality, if you can dream it, Humax can do it, or something like that. You can see programme schedules for a total of 16 days (the 8 previous days, the actual day and the 7 upcoming days), plus you get a “Showcase” of curated content, essentially the shows that Humax thinks you really won’t want to miss.
To ensure that you don’t, these devices can record two programmes at once, while playing back another. Plus there’s a Freesat app, which allows you to control your device even when you don’t have access to your remote control (or can’t find it, or can’t be bothered going to pick it up).
It is, however, worth holding on to your remote if you can, since its intuitive layout makes it very easy to get direct access to useful functions (like the ability to pick up where you left off when you were interrupted).
We can also say that, in our opinion, the Humax also looks good. In all honesty, this doesn’t mean a great deal to us on its own, but it is a nice bonus and it may matter to some people.
In short, the Humax devices are the most expensive of the models we’ve chosen (by quite some way), it’s up to you whether you think the price is worth it.
Best Freesat HD recorder for people who love their TV and want the best possible experience they can get.
Free TV (Lite v2) Full HD Free To Air Satellite Receiver by Edision Review
The Free TV Freesat receivers from Edision are at the bargain end of the decent Freesat receivers, although we’d like to point out that there are Freesat receivers out there which cost more than either of these boxes and, in our opinion, deliver lower performance.
Basically, we’d much rather have an affordable box which a small set of features which are well implemented than an affordable box which tries to pack in everything the more expensive boxes do and does it really badly.back to menu ↑
Free TV Full HD Free To Air Satellite Receiver (Full Version V2), by Edision Review
We’ve listed these models together because they’re virtually identical. Paying a little bit extra for the full version gets you support for channel updates over WiFi (you need to provide your own dongle) and an IR blaster /AV 3.5 output cable.
Speaking for ourselves, we think the price differential is so small, we’d just buy the full version even if we didn’t think we’d need either, but if you’re really counting the pennies the “Lite” version is slightly cheaper.
Neither of these boxes comes with internal storage. If you want to record programmes, you’ll need to supply your own USB storage drive. We’re fine with this given that USB storage is very budget-friendly (in fact we’d suspect quite a few people probably have suitable drives kicking around their home already) and it makes for extra flexibility in use.
Setting up and using these devices is perfectly straightforward. We’re not going to pretend that the menu layouts are the prettiest we’ve ever seen but they do the job, likewise the programme guide only shows the current and following programmes, but there are so many places you can get TV listings, including free online listings, that we just can’t see this as being a major issue.
The key point is that the picture quality is as good as anything you’d expect from a more expensive brand.
Best Freesat HD recorder for people who want a budget-friendly spare box, a box to put into a child’s room on an as-and-when basis so their parents still have control over what they watch and when or for guest rooms.