Best Satellite Receiver – (FULL UK REVIEW)
Best Satellite Receiver
Back in the bad old days of analogue TV, there were quite a few arguments in favour of signing up to a satellite TV contract even if it was usually a long-term commitment and even if it did often mean paying for a whole load of content you didn’t want because it was the only way to access the content you actually did want.
To begin with there weren’t all that many terrestrial channels to choose from (a grand total of five) and then there was the harsh reality that analogue TV signals had a lot of quality issues even at the best of times and in some locations reception was so poor it was barely worth trying, whereas satellite covered the whole of the UK and delivered excellent quality pictures.
Added to this, there is the fact that there are now numerous streaming video services, with contract and pay-as-you-go options and entertainment suddenly got a whole lot cheaper for a whole lot of people.
The bad news is that you do need a satellite dish to get Freesat (which is the main difference from Freeview), the good news is that your old Sky dish will do just fine and if you don’t have one, it’s pretty affordable to get a satellite dish fitted.
Similarly your old Sky box will pick up Freesat even when you no longer have a Sky subscription, but, of course, they don’t last forever and you can’t expect Sky to replace it for you when you’re no longer a customer of theirs.
Alternatively, if you’ve never had a Sky box to begin with, you’ll need to get a satellite receiver. In either case, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of satellite receivers on the market and that some of them are available at very affordable prices.
Free TV Full HD Free To Air Satellite Receiver(Full Version V2), by Edision
Even though the name says full version, this is purely a satellite receiver, it doesn’t do media streaming or connect to the internet, but then it doesn’t charge you for those features either, which will presumably please the many people who just want a plain vanilla satellite receiver and see no reason to pay for bells and whistles they neither need nor want.
To give you an idea of what we mean by basic, the first point to note is that the electronic programme guide only shows what’s on and the next programme, it’s not a full 7-day listing.
We’re fine with this since TV listings are readily available in all kinds of places, including on our phones. You will need to add your own WiFi dongle to access some features such as (automatically) downloading channel list updates, but we don’t see this as a big issue since WiFi dongles are one of the cheapest purchases you can make.
As a final point, and it’s a very minor one, while the menus are perfectly understandable, visually they are a bit clunky, if you’re old enough to remember Teletext, you’ll get the idea, but this doesn’t bother us either since we doubt many people are going to spend any significant length of time looking at them.
You buy a satellite receiver to watch TV not gaze at menus.
This device does pause and record shows although it doesn’t have any internal storage so you will need to add your own USB drive, again, we don’t see this as a huge issue, especially not since so many people are probably going to have at least one spare USB drive already.
Once you have recorded your programme, you can view it on another device, such as a laptop if you wish, you just need standard software to read the file and there are some perfectly good options available for free.
If you can live with all of this, then the great news is that you get outstanding picture quality at an exceptionally reasonable price.
- Full HD DVB-S2 Satellite Receiver, suitable for all free-to-receive programme
- Suitable for Unicable (SCR EN50494)
- Pre-sorted Sender list of Astra 19.2, multi-language OSD menu
- Media Player (AVI, MPEG1/2/4, MP4, MKV, TS, MP4, ASP, H.264 - MP3, JPEG, BMP, Supports FAT32 and NTFS file formats
- Individuelle favourites lists Erstellbar, device booted in about 15 seconds
Free TV (Lite v2) Full HD Free To Air Satellite Receiver by Edision
This option is basically exactly the same as the option above, except you don’t get access to automatic channel updates over WiFi, nor does it come with an an IR blaster /AV 3.5 output cable.
Channel updates will be provided as required by technical support. The good news is that it does still have the capability to pause and record content via a USB drive. The even better news is that the picture quality is just as good as it is with the full version.
- Programmed box channels include: BBC 1 HD, BBC 2 HD, BBC4 HD, CBBC HD, Cbeebies HD, UTV, ITV 2,3,4, ITV HD, CITV
- Channel 4 HD, E4, More 4,...
- Full HD Satellite Receiver - Model: Lite V2
- Outputs HDMI for connecting for TV
- PVR Via USB, Video/Music Player Via USB. Receive UK Freesat Stations, Polish, German, Italian, Spanish channels depending on what satellite the box is...
- Channel List Updates will be readily available from the TV Tech Support Department
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Humax HDR-1100S 500 GB Freesat with Freetime HD TV Recorder
Humax is one of the biggest names in satellite receivers and they’ve built that name on the back of seriously powerful devices, which come at higher end price tags but still offer great value for money.
Name a feature you could feasibly want for an amazing viewing experience and it’s odds on this device has it. For example, the viewing guide not only shows the programmes for the 8 previous days and the 7 days ahead (in addition to the actual day), it also makes catch-up programmes available at your fingertips.
You also get “Showcase” recommendations, basically curated content which is specifically drawn to your attention as well as on-demand apps.
Speaking of apps, there’s a Freesat app, which allows you to control your Freesat from your smartphone or tablet, which is obviously to be used when you’re out and about and not, for example, when you can’t be bothered reaching for the remote.
The remote has a range of smart controls so, for example, you can return to where you left off before you were interrupted.
This device comes with a pretty massive 500 GB hard disk drive so not only do you have plenty of space to record programmes but you can record two programmes at once – while watching a previous recording.
Overall, therefore, we think this is one of the most impressive satellite receivers around.
- Freetime seamless on screen TV Guide browse backwards and forwards in time
- Twin tuners Record up to two programmes whilst watching another
- Large 500gb Hard Drive Record up to 300 hours of SD TV. Recording Time HD - 125 Hours
- Subscription Free Satellite TV with over 200+ channels. Satellite dish required
- Built In Wi-Fi for easy connection to your home network;SIZE:28 x 4.8 x 20 cms. Separate internal fuse & lightning protection
Manhattan SX Freesat HD Zapper
Over recent years, Manhattan have been doing their level best to steal market share from Humax, which, of course, is great news for consumers.
This option doesn’t come with all the features of the Humax HDR-1100S, but it doesn’t come with anything like the same price tag either and it does offer excellent value for what you get.
In short, you get a very small box, which will fade discreetly into the background in pretty much any room and which is a breeze to set up and use. As its name suggests, it was created with HDTV in mind and only has an HDMI socket, however, it’s easy enough to connect it to older TVs by means of adaptors.
The downside to this device is that the USB socket is only to apply software updates, you can’t actually record to it, which is a bit of a shame, having said that, with catch up TV, recording is much less of an issue than it used to be and if it’s not important to you then this is an excellent device at an excellent price.
- Enjoy an unrivalled line-up of free TV from Freesat with almost 200 channels including 13 in HD.
- Discover what's on in the beautiful 8-day TV Guide without missing a thing on the mini TV. Browse genres including Drama, Entertainment, Movies,...
- Set reminders for your favourite shows in one tap and create your own list of favourite channels to jump straight to them.
- View detailed programme info and find out when repeats and more episodes are on.
- Connect to HDTVs with the included 1.2m HDMI cable for picture-perfect HD and Dolby Digital surround sound. Connect to older TVs via SCART or RCAs...
Technomate TM-5402 HD M3, 1080p Digital Satellite Receiver
Technomate has strategically positioned itself slap bang in the middle of the satellite receiver market, so you get more features than with the Edision or Manhattan devices, but fewer than with the Humax and, of course, the price reflects this.
We suspect that the Technomate may hit the sweet spot a fair percentage of buyers. This device supports not only HD but also 3D and can connect to the internet. It doesn’t have all the value-add features the Humax does, but then these features are only value add if they are useful to you.
This is one reason for the lower price. The other main reason for the lower price is the absence of a hard drive, you have to use your own, but as we’ve already mentioned, we don’t see that as a problem.
The device does have the capability to records up to three channels while playing back a recorded programme and we’re very happy with that. Picture quality is also excellent.
We have to say the Hucom does score on looks, in our opinion, but the Technomate is far from ugly and it’s also nicely easy to use.
- Full HD 1080p & 3D Ready. Input Voltage : AC 90V - 250V. USB compatible with WiFi and 3G Adapters
- 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. Compatible with RTL8188EU chipset
- Ethernet port (access YouTube, Weather, Maps...and more)