TVonics MFR-300 micro digital TV set-top box
Bringing digital to Scart-free tellies
Review Thousands of Brits are going to find their analogue TVs incapable of picking up a signal come 2012. Clearly, that doesn't concern too many of us, since we're still buying plenty of analogue tellies.
This situation may have got Parliament in a panic but plenty of punters know all they need to go digital is to pick up a set-top box. Or how about a 'set-back' box - a compact unit that does the same job but is intended to fit onto the back of your set?
Tvonics' MFR-300: not so much set-top and set-back
Enter TVonics with its MFR-300, a shiny black gadget that's about the size of a pack of cigarettes and intended to bring digital TV to all those small, Scart-free tellies out there.
It also has a neat, niche feature: Audio Description - broadcast speech that provides folk who can't see so well with a guide to the on-screen action.
The MFR-300 comes with its own remote control, an external infrared pick-up and the inevitable AC adaptor - in this case, it's discreet, barely bigger than a standard three-pin plug.
Power and the signal from the IR receiver are fed into connectors on the back the MFR-300. So too is the aerial feed. There's an output port next to it, allowing the TVonics device to sit between antenna and telly. There's no Scart connector, but that's the whole point of this box: to bring digital TV to sets that were never intended to be connected to other devices except through the aerial socket.
"the original analogue channel groups will be used for digital"
That may well be, and will certainly be appreciated by many. However, it will be a gamble, buying digital gear on mere trust that it will receive. No wonder they are phasing the switch-over, so that the people the state generally doesn't care about as much get screwed over first.
Re: The price is wrong
"80% of old TV aerials"
Actually, in many regions, the original analogue channel groups will be used for digital after the switchoff. This coupled with a power boost means that no aerial upgrade will be necessary. In fact, many who've bought high gain aerials will probably see their picture disappear when the transmitter power goes up. Whilst the tech savy will realise they just need to fit an attenuator, I'm sure there will be a lot of aerial installers who suck air between their teeth and say, "you need a new aerial mate, give me 200 quid".
The price is wrong
Nice idea, but is it really worth £40 to keep a telly going, that's so old it doesn't have a SCART socket? My mum's telly is early 1990s, but does have SCART. I expect most folks will go out and buy a new Freeview-tuner TV, once they're widely available and analog TV in their area is about to be turned off. At £15 they'd sell a lot better.
BTW the hidden cost of digital TV that they are keeping quiet about, is that something like 80% of old TV aerials won't hack it. This will surprise and upset a lot of grannies.
re"Stop saying overpriced! "
(This is just a blatant AOL "Me Too!!") It cost me £60 to get a box from Maplin to convert the signal and a cheap Freeview box with separate audio out (I like running the telly output in to the HiFi).
Instead of the four and bit channels I was used to in a rural area the cheap Freeview box grabbed the lot and with a great picture.
Saved buying another telly with a decent picture - much better than a cheap 'digital' ie Freeview-equipped telly.
SCART is a standard, not a legal requirement. There was nothing to stop you selling a SCART-less telly apart from the inconvenient fact that you weren't likely to sell any as anything the purchaser wanted to plug into it would most likely have a SCART lead on it.
Past tense there as I'm sure that SCART-less boxes will show up soon as HDMI takes over.
Sorry, but this one's touched a nerve. I spend waaay too much time trying to seperate the real legal requirements (i.e. it's required to do this by law) from the fake ones (i.e. we want it to do this but we can't justify it.)
Incidently, removing the RF modulator from DVDs and such is less to do with saving money and more about getting pissed off with explaining to Joe Public why their DVD doesn't look any better than their VCR did and that all their hard work in wading through the RF tuning instructions was a waste of time.