The picture wasn't a patch on the one coming out of our Scart-connected DVR, and we even found it slightly inferior to a good analogue broadcast. Comparing BBC One in analogue and on digital through the MFR-300, the colours were better in the former, the digibox delivering a slightly paler picture. All three were fed from the same, signal-boosted loft-installed aerial.
UI text comes up a little fuzzy
The MFR-300's output is by no means unwatchable, and on a TV smaller than our 28in CRT you'd probably not notice the slight fuzziness.
Audio Description works well, though there's really too few programmes being broadcast that offer the service.
Incidentally, we should mention that TVonics also offers the MFR-200, which is £20 cheaper and lacks the bundled IR extender and the AD support. It also comes with a slimline remote. Neither version ships with an AV cable, but they both have a socket on the front to connect one. Alas, it's a 2.5mm socket rather than the standard 3.5mm.
Analogue (left) vs MFR-300: paler colours on the Tvonics
Even in its cheaper form, the TVonics box costs £40, which is a lot for a set-top box these days. And until the last analogue station is turned off, you may still need to soup-up your aerial with a signal booster or antenna upgrade to get a decent Freeview signal. Depending on where you live, your old set-top aerial may not cut it.
The MFR-300 offers all you could want from a Freeview set-top box but in a very compact unit that's ready to work with any analogue telly that lacks a Scart socket. It's ease of use, range of features and space-saving qualities are tip-top - only the picture quality lets it down. But if you're looking for a good way to bring digital to an old TV, it's hard to beat.
TVonics MFR-300 micro digital TV set-top box
"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.