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Freesat HD for the casual observer

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Review “Just because you have an HD Ready TV, it does not mean you are watching HD TV.” Well whaddya know? Still, that’s the advice that Sagem gives in the manual for its new DSI86HD Freesat HD receiver.

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Sagem's DSI86HD: the antidote to satellite subscription services

Sure it sounds obvious to technophile Register readers, yet there are many people who own HD TV sets who don’t realise that they’re still just watching standard-definition programmes, and that they need to receive an HD signal in order for their TV to show all in its high-definition glory.

Indeed, Sagem hopes to appeal to the HD-unready masses with the DSI86HD. The home cinema enthusiasts have got their Sky HD subscriptions and Blu-ray players sorted out already, so the DSI86HD is aimed at more casual viewers who’d not want an expensive subscription.

Sagem is after those who’ll be happy with the BBC HD channel on Freesat plus the occasional episode of The Bill on the half-hearted ITV HD. And we have to say that the company has done a pretty good job at making the device easy for novices to configure and use.

The DSI86HD is a compact, black plastic box measuring just 12in wide, 7in deep and less than 2in high, so you’ll have no trouble finding room for it beside your TV. The plastic casing isn’t terribly rugged though, and it’s light enough for a toddler to easily pull it off a shelf, so plan ahead if that’s likely to be an issue.

Sagem DSI86HD

Unplugged? The front panel USB port is currently a curiosity, rather than functional

There’s a simple LCD display on the front of the unit, and a USB port that is labelled for unspecified ‘future use’. Tucked around the back of the unit you’ll find another port for reserved for future use, this time Ethernet.

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