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Sagem DS186HD

Sagem DSI86HD

Freesat HD for the casual observer

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Definitely available for use are the two Scart connectors and outputs for both analog and digital audio. The HDMI interface comes with a cable in the box and, of course, there’s a coaxial connector for the satellite dish that you need in order to pick up the Freesat signal from the great blue yonder.

Sagem DSI86HD

The unconfigured Ethernet port also suggests potential for use on-line

We used the satellite cable from our existing Sky+ box for this, but you can order a satellite kit from Argos along with the DSI86HD if you need to. The DSI86HD itself costs £130, and you can get the satellite dish installed for an additional £80, or buy the satellite kit and install it yourself for £50.

The DSI86HD is just a receiver, though, with no internal hard disk that will allow you to record programmes to watch at a later date. However, Sagem is planning to release a hard-disk Freesat+ models closer to Christmas. The DTR94250S HD will cost £250 with a 250GB hard disk, or £300 for the 500GB DTR94500S HD, so it might be worth waiting if you fancy the full range of DVR features.

The DSI86HD gets full marks for its straightforward installation. Sagem’s manual provides very simple instructions for setting up the receiver, and we were watching BBC HD less than five minutes after breaking the seal on the cardboard box. Other aspects of the device are equally straightforward.

The remote control is an unremarkable affair and, as expected, follows certain Freesat layout conventions. Press the Menu button and it displays a simple series of large, clearly labelled icons on the left-hand side of the screen, which provide access to the unit’s main settings.

Sagem DSI86HD

The upscaling option succeeds in making a noticeable improvement on SD content

The most interesting option here is the ability to ‘upscale’ standard-definition programmes to what Sagem claims is 1080i quality. That’s a little optimistic, as it only takes a quick look at the BBC HD channel to see that true 1080i content is clearly superior.

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