Grundig 500GB Freesat+ HD DVR
Review It’s almost a year since we reviewed the Foxsat-HDR from Humax, which was one of the first Freesat+ recorders to appear in the UK. Since then, there’s been more of a steady trickle, rather than a flood of Freesat gear coming on stream. To drum up a bit more interest in the satellite service, Freesat itself had a bit of a publicity push for its adoption of the BBC iPlayer and HD broadcasts for recent sporting events such as the Winter Olympics. Getting in on the act is Grundig’s with its Freesat+ HD DVR, the inelegantly named GUFSDTR500HD.
Grundig's GUFSDTR500HD: the Freesat competition hots up at last
Equipped with a 500GB hard disk – that can store about 300 hours of SD programmes or 125 hours of HD – a 320GB model is also available for about £20 cheaper, so not much of a saving really. Incidentally, this Grundig recorder is virtually identical to the Goodmans 500GB Freesat+ HD DTR launched at the same time for the same price. Grundig and Goodmans are both owned by the same parent company, so they’ve effectively launched own-brand versions of the same product.
The Grundig GUFSDTR500HD is compact and solidly built, about the size of a small pizza box. It’s equipped with twin tuners, allowing you to record two programmes simultaneously. We were initially surprised to see a third satellite connector sticking out the back, although closer inspection revealed a little label next to this saying that it doesn’t actually do anything. Curious.
There’s an HDMI connector plus cable, two Scarts for older TVs and both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs for hooking the unit up to a surroundsound speaker system. The Ethernet port is labelled ‘for future use’. What wonders await remains to be seen.
Alas, the 5483 iPlayer beta access code didn’t work on this Grundig box – it’s still Humax boxes only at the moment. One minor oversight is the lack of a USB port that would allow you to play music, photos or video files stored on a hard disk or memory stick. The Humax Foxsat has two USB ports for this purpose.
Ports aplenty, some with mystery uses
The front panel is very plain – there’s no LCD display, just a couple of lights that glow to indicate the power and recording activity. Unusually, though, the front panel does have a little navigation control pad alongside the standard playback buttons – handy if you’ve misplaced the remote control and need to quickly change channels to set up a recording.
Why don't they include web servers on these expensive PVR so we can connect via the internet and record programs.
I would ditch my SKY+ box if there were other boxes that allowed remote recording.
I've got a Humax box and recently replaced the internal HD with a 2TB disk. I've got mine connected to ethernet for iPlayer which makes a the box very useful.
One feature I'd like to see for internet connected Freesat boxes is the ability to remote record (as offered on Sky+).
If this box offered iPlayer and remote record then I'd definitely switch to it.
Why no larger hard disk option?
It seems to me that all these HDD recording devices are being used as a dumping ground for hard disks that nobody wants anymore. It should be possible to fit a 1.5 Terabyte drive instead of the 500 Gig for only 30 pounds or so extra, so why not? It was noticeable that back when 320 and 500 Gig were desirable sizes that HDD recorders came with 80 or 120.
The storage needn't be cutting edge. Solid state is unnecessary here as even the standard SATA speeds are more than enough. The 2 Terabyte drives still command a slight premium, but 1 or 1.5 theoretically give the best storage to cost ratio, so there must be a hidden reason for manufacturers not to be using them. The answer has to be that they are getting an even better deal from the drive manufacturers for relieving them of an overstock of drives where only one platter of three passed testing, hence a 1.5Tb drive can only be used as a 0.5.
Latest technology? More like yesterday's technology rescued from landfill.