Feeds

Buyer's Guide: Freeview HD Set-top Boxes

Think before you buy

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Group Test You might think that getting Freeview HD is just a matter of buying an HD box that you like the look of and connecting it to your TV with an HDMI cable, but there are other considerations besides the cosmetic. Important though they are, the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), user interface and remote control aren’t necessarily at the top of everyone’s list.

DVB-T2 logo

First, remember that Freeview HD is transmitted using the DVB-T2 system, which is incompatible with standard-definition Freeview's DVB-T. It also uses the MPEG 4 video codec rather than the older MPEG 2. The upshot is that you existing Freeview TV or set-top box won't be able to pick up Freeview HD, and no amount of firmware updates will change that.

So, if you want to view Freeview HD, you need a new receiver.

So, what else do you need to bear in mind when choosing a Freeview HD box? Recording is an obvious issue, and though none of the units in this Group Test can record – we’ll be looking at Freeview HD DVRs shortly – some manufacturers have talked about firmware updates that will allow programmes to be recorded on a connected USB hard drive or Flash key. Sure it won’t as slick as a twin-tuner recorder, but it may be a useful extra, or suitable for those who don’t record much TV.

Playback is an area where the products differ too. Some can play a range of media files on USB storage - or even over your home network, using DLNA. And rather than wait for BBC iPlayer to appear as part of BBCi on Freeview, some boxes have access to it built in already – though none, so far, offers unfettered access to the internet.

iPlayer

Some set-tops sport BBC iPlayer

That said, format support is generally not going to be as good when it’s an added extra on a Freeview HD box as it is in a dedicated media player.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.