Echostar HDS-600RS Freesat HD recorder
DVR with Sling slung in
For many people, the Sling functionality will be the main reason to buy this box. It’s straightforward to set up, and didn’t require any awkward firewall config, even when hidden behind a second NAT device on my home LAN, and connecting from an office Mac that itself is NATed to hell and back.
Manual tuning options
However, if you want to watch on an Android or iOS device, rather than a PC or Mac, you’ll have to pay extra – the app is £18.48 on the Android Market or £17.99 in iTunes. Given the price of the box, a free copy of the player would have been welcome. Also worth noting is that the receiver doesn’t work with the Symbian version of the SlingPlayer app, and the iPlayer doesn’t seem to be available remotely.
Picture quality was variable – my home broadband uploads at 600kbits/sec, which is respectable enough – as the images show, with the quality set to ‘Auto’ you’d have a hard job reading the on-screen displays. When used with a higher quality setting, the sound started to suffer. So while it offers the ability to watch any channel you can receive live, or your recordings, if you want to catch up with EastEnders from elsewhere in the UK, you’ll get a better experience using the iPlayer.
Remote viewing comes at a price, especially for mobile device users
Overall, Echostar’s HDS-600RS does the job as well as any other Freesat recorder. For most users, the big question is whether or not it’s worth paying the £50 quid or so extra – £70 if you include the smartphone app – to be able to watch TV wherever you are. ®
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