Manhattan Plaza DS-100
If you absolutely, positively can’t stretch your budget, you’ll probably be considering a standard definition Freesat receiver like this model from Manhattan. It sells for around £50. It’s aimed primarily at switch-over victims who, for whatever reason, can’t use Freeview. The box itself is anonymous; it has a non-descript fascia and a threadbare rear panel that offers a single LNB and two Scarts. The onscreen GUI is generic Freesat. Image quality from Scart is unremarkable, although for the kind of non mission critical viewing this box will provide, it seems churlish to carp.
Reg Rating 50%
More info Manhattan
The DMR-BS780 is a hybrid Blu-ray recorder with two Freesat tuners. Panasonic produce similar combo DVRs for Freeview, but are alone in offering BD recordability for satellite. Those looking for a do-it-all device will find it fills an intriguing niche. While the unit is technically impressive, the HDD is small at 250GB. Still, the ability to edit and archive recordings makes this model a little special. It even offers limited network media streaming (MPEGs and AVCHD). On the downside, this is a horrendously complicated beast to master – and don’t expect your home brew Blu-rays media to play on any old BD deck.
Reg Rating 75%
More info Panasonic
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FoxSat can have ADDED functionality!
Re the FOXSAT DVR.
One advantage you neglected to mention is the firmware is Linux and has been used to implement a vast range of extremely useful addons:-
""A fully functioning web interface for the Foxsat HDR.
A package management system with web based repository for the downloading and updating of applications.
This can be accessed both from the web interface and from the command line.
A service management system to display status of custom applications, start or stop them, and disable/enable boot-time autostart.
Again, this is accessible from the web interface and the command line. ""
Applications allow use of various streaming media servers to allow playing recordings on other media devices, uploading recordings from the Foxsat to your PC, downloading media files to play on your Foxsat, editing and setting recording times from anywhere in the world on a PC and more!!
These added abilities makes the Foxsat stand out head and shoulders above all other FreeSat devices!
not just for cash strapped.
Some of us don't want to subscribe to the Murdock Monopoly. We have freeSat in thePanasonic TV and a Humax HD recorder. Very pleased with both and also not giving £££'s to the evil empire.
Humax Foxsat HDR remote response / Deleting lots
As well as making sure you have removed both films from the front panel (there is a second one behind the flap) look to see if you have one of the models which has the coating all the way across with no clear hole left where the sensor is. If so you can scrape the coating off in front of the sensor to significantly improve the remote response.
To delete lots and lots and leave it to chug away move all recordings to be deleted to one folder (or to the top level) then Select All in that folder then Delete. Time for lunch.
I have a Foxsat HDR
It's a good device and stable but it does have some annoyances. The remote control is fine but the IR beam or the receive on the box is incredibly weedy. Unless you are standing directly in front of the device it will often ignore you completely.
The device also allows series link but it is a very bare bones feature. You can record shows but you cannot say (for example) that members of that series should be deleted after being watched or some period of time. It means if you record something long running like Coronation Street that show after show after show will build up and the box has no auto setting to clean them out. Which brings me to...
Deleting stuff on the box is a huge pain in the arse. Everything is nested hiearchically so if you have 4 or 5 series links then you have to manually navigate into each folder and tediously check off each item and then wait 5 minutes for the box to delete them all before moving onto the next folder. The box blocks while it is deleting so you can't queue up a bunch of stuff to delete until the last delete action is complete. This stuff should be a queue.
So the box would be improved immeasurably with some fairly modest but useful changes to the delete behaviour.
That aside it's a pretty good box. HD output great, the software is reliable and it has a usable UI though no Freesat box is a patch on Sky for usability.
Couple of bedroom TV boxes along with a few proper boxes.
TBH with Freesat I cannot see a reason in buying a non HD box, nor one missing the vital HDD.
Happy Humax HDR owner