Best free-to-view digibox?

Matt F

Established Member
Jul 18, 2000
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Chester, UK
Thinking of saving myself some money and going free-to-view only.

The best digibox for this seems to be the Nokia Mediamaster - 2 scarts plus digital audio out. £120 at Currys.

Has anyone got any views on this - are there better set top boxes out there or is the Nokia as good as they come?


You don't seem to be getting much response from the DTT users of these forums, can I recommend trying here instead.....DS
Sounds like the old Ondigital box - horrid!

Grundig is buggy and won't do QAM16

Pace DTVA is connection limited.

Do you want a new TV - if so look at Sony or Panasonic IDTVs!
Thanks for the feedback.

I've been advised that the Nokia isn't up to much - very slow etc - so I think I'll give that one a miss.

Funnily enough, this month the Grundig GDT1000 was reviewed by HCC and the GDT1500 was reviewed by Home Ent and they both rated them pretty highly. From memory, HCC said the GDT1000 is the best free-to-view box currently available.

So maybe the GDT1000 is the one to go for - then again, there's always the Panasonic free-to-view box which I would expect to be pretty good.

I don't know - I'll go and have a look at a few.

I've got the Grundig and I bought it after the review in HCC. I got it so the kids could watch cbeebies. I was too impressed with the picture through it on my philips 32pw9617 but yesterday it told me new firmaware was avaialble, 2.4 I think and it has made a huge difference to the picture quality
The Nokia is indeed a resprayed ITVD box and, unless they have improved it, which I doubt, is slow, buggy and prone to freezing.

There are some places that are selling off other makes of ex ITVD boxes at lower prices. A recent Makromail, for example, offers the Pioneer one at £49.95 + VAT. This is technically far superior to the Nokia item, but with pretty much the same functionality.

You get a box that CAN receive all FTA channels including the new ones, and has 2 x Scarts (which makes it ideal for connecting to a VCR as well as the TV). It has an onboard multi-event recording timer which means its a perfect partner for a rec-link equipped VCR (like JVC).

The Pace 735 and Pioneer boxes are, in my experience, far superior to the Nokia item. I gather they aren't as quick (on text, when changing channels etc) as the new crop and there is the possibility that some new interactive features won't be supported.

But, at under £60, they are a bargain way of starting out on DTV, and at worst, a good stopgap until something newer, better and cheaper comes along.
I'm very interested in this thread as well. I will be switching to Freeview (from NTL) when it is re-launched, and regularly look to see which FTV digiboxes are likely to be the best buy.

I can only assume that when Freeview launches, a raft of new digiboxes will be launched along with it. I recently read a review of the Nokia Mediamaster 221T in a major mag, and they said that was the best thing since sliced bread. Shame you can't buy it yet.......

So, it seems to me if I can hang on for another few weeks, we will have a LOT more choice of more modern units.
Having just setup my new plasma this weekend, and despite being surprised by the reasonable TV quality of my analogue video tuner, I couldn't resist the temptation to try FTV, so I went on a tour of the AV shops in Kingston.

First up, John Lewis had the new Panasonic, the Grundig and an old Nokia. I asked about the little Pace unit and the salesmanager said that they had recently deleted it from their catalogue, which seems strange given how new it is. However another place I asked said people kept returning the Pace because of connection difficulties.

Anyway, the JL sales guy went on to say that the new Panasonic wasn't great either (no phone line, no ability to upgrade to pay-TV (i.e. no card slot)). So I gave up as despite seeming to have a good picture, I didn't want to pay £100 for the Grundig.

Then in Dixons they had reconditioned Nokia Ondigital (Mediamaster) boxes at £79.95 so I bought one on the promise I can get a refund if not happy. Connectivity is good (2 SCARTs, 2 Phono Audio, Digital Audio, RF/RF loopthrough) but the Nokia is PAINFULLY SLOW when usng any of the BBCi or Teletext services and even changing channels is annoying.

I've pretty much decided to take it back and get the new 221T when it arrives... or perhaps $ky....
You might like to take a look round for one of the old Pioneer boxes, I picked one up for £50 from Dixons and find it to be great.
What channels are free to view BTW
Currently there is the usual 5 then:
BBC News 24
BBC Choice (BBC3 as of next yr)
BBC Parliament - audio only
TV Travel shop
ITN for a few hours in the morning.

There will soon be all that plus CNN, Sky news, sky sports news, sky travel, a music channel (Currently thought to be The Box), UK history, TCM, boomerang, an entertainment channel (Disney?) and some interactive stuff and radio.
Originally posted by MonkeyDonkey

a music channel (Currently thought to be The Box), UK history, TCM, boomerang, an entertainment channel (Disney?) and some interactive stuff and radio.

If only we did have The Box and Disney and TCM :rolleyes:

ah..they do say things never turn out the way you plan them.

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