Can anyone help a Freeview newbie please?

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by cslogg, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. cslogg

    cslogg
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    As the header says,I am thinking of buying Freeview for a birthday/graduation present for my son who is in Aberdeen.
    I will obviously get a local TV engineer to install the arerial to his flat but what about the box?I am visiting him next month from my base in Hertforshire and was wondering if it would be wise for me to buy a box from off the net and take it with me.I know when I get up there I will only have the local Dixons/Comet etc to choose from so may not be able to get the best one for the job.Do the boxes work anywhere despite where they are purchased?Two models that have been recommended are the Goodmans GDB3 at approx £75 and the Humax F2-Fox T at around £85 from Dabs
    Can anyone see any reason why I should not do it this way or recommend a better box for around the same price?

    Thanks
    Roy
     
  2. Dan666

    Dan666
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    If you're willing to spend a bit more, you could go for the Netgem iPlayer - does all your Freeview stuff, and has built in Internet browsing and email capability, and comes with a wireless keyboard. Far more versatile than other boxes IMO. Last time I looked, these were about £120.

    It doesnt matter which box you buy or where you buy it - as long as the area of Aberdeen in which he lives can actually receive the Freeview digital signal. Type his postcode in on this page to check.
     
  3. Wayne Moule

    Wayne Moule
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    I am writing this from my Netgem iPlayer freeview box keyboard via 600k broadband,it's brilliant and this is some achievement for a Freeview box!

    it's also a very quick box and very capable.

    I hope you can read this ok.

    :clap:
     
  4. NX3

    NX3
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    From whats ive read the Humax F2-Fox is a pretty good box. The Goodmans isn't a bad box either, of the two I'd go for the Humax.
    However I got a Pioneer box from Richersounds for £80 and can highly recommend it. Its very fast at changing channels, the interactive services. Also I find it good at picking up channels where other boxes in my house have had problems so it has sensitive tuner in my experience.

    It doesn't matter which box you get or where you get it, as long as its a decent box that the manufacture no longer supports. E.G Panasonic TUC-20, no more over the air updates for that. Pioneer and Humax will be updating and Goodmans have been updating.

    The sony box is regard as about the best so far, updates, super fast and looks cool :) However its about £100.

    John Lewis have a large selection of box you can play with and see what you think. Its good to compare as some boxes are quite slow at changing channels and interactive stuff.

    PS check out Richersounds website, the goodmans is £59, Pioneer £79. Avoid the Philips box, it won't be updated for the 7 day EPG when it starts.
     
  5. Fernsehman

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    I can't agree with everything here. Some points are valid, some not.

    The choice of box is as important as your choice of car or anything else you use every day. Do you care about the appearance, peformance, features, cost?

    Many of the Freeview boxes (eg. Sony) don't have an RF modulator. So you can't send the signal to a second TV unless you have a VERY long Scart lead. Don't be fooled by the specification "RF Loppthrough". That just passes the aerial signal through. If you want the Freeview channel added to it, you need an RF modulator. Can be bought separately from places like satcure.com but not cheap! Better to buy one with the functions you need.

    Some Freeview boxes have a very sensitive tuner. Some haven't. If you are in a weak signal area you'll need a sensitive tuner. If you are in a strong signal area you'll need an attenuator.

    There are lots of considerations!

    Make sure the aerial is installed with the proper cable.

    The local guy who installs the aerial ought to know which receiver works best. Employ him on personal recommendation. Don't just grab one out of "Yellow Pages" because he offers "discount to pensioners" (a common trick). But if appearance is more important than function, choose it yourself and just pray that it works.

    If cost is a consideration, remember that you usually get what you pay for - it will show in the long-term reliability.

    Another consideration is software upgrades. A Freeview receiver that has been on the shelf for months won't have the latest software and may not work properly. Software upgrades tend to be broadcast once every couple of months for the big names like Nokia and Thomson (=Grundig = Ferguson). Others may be infrequent. And for some boxes you have to be present to tell it to accept the upgrade. With some it's automatic.

    I could ramble on forever!
     
  6. Wayne Moule

    Wayne Moule
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    The iPlayer has a 3 year warranty if connected to a phone line.

    That's got to be worth it on it's own and tells you you're going to get good support,with software updates etc.

    Plus it has it's own Manufactures Forum for support.
     
  7. NX3

    NX3
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    In summary :

    1, Choose a box that meets your specifications
    2, Get a box that will be updated (automatically)
    3, Make sure it has the tv connections you want / need.
    (RGB scart is the best picture output from a DTT box)
    4, Get a box you like, performs will and is responsive to changing channels and interactive services.
    5, Use the postcode checker on the freeview website to see if you can get freeview in the area you want.
    6, Go to a retailer e.g John Lewis and try them out for yourself
    7, A local installer will recommend what he can get or has in stock. I've very much he has access to every box available.
    8, The iPlayer is a good box but its the most expensive and do you want internet access on your tv ? Its not as flexible as a PC for internet access so be warned.

    From the DS forums most people opinions seem to be the Sony, Pioneer are good box, will be supported, are fast with a good feature set. Humax are new but seem quite good reliable box. Philips is a good box will not be updating its box for new features e.g 7 day EPG. Goodmans do update but have had several issue with this in the past. Panasonic boxes are good but they no longer support the TUC-20 and its only about 6 months old. Sagam box it good / cheap but can suffer from electrical interference. Nokia boxes are quite good but lots of people report peobles with crashing, maybe a update will fix this. You pay for you get basically and its a new'ish technology with a few bugs to work out yet. Check out Digital Spy freeview forums for more details on each box by people who actually bought them.

    I have a Pioneer, I have no problem with it at all. I've had a Pace box and various OnDigital boxes (to be avoided) in the past and the Pioneer is the best I've had by miles.
     
  8. Bernard Barnett

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    I fear things are getting over-complicated here. To keep it simple I would offer the following advice:
    1 - Use an aerial rigger who's a member of the CAI (their trade association) - they're always better. If whoever you choose utters the words "dedicated digital aerial" sack him on the spot as there's no such thing.
    2 - I've been through most of the boxes and found the Netgem to be the best all-rounder. It also offers component out for ultimate picture quality.
     
  9. Wilf

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    The post code checker on the freeview site is highly inacurate. It told me and many others"not available in this area". I borrowed a box and it picked up all the channels fine. No need for aerial upgrade either.

    I think they should rethink the post code checker as it must be putting off loads of potential customers. I also think there are a lot of doggy aerial installers doing uneccessary upgrades.
     
  10. andy572

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    Having access to both the previously mentioned Goodmans and a Netgem box, I'd recommend...

    The Goodmans! :eek:

    Netgem updates aren't exactly rolling off the line. I'd waited half a year for one, then December brought a pre-release upgrade - that still doesn't fix the most annoying and I believe, basic issues.

    Contrary to comments and reviews, I don't think the picture quality is anything special either. It is definitely better via RGB and a little oddly, shows more artifacts when connected (as I have to) via s-video. That could just be my TV, of course. In any case, some of that can be put down to the variable quality of the output; but there's one thing worse...

    Depending on which version (i.e. which update) the Netgem is using, on setting the VCR and Netgem timers for recording, you'll get a black and white picture (it switches from s-video to composite!) and/or (mostly and) poor lip-sync.

    The same applies, should you switch-on anything connected to the second SCART socket: lost lip-sync on the Freeview recording.

    Typically, Netgem respond with something along the lines of 'issues will be fixed in the next upgrade'; but how long do 'they' need?!? A quick browse on the Netgem forums will show that such problems aren't isolated incidents and yet...

    Calm, blue ocean. Calm, blue ocean... :laugh:

    In relation to the Goodmans, I can't speak of recording as nothing but the TV has been connected to it. However, I can say that it is a surprisingly solid-feeling box, with apparently good output on my gran's TV and has not had one problem since purchase.

    So, unless the Netgem's functionality appeals, of the two, it has to be the Goodmans. Eek! :rotfl:
     
  11. Bernard Barnett

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    Presumably if the Netgem had been connected in the same way as the Goodmans - just to the TV - you'd have had nothing to complain of. Indeed that's how I run my Netgem. The only thing I'm interested in is picture quality, and it's a close race in my view between the Sony, Pioneer and Netgem, with the Netgem just shading it. My experience with the Goodmans was that it wasn't quite up to the other three and the tuner wasn't as sensitive either.
     
  12. Wayne Moule

    Wayne Moule
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    The Netgem lip sync problem has been fixed in the current version.

    The timer does work,but you have to keep the box switched on all the time at the mo.
     
  13. Daftboy

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    I've got the goodmans one and the pictures, outputs, etc are exactly what you would expect.

    One small problem is that it locks up everyday.

    I pressume this is normal as friends of mine are always complaining that their old on-digital boxes do it.
     
  14. Wayne Moule

    Wayne Moule
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    Well I've had all the boxs on all the 3 platforms and they all lock up to some degree,especially Cable (all the time).

    The iPlayer is very stable though,considering how many features it has and hardly ever crashes.
     
  15. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    I've got an old Philips OnDigital box and it hasn't locked up on me for months!
    ***sits back and just KNOWS that it will have locked up when he gets home in the morning*** :rolleyes:

    Mark.
     

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