Freeview Box Recommendation - does what I want even exist?

xavk

Active Member
Hi All,

I'm more than a little out of touch with TV options having spent years on satellite. I've now moved and have an aerial again, so hoping you can tell me if what I want actually exists or not. I need a Freeview box and i would like it to:

  • Have fast, easy to use software (primary user is my wife so zero complexity allowed!)
  • Include catch up TV and streaming such as Plex, Amazon and Netflix
  • Be able to be installed in a cupboard (ie out of sight) - so Bluetooth remote would be ideal - could possibly live with an IR blaster if the points above are met
  • Full HD required, 4k nice to have but not essential

Recording isnt needed but no harm in having it (as long as there box is close to silent as installing in the bedroom).

Solutions i looked at and have discounted include:

  • BT TV Pro (remote will not control my Finlux TV - dual remote option not acceptable to my wife)
  • Humax Aura (no Netflix)
  • Humax FVP-5000T (poor software reviews, IR remote)

Any suggestions? Or do i need to accept that perfection doesnt yet exist and make a compromise somewhere?

Thanks!
 

mikej

Well-known Member
There aren't actually many manufacturers making Freeview set-top boxes or PVRs these days. It's mainly Humax, Manhattan and Panasonic still left in the game.

Full HD won't be a problem as all their respective products should have DVB-T2 tuners.

I've never heard of any models having Bluetooth remotes, although some may allow some form of control via an app but that's likely to be via Wi-fi rather than Bluetooth I would have thought.

It's a real shame that the Aura doesn't support Netflix, otherwise that would probably be your best bet.

Thinking about it though - if your TV doesn't have a Freeview HD tuner then it must be pretty old so it might make sense to upgrade it to a smart TV - one that supports all the apps that you require. No need to hide anything in a cupboard, plus you can do everything with one remote.

Failing that, I would look at the Manhattan T1 set-top box (or T2-R PVR if you want recording capabilities) and an HDMI streaming device like a Fire TV Stick for streaming. Fire TV Sticks use Bluetooth for their remotes, but I'm not sure how you'd go about controlling the Manhattan in a cupboard. This approach will use two remotes but this is unavoidable if you don't want to upgrade your TV, I think. Some Fire TV Stick remotes allow on/off and volume control on supported TVs.
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
If recording isn't needed almost all TVs have Freeview tuners built in, only very old ones would not be HD (DVB-T2).

No need for a box at all!

Streaming services can be built in to many smart TVs and a hdmi-dongle / tiny box inserted into the TV hdmi socket and 'velcro'-attached to the TV rear typically. Control by a smartphone and/or hdmi cec and the TV remote itself often enough.


Now tell me you don't want to run a TV aerial cable to the TV location :facepalm:
 

xavk

Active Member
Thanks for the quick responses!

You actually kind of nailed with that last comment but let me explain.

There is an aerial to the general area of the TV and I currently have the aerial cable plugged in and visible (dangling down the wall). There is also power, HDMI and SCART buried in the wall which head towards an enclosure (done badly by previous owners - unable to route new cables via same route without reopening the wall which I want to avoid if possible). The HDMI means that if I could find a box which meets the requirements, I could solve both the software useability issues, keep to the 1 remote requirement and remove an ugly cable.

The TV itself is a 5 year old Finlux 49" smart TV which works fine as a screen, but the software is both hard to navigate and is extremely slow (ie my wife says it's too hard to use those features so today she just uses TV - and moans about it). As the display itself still works well, my thinking was to replace the smart components with a box rather than having something built-in (and it's cheaper / easier / more environmentally friendly to upgrade such a box rather than the the TV itself).

A new TV may well be the right answer to ensure a simple UI and single remote as it sounds like what I want doesnt exist (but will leave me with a dangling cable - not ideal but we already have it so not a step backward).

@mikej - I believe that both the BT TV Pro and Humax Aura have bluetooth capable remotes so it is a feature on some newer boxes.
 

Pulse1

Well-known Member
As previously stated your only option is a new tv with all the apps you want or the Humax Aura without Netflix. So if you need Netflix then your only option is a new tv. So to answer your question and needs then you have to get a new tv as there isn't another option i'm afraid at this moment in time.
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
If the only live TV you watch is the PSB channels' streaming and catchup services may suit albeit not all are full HD (BBC iPlayer is 720p HD and on some devices 1080p).

So the Fire Stick or maybe Chromecast TV or similar might suffice. Check out what apps they support. My Chromecast TV is controllable via my TV remote and hdmi CEC.

A little self-adhesive decorative plastic conduit could blend in to get the aerial cable to the right place slightly less obviously?

Humax Aura or similar is an expensive solution unless multiple simultaneous recordings wanted even if it has a bluetooth feature?
 

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