Question Freeview Newbie

simonjanda

Member
Hi all

Ive just ditched Virgin and had a freeview aerial fitted. All my TVs fortunately have freeview built in.
BUT i miss the ability to record etc. Now ive looked around at recorders are theres quite a few.
Ive also seen DVD recorders.. so this got me thinking.. i want a freeview recorder with built in HDD and DVD but with the ability to burn from HDD to the DVD or even a Bluray recorder.
Can anyone recommend something like this?
Appreciate any assistance. Thanks
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Your options are actually very limited if you want to do all that with one box, unfortunately. There are only a handful of manufacturers left still making Blu-ray players - essentially LG, Sony and Panasonic - and of those, I think only Panasonic still make models that record to disk.

Their Blu-ray/HDD Freeview recorder has been around for nearly 5 years now. It was well-reviewed at the time but it's still expensive, even 5 years on. The last firmware update was Feb 2019 and it's doubtful it'll get many more updates (if any), so it might be missing certain apps or features you'd get on a newer PVR. I can't say I'd recommend spending so much on such an old machine, but it does look like it'll do everything you want though.

If you decided you didn't need the Blu-ray recording capabilities, then there's a cheaper option that records to DVD, but a 500GB HDD is pretty small in the age of Freeview HD. Depends on how many recordings you like to store up, I guess.

DVD Freeview recorders used to be all the rage a long time ago, but many people moved on to the convenience of PVRs which did away with the hassle and expense of continually burning disks. In turn, the rise of the streaming services has lead to a reduced demand for PVRs, although many people - including myself - still use them and they are still currently made by manufacturers like Panasonic, Humax and Manhattan. If you decided you wanted to record Freeview and keep your disk player separate, then the latest Humax Aura 4K PVR might be a good option to look into as it's a very recent model and one of the best-specced PVRs around.

I guess you just have to ask yourself - how often, in the age of catch-up TV services, you think you'd want to burn anything you record from Freeview onto a disk ? If it is something you think you'll make use of and you wanted a one-box solution, then I think your choice may just be limited to the two Panasonic models I mentioned above.
 

simonjanda

Member
Many thanks for your in-depth reply.. yes i was wondering why the selection of bluray player manufacturers seemed very thin.. i havent needed to look for quite a few years and the scene has changed radically.
Heres a thought then.. i notice a lot of the freeview recorders.. with built in HDD only.. can have and watch content from external HDD plugged in via USB. Can they record to a external HDD? Because im thinking if they can... could i then connect that HDD to my computer to burn any programs to disc if i wanted to ?
 

A1944

Active Member
I believe that some can export the programmes to HDD and other destinations, but only if they are in SD format. HD programmes are encrypted in a way that can only be viewed on the original recorder. Certainly true of some Humax recorders, but maybe not other manufacturers.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
... Certainly true of some Humax recorders, but maybe not other manufacturers.
I think it is universally the case as a result of technology licensing limitations.
 

simonjanda

Member
Well ive looked at that Panasonic DMR-BWT850.. wow thats all singing all dancing. Perfect but jeez its dear. Not as dear as my Denon 2900 DVD when i bought it at the time ?
That Humax Aura is a beast too tbf. A
Sound better than the v6 box i just returned to virgin.
So ive decided, (as im new to freeview, which is built into my telly and the guide doesnt work properly, grrr) I can get a lesser Humax (HDR-FOX T2)for a lot less, play with that and see how i go, then get a Aura at a latter date. Maybe they will have come down in price by then.
But hey, really appreciate the advice - thankyou.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
So ive decided, (as im new to freeview, which is built into my telly and the guide doesnt work properly, grrr) I can get a lesser Humax (HDR-FOX T2)for a lot less, play with that and see how i go, then get a Aura at a latter date. Maybe they will have come down in price by then.
But hey, really appreciate the advice - thankyou.

The Aura is actually cheaper than the HDR-FOX T2 which I bought back in 2012 so I don't think the price of the Aura is too bad, considering the features on offer. If you're seeing T2s available now, then they'll presumably be second-hand.

The HDR-FOX T2 has actually been a really reliable PVR for me. It would appear, from certain threads on here, that some of the more modern Humax machines have had a lot of issues. I did have to replace the failing hard drive in it earlier this year, but that's not too unexpected considering the amount of use it's had over the last 8 years. I took the opportunity to replace the original 1TB Seagate Pipeline drive with a larger 2TB version. They are getting harder and harder to come by, although I'm sure other options are available - I just decided to play it safe as I didn't want to be messing about. It was £72 from eBuyer and has since gone out of stock. The Aura wasn't available at the time, otherwise I might have bought one of those instead.

If you're interested in 'smart' features, then do bear in mind that the HDR FOX T2 isn't really a smart device by today's standards. 2011/2012 was fairly early as far as smart devices were concerned though so again, this isn't too unexpected. It did have an app store, but app choice was extremely limited at the time. From memory, I think iPlayer and YouTube were the main options - they're unlikely to have been updated and so may no longer work properly. It's also ethernet only - no wi-fi. If you were after the latest smart features, then picking up a half-price Firestick this Black Friday weekend would be a good move.

As good as the HDR-FOX T2 was and still is, I'm not sure I would risk a second-hand one if I was looking now, personally. I would go straight for an Aura, unless you can get a T2 for a really cheap price ?
 

TommyDog

Active Member
You could build/ buy a fairly cheap media pc with a freeview tv card in it. That way you can record to h/d and transfer anything you want to keep to dvd. You could even do it via a laptop with a decent win tv dongle.
 

simonjanda

Member
The Aura is actually cheaper than the HDR-FOX T2 which I bought back in 2012 so I don't think the price of the Aura is too bad, considering the features on offer. If you're seeing T2s available now, then they'll presumably be second-hand.

The HDR-FOX T2 has actually been a really reliable PVR for me. It would appear, from certain threads on here, that some of the more modern Humax machines have had a lot of issues. I did have to replace the failing hard drive in it earlier this year, but that's not too unexpected considering the amount of use it's had over the last 8 years. I took the opportunity to replace the original 1TB Seagate Pipeline drive with a larger 2TB version. They are getting harder and harder to come by, although I'm sure other options are available - I just decided to play it safe as I didn't want to be messing about. It was £72 from eBuyer and has since gone out of stock. The Aura wasn't available at the time, otherwise I might have bought one of those instead.

If you're interested in 'smart' features, then do bear in mind that the HDR FOX T2 isn't really a smart device by today's standards. 2011/2012 was fairly early as far as smart devices were concerned though so again, this isn't too unexpected. It did have an app store, but app choice was extremely limited at the time. From memory, I think iPlayer and YouTube were the main options - they're unlikely to have been updated and so may no longer work properly. It's also ethernet only - no wi-fi. If you were after the latest smart features, then picking up a half-price Firestick this Black Friday weekend would be a good move.

As good as the HDR-FOX T2 was and still is, I'm not sure I would risk a second-hand one if I was looking now, personally. I would go straight for an Aura, unless you can get a T2 for a really cheap price ?
Cost me £25. So worth it to play with for now.
 

simonjanda

Member
You could build/ buy a fairly cheap media pc with a freeview tv card in it. That way you can record to h/d and transfer anything you want to keep to dvd. You could even do it via a laptop with a decent win tv dongle.
Interesting. I got a pc up the loft which hasnt seen the light of day since my divorce.. has windows 7 on it. And 3 decent sata drives. So your suggestion of recording to pc sounds good.
 

The latest video from AVForums

LG G1 OLED EVO Review (OLED65G1)
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom