Recommendations for a quiet freeview box.

columboid

Standard Member
Hi,

I’m moving away from sky after 20 years and I’m after a Freeview play box.
I’m also after some advice... I’m picky about how loud a box is in terms of spinning disks, fans etc.

I’ve done my research but obviously, someone’s “whisper quiet” is someone else’s boiling kettle.
Can anyone recommend a freeview play pvr box that is quiet? I’ve got a standard sky+ hd box. Probably about 5 or 6 years old. I can barely hear it from behind its glass door in a TV stand. I know it’s subjective but any Advice to guide my research would be greatly appreciated.

thanks.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
As I'm sure you've probably found, your choice is pretty limited really, with the Humax Aura and Manhattan T3-R being the better options.

I can't imagine either would be noisy, but you could ask in the owner's threads - you might even find someone who's tried both.

FWIW, I have a 9 year-old Humax PVR (a HDR Fox T2) on a shelf under my TV and I can barely ever hear it from the sofa, aside from an occasional, gentle whir of the harddrive spinning up when a recording starts.
 

columboid

Standard Member
Thanks, I’ve been looking at those two and the youview bt box that’s fanless.
I’ll pull the trigger on one of those two i expect unless sky offer some last minute deal.
 

zAndy1

Distinguished Member
I've got the T3-R 1tb, can't hear it at all and it's a very nice PVR . Chose it over the Humax aura as there just seemed to be too many issues with that really. Can recommend it
 

columboid

Standard Member
Thanks for your replies. The T3R looks good. I’ve read you can swap out the HDD for an SSD for silent operation, but by the sounds of it that won’t be necessary.
I was hoping for premium top up app options like Now and Netflix, but I’ll get a Now HDMI stick to do all that.
Thanks
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Thanks, I’ve been looking at those two and the youview bt box that’s fanless.

I may be wrong but I don't think there are any manufacturers still making YouView recorders, in which case any stock you see online will either be second-hand or dwindling supplies of old stock, often sold by dubious-sounding companies via Amazon.

The exception would be the likes of BT and Talk Talk who use YouView for their subscription-based TV services, so picking up one of their boxes (which I believe work without a contract) should at least ensure you get software/firmware updates for a while.

Freeview Play seems to be the platform of choice for most TV and PVR manufacturers these days, although Sony still use YouView for their TVs.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Thanks for your replies. The T3R looks good. I’ve read you can swap out the HDD for an SSD for silent operation, but by the sounds of it that won’t be necessary.

PVRs tend to use the same special, lower speed (5900rpm) HDDs as those used in surveillance security camera systems, which are designed and optimised for lower power consumption (so run cooler) and continuous use.

While it might be possible to change the HDD to an SSD in certain PVRs, I would have thought any potential speed gains and noise reduction would be minimal, plus you wouldn't want to risk voiding the warranty on a new unit. It's normally a decision taken if and when the original HDD eventually fails or you later decide the original HDD capacity isn't big enough.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
The 500Gb T3-R uses a slightly quieter hard drive than the 1Tb version if you don't need tons of storage space. I have the 500Gb version and it's easily the quietest PVR I've ever owned. Aside from a quiet click as it starts up from standby I can't hear it at all across the room and there's no fan to make any additional noise. Highly recommended.
 

zAndy1

Distinguished Member
The 500Gb T3-R uses a slightly quieter hard drive than the 1Tb version if you don't need tons of storage space. I have the 500Gb version and it's easily the quietest PVR I've ever owned. Aside from a quiet click as it starts up from standby I can't hear it at all across the room and there's no fan to make any additional noise. Highly recommended.

Can't hear the 1TB one either to be fair and I'd rather have the extra space.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
Can't hear the 1TB one either to be fair and I'd rather have the extra space.
I did say slightly quieter. :)
The 500GB model uses the WD5000LUCT which is 17dBA Idle and 22dBA when seeking. The 1TB model uses the WD10JUCT which is 24dBA when idle and 25dBA when seeking.
My 500Gb T3-R is yet to go below 90% free, but then we do tend to watch stuff soon after recording and don't let things sit on there for months on end.
 
The Humax aura is extremely quiet, and doesn't have many bugs in the firmware. It is also better specified than the Manhattan T3-R, its nearest competitor.

Humax are currently ironing out the few remaining bugs via public beta testing on the My Humax forum.

I have two aura boxes, and am very pleased with them.
 

columboid

Standard Member
Thanks. As i think is the case for many, I am torn between which of these to to get...aura or t3r? Tough one. Glad to hear they are both quiet though.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
Thanks. As i think is the case for many, I am torn between which of these to to get...aura or t3r? Tough one. Glad to hear they are both quiet though.
I was torn too but glad I went with the T3-R as it's completely fan-less. It's a much simpler box but does what it does very quickly and really well. The Aura seems to be improving with firmware updates but was very bug-ridden when I was looking to buy. I've no real need for the extra streaming capability it offers as I have all the apps I need on other sources. I would be interested in trying it at some point though, just for my own curiosity to see how it compares.
 

columboid

Standard Member
Yes, the aura is possibly more advanced than i need too.
My only issue with the t3r is that apparently the search does not search future broadcasts, only on demand. This will annoy my wife, so i won’t tell her until my sky (who do search ahead) contract is done.
I’d be interested to know if the aura searches future broadcasts.
 

zAndy1

Distinguished Member
I keep debating ordering the Aura from Amazon just to try one and compare it with the T3-R since it would be easy to return either depending on which I decide to keep. As I've said though I don't need the extra streaming services so I'm not quite sure what the extra £80 gets me, well ok an extra tuner and the aura app, sure they're nice to have but are they worth £80?
I do see a lot of posts about pixelation on viewing / playback on the aura though and reports of black screens...
 

zAndy1

Distinguished Member
Yes, the aura is possibly more advanced than i need too.
My only issue with the t3r is that apparently the search does not search future broadcasts, only on demand. This will annoy my wife, so i won’t tell her until my sky (who do search ahead) contract is done.
I’d be interested to know if the aura searches future broadcasts.

Yes I'd like to know that too
 

bingodisco

Active Member
Yes I'd like to know that too
Me three! It seems to be a very strange Freeview Play quirk. If you do a search on the official Freeview app it will only give you On Demand results and showings on that day, not any future broadcasts. Weird.
I know that Manhattan are apparently working on it for a future software update and also adding the ability to set recordings remotely which would be very handy. No idea on when though.
 

zAndy1

Distinguished Member
! not being able to set recordings remotely. Another thing that will annoy the mrs. Damn.

Yeah it's annoying that's for sure. When I asked about the remote recording and epg search features this is what they said

'We have a big v3 update coming at the end of summer that will include broadcast search and a lot more.

Remote recording app we hope by end of summer but might slip to the end of the year.'

So they're not imminent. I still don't know if the aura can search the guide and not just on-demand , surely someone must have the answer to that?!
 

columboid

Standard Member
Good to see the manufacturers are responsive but search future broadcasts and remote record are two things I’d assumed would be present. Basic stuff and actually useful.
 

bogbody

Novice Member
Aura remote record app works ok.
Unit is quiet - SWMBO (who can hear a mouse fart in the fields ouside) - finds it quiet.
The firmware mods are coming (unext big pdate mid April), those so far have fixed a lot of problems.
To me the extra tuner and working app is worth the extra. I bought the biggest hard drive version. We rarely have a recording clash with the Aura but it happend all the time with the Youview DTR2 box.
 

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