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My other half purchased this for me a few months ago for my birthday, since i have used it reguarly to watch all my favourite tv shows, and have also been able to see some tv programmes in HD which really is a better picture and looks far better than any other picture i have seen before. Although i must add this is only available in some areas, my home in kent was not able to pick up the signal but since moving up to the north east have had no problems at all and can change the resolution to 576p, 720p, 1080i or 1080p.
I recommend this box as its not one of the most expensive on the market but it has also nice features including the interactive channel 0 which automatically downloads once you plug the machine in. The box does come with an ethernet and usb port although as yet i have found no use for these functions and believe this could be for future applications of internet tv that have not taken off as of today.
Its rather easy to set up being plug and play and autotunes itself aswell so there is no messing about with it for hours like i have done in the past with some set top boxes. It has a number of outputs located on the back of the unit including a HDMI socket and full component and scart for those who have yet to make the jump to a hd tv.
The remote control may be a little distasteful for some people being so simple but i dont mind it at all and can find all the buttons i need very easily and isnt too cramped or too heavy.
If you are looking to upgrade to HD this box is certainly worth looking at!
This year finally saw the rolling out of free to view, High Definition television in the UK. The introduction of such a service makes HD a reality for a wider range of consumers, many of which have owned a HD ready television for some time now and have been waiting on an affordable source. I too have been anticipating the arrival of Freeview HD and grabbed this box only a few days after the service began in time for the new series of Doctor Who.
Unfortunately, buyers should be aware that manufacturers are always ready to take advantage of the impatience of the public. The Bush DVB680 costs around £150 at retail simply for being capable of receiving a high definition signal. It will indeed receive and display a full 1080p broadcast and is capable of optical surround sound output also. Were this not the case, I would probably hesitate to spend more than £25 on this box. Build quality is reasonable on the box itself but the remote feels and looks hideously cheap. As usual, Bush's built in software is awkward and poorly designed and it has none of the DVR or extra features you would find on a standard Freeview box at this price.
Setting up the box for the first time is, as with most things these days, a doddle. Connect via HDMI or Scart and when powering up for the first time the box will display some simple on-screen instructions. These will guide you through an auto-tune process that will programme in all channels available in your area with a minimum of fuss. After this though the interface just falls apart, whatever coding is used to run functions such as the menu or guide is terrible. Must buttons have a frustrating delay and holding down the arrows buttons while perusing menus will usually send the menu scanning for minutes. It's the sort of half-hearted coding you'd expect to find on budget freeview boxes from supermarket clearance shelves.
It must also be said that for a device that advertises itself as a full HD, HDMI capable box that upscales standard definition signals, its performance is surprisingly poor. I compared the box with both my TV's built in Freeview tuner and the PlayTV for PS3 and found that they were both far superior to the Bush. I would not watch standard definition TV on this box unless I had no choice, for a box exceeding the £100 price mark, that's a great disappointment.
The Bush DVB680 functions as advertised. It will receive Freeview and Freeview HD channels and output 5.1 Surround Sound. While watching an HD channel, the picture quality is excellent and all is well. When accessing any other functions of the box it is hard to shake the feeling of being fleeced. Bush have chosen to go down the most cynical path with their first Freeview HD box and charge a premium price for the bare minimum knowing this would be one of the only options for consumers. Now other options are becoming available, I'd avoid this box like the plague.
** My Experience **
I bought this box from Argos about a year ago in exchange for my faulty Thomson Set Top Box. It was meant to cost about £90 but we received this for free as it was an exchange.
So far this product has been very reliable. It was easy to set up and you were able to start watching freeview television within about 10 minutes. The range of channels is excellent and the picture and signal is always of high quality.
A couple of little things to point out about this product. The box itself makes quite a lot of noise, could be the fan, but it sounds like a humming electrical noise. Not too irritating but worth pointing out. Also, the programme information seems to have a mind of its own. One day it has all the programme information available and other days this has disappeared. This is only annoying when you want to record something as it will not let you record if the programme listings are blank.
This product has been reliable apart from these minor faults and compared to some of the faults I had with my Thomson box, these are nothing to worry too much about.
** Technical Information **
Digital set top box: Digitally interactive, Digital text, Digital video broadcasting (DVB) subtitles available, Upscales to 1080p, RF loop, Now and next programme guide, 7 day electronic programme guide (EPG), Audio description compatible
Connectivity: HDMI output, 1 SCART socket, Ethernet connection
Additional information: Remote control batteries required 2 x AAA
Size: 4 x 17 x 29.5cm (HxWxD)
Energy efficiency information: On mode power consumption - 12 watts
Standby power consumption - 2 watts
** Price **
This set top box is available to buy from Argos for around £99.99.
I picked up the DVB680 Freeview HD Box for under £100 from Argos. I was a little dubious, because let's face it, it's Bush, but I must say I'm amazed at how well the box works.
I'm not sure of the exact dimensions of the unit, but suffice it to say that it's much smaller than I thought - a bit long, perhaps but very thin in height, so much so that it easily sits on top of another set top box in my TV cabinet. Installation is a breeze - just hook it up to your TV with a HDMI lead, and it auto-scans for channels and builds a channel list for you - it doesn't get much easier than that. The box also features an ethernet port, which can be used to update the firmware of the unit in the future.
The menu system is quite pretty, and although it doesn't quite have that futuristic 'HD' look about it, it's perfectly functional. Perhaps the worst feature of the unit though, is the glowing red LED channel display on the front of the box, which harks back to 1980s alarm clocks. Quite why they settled on that solution for the new Freeview HD box is a bit of a mystery, but still, it's not that big of a deal to me.
Anyway, onto the important stuff - picture quality. SD quality is distinctly SD, and doesn't look worse than any other freeview box I've seen, but it's not particularly impressive. Still, if you're buying this box for the SD content, you may have the wrong product. HD on the other hand, is absolutely spectacular, and I can't recommend this box enough based on the wonderful picture quality provided by the HD channels, which at the time of writing include BBC HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD. I have heard that BBC are going to launch a BBC1 HD channel, which will be fully compatible with this box. It's perhaps not quite Blu-Ray standard, but it's pretty close, and at a reasonable viewing distance, I dare say you'd be hard pressed to notice any difference.
All in all, I'd say that for the money, if you own a HDTV but are still relying on Freeview for your content, this box is a must-buy. The quality of the HD content is exceptional, and for the price it's a complete no-brainer.