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After the tuner broke on my digital TV, I was reluctant to go out and buy a new one. After all, all the other features still worked - the built in DVD player, the XBOX etc. So I quickly looked online for cheap set-top boxes, and found this little gem from Tesco. It is incredibly cheap at a fraction under £20, with barely any drawbacks.
Firstly, the good parts.
It is a very small and sleek box, at 16.5cm x 10cm x 2.5cm, and in a very neutral black colour. The front of the box has a small amount of writing and a red or green LED indicating whether the box is on or not.
It is very easy to set up, you just plug it into the mains, connect it to the TV via SCART (lead not included) and connect up to an external aerial. Switch on the TV and the very simple menu allows you to tune it quickly and easily, meaning you will be watching TV in under five minutes.
It has many of the features that more expensive boxes has, such as a full 7 day TV guide, and it is also an "ECO" box meaning that it uses virtually no electricity when in standby mode.
Now onto the disadvantages:
It doesn't support HD. Given that in this day and age HD is definitely the way forward it was a bit of a shame, but then again, I wasn't prepared to pay more than double the price just to get HD.
The remote can be a bit hard to use. It uses a three-digit input, so unless you type "001" to go to channel 1, it waits for a few seconds (longer than most boxes do) before changing channel. It is also very sensitive. If, for example, you want to go to channel 14, you will easily find yourself typing "011", "144", "141" etc before finally getting "014". It often "double counts" your presses. While neither of these are very major issues, it can be slightly annoying when your favorite program started 30 seconds ago and you're stuck watching something else!
I have had a good set top box in my living room for a while and have gone through a number but this one I have had for over a year. I bought this brand a while ago and at the time, I definitely wasn't familiar with Dion but the set top box looked fine to me and all I wanted was access too all Freeview channels, so I purchased this. The set top box comes with a remote control as standard and is quite a good size, not as big as some and it fits perfectly on my television table.
This set top box is about the size of a box of Maltesers, a weird comparison I know but that is about the right size, Amazon claim its boxed weight is 2.6kg. It is black in colour and the front of it has a plastic panel which has the Dion logo on it and the receiver light and on the reverse is where you plug everything in. To hold, it is very light in weight and the remote control is small too it is the right weight and runs on 1 x AAA battery and has a very good connection unless you are blocking the signal.
To start with, setting this up wasn't difficult at all, you just follow the instructions and plug your SCART cable into the bag along with the power and other cable. This should then connect the box fine and it can automatically start scanning for channels if you follow the set up process and let it to do the rest. Once it has finished the scan, it says you can get up to 50 channels, I have about that and there you are, ready to watch TV. This scan also gives you up to 24 radio channels but I don't really listen to these.
The remote control is great on this, always has a signal and is quick to respond. You always need to press the red power button to be able to use the set top box and then you can control the volume, you have your coloured red through to blue buttons and menu buttons. There are your channels up and down buttons and your guide button which is where you click to see the programme. It is a nice blue display showing the channel in the corner and it shows information and hourly guide of what is on all channels.
The guide is great, very informative and the display is very easy to follow. To change channels, it always works fine I never find signal issues with this box which is why I like it so much as other boxes always have errors, losing signal or a crackled signal and this just doesn't do that. Once every couple of months the TV does freeze but a quick switch off then on again and it is back to normal and able to use. This is normal thought and considering my signal is that great, I cannot fault it greatly for the freezing as it is so infrequent.
This set top box has a 1W standby power consumption and this also comes with teletext if you need to use it. The remote is easy to guide along all of the channels but I tend to use the guide to find what I want as it loads so quickly that you can see right away what is on. The battery on the remote has lasted me since I bought this set top box but I always turn off the set top box when I am not using the TV as I don't like to keep it on all of the time. It shows a green light when on and a red light when off.
I am happy with this set top box and recommend it to anyone who needs one. Don't be put off by the fact it isn't a well known brand as I have had mine a while and it is still doing a great job and giving me a fantastic signal so that I can watch TV with no interference which is hard to find in a set top box. It looks nice and fits well next to any TV set being black and having a small light, nothing too fancy. Its cables all stay connected fine and it is east to set up which is what you want.
To purchase this set top box, you can buy it from Amazon who are selling this model for £16.58 from one of their sellers, this is a good price, not the cheapest but it is reasonable.
I could not find an official Dion website, I'm afraid but Amazon give some good information.