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Good value for money freeview box. Not the absolute cheapest out there, but certainly towards the cheaper end of the market. Costs around £20-25
If, like me, you are only interested in getting a freeview box because we all now HAVE to have one and just want a reliable viewing of the main 5 channels, then this is for you. And as a bonus, you get a multitude of other channels thrown in, including news channels, documentary channels, entertainment etc. You name it, it's here. In total, there's about 90 channels
I bought mine on-line, and it came with all the necessary equipment to get going and watching some TV! Easy to assemble, just attaching a few simple cables, and then easy step-by-step installation instructions in the manual that comes with it. Follow a few simple steps and then the box will automatically search for and install the channels available. Also, if there are any changes with regards the availability of channels, then a message will appear on screen informing you to re-tune so that you can get these channels.
Also, there's a 7-day programme guide which can be accessed through one of the controller buttons, thus allowing you to see what's coming up in the tv guides.
The only disadvantage is that the picture can sometimes freeze but that's only when my portable aerial is disturbed, and this rarely happens. Also, if you are looking for an extensive range of channels with all the modern technology then this is not for you. No in-built HD or 3D.
Another slight irritation is that you cant move channels when muting the tv as i sometimes wish to do late at night, for instance.
I purchased this box from Asda living for £19, which in my mind is very cheap. I did want to buy one that recorded programs too but I found them too expensive and were over £100 so I just went for this cheaper one.
What was in the box.
The only thing that I found not to be in the box that you do need to be able to use is a SCART lead, luckily my sister had plenty of spares ones, so if you do not have a spare SCART lead at home you will need to purchase one before you can use the box.
The design of this box, is really very basic, and very small too which is good because it just sits nicely on top of your TV. Its just a plain black box, with your SCART lead socket at the back, to plug into your TV. Then you have the arieal socket also at the back, that plugs into the aerial socket in your wall.
There is nothing much to the box at all, on the front you have a light that is green when its switched on, and shows red when its on standby. The box has no buttons on the front to change channel or volume, so unless you have the remote the box is useless. Which I do find this quite off putting, so I always make sure I have a spare set of batteries in my house, just in case they run out. If your like me then you cant get normal channels on your TV so without the remote I am left with no TV.
You get 102 channels on this box, although you cant watch all 102 of them as some are pay per view. You have your basic 5 channels, then you have your channel 4 + 1 which is the same as channel 4 but its showing the programs that were on an hour before. They have also just brought out an ITV+1 which I was really glad about, as I do have a tendency to be running late for my favourite soaps.
There is really far too many channels to mention, you have Dave, bbc3, ITV2, Film4, Sky 3, and E4. They also have several music channels too, like smash hits, viva, heat, magic plus more, although unlike sky on most of these channels you only get the music and not the video to go with it.
You also have 3 children's channels, cbbc, cbeebies and citv, which I think are the main 3 children's channels available anyway, and keep the kids entertained on a weekend. You also have a few news channels, and some adult channels. Not that I have really looked but the adult channels are all pay per view loll.
There is plenty of channels but I think that a lot of them are pointless and there is only a selection of the channels I watch. But I suppose some people might find the other ones useful too.
The picture quality.
I have never had much problems in way of the picture of this box, although I have known the box to freeze once or twice. But a quick change over of the channels it returned back to normal. The picture is of excellent quality, as long as you have all the leads plugged in properly. There is no fuzziness or any problems while watching the TV, the picture is perfect.
The sound is very good, you have a volume control button on your remote, so you can turn the volume up on your TV, then turn it down to your own liking on your Freeview box. The sound is very clear with no muffled voices at all.
now considering this is the only thing you can work your box with it has to have everything on it and it does appear to. The remote has the following features:
Power on/off- This will turn your box on standby or turn it back on. To turn the box off completely to save electric you will have to turn it off at the plug.
Mute button- Click this to turn the sound completely off, I find this useful if I think I hear someone at the door ect as it turns it all off rather than using the volume controls which takes longer. Then click again to turn the sound back on.
Number pad- You use this to go straight to a channel, just click on the numbers you need to go to a channel and it will switch straight to that channel for you.
Wide - This changes your screen between the different ratios depending on the TV screen size you own.
Info- This brings up the information on the current program that you are watching.
Menu- This is where you can set up your Freeview box, in this you have channel organiser, where you can organise all your channels. System installation, this is where it auto scans for all your channels that are available to watch on your box, you will need to do this if a new channel becomes available, and does not take too long to do, its approximately 5 minutes.
System set-up is where you can set up your parental controls, so you can lock certain channels. Then finally you have the information which includes a helpline number and all the specifications on your box.
Epg- This is your program guide, this has all the channels available with the times and programs available for the next 7 days. This is also where your directional pad is used this is the only thing the directional pad is used for. You just move up down across to go to the time you would like to view. On here it also gives you a brief run down of what each of the programs is about. You use your colour keys here also to go to next day, or plus two hours. It does tell you at the bottom of the screen what each colour button will do for you.
Back - This does just what it says, it goes back to the last page you was on, in the program guide.
Exit - This exits out of all the menu or program guide rather than going back page by page, it just takes you back to the full TV.
Volume - This turns your volume up or down.
Channel - This changes to a channel up or down, you cant just flick through the channels it only turns them over for you, so if you just want to browse what's on your best using the program guide, as while this is up you can still watch TV.
Swap - This changes from the last channel you had on, to the previous one you are watching, so for instance if I was watching Film4 then went onto watching ITV, then wanted to return to Film4 I would just click swap and it would go to Film4 then I would click it again to return to ITV.
Text - This is for your text if you want to look at any news pages ect, I myself have never really bother but its there if needed.
Subtitle - This turns subtitles on or off, I find this button useful to be there if needed, as with most thongs you have to go looking in menus for it.
So as you see the remote really does come with everything on it, but as I said it did need to as without the remote you can not do anything with the box.
For the night owl
I have noticed with the box, at 2am everyday it does a scan which totally takes your TV channel off, this can be quite annoying if you are in the middle of watching a good film, but its easy to get rid of it, you just press exit and it cancels the scan, so remember to have your remote at the side of you at 2am if your watching something good.
This is really easy to do, you just plug your SCART lead into the box then the other end into your TV. Then plug the aerial into your wall, and into the back off the box. Then insert the main plug into your mains and switch on. When the box is on, go into your menu and do an auto scan, then all your channels are there ready to watch. Is really is that simple and takes as little as ten minutes.
The instruction manual
this is just basic and easy to read, but if I am honest the box is so easy to follow I found no need to use the instruction manual, but it is there and basic to follow if you do need it.
My overall opinion
I would recommend this box, in all aspects of it, the price is really good, the picture and sounds good. I have not had no problems at all with this box and its so easy to use. The only thing I did not like was that you have to have a remote to be able to use it. Whether a universal remote will work I am not sure as I still have my remote, but I am sure that on the Goodman site you may be able to buy a spare remote, or find one somewhere on the internet