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I have had this Grundig Freesat box for around 3 years now. I bought it for the television in my bedroom so that I didn't lose access to the channels. The box I have is coloured black and has a silver line accross the bottom. I like the look of this box as it is more curved than some other Freesat boxes we have in the house. The box is 26cm by 16cm by 4cm. I think this is an average size for a set top box. It fits nicely next to my television and although it looks quite big, I tend nit to notice it anymore. When I bought the box it was installed by the staff of the shop, therefore I couldn't comment on the time or effort for installation as I didn't do it. If I did it probably would have taken double the time of them. I did do the set up of the Freesat myself and found it really easy. It didn't take long at all. It asks for things like your post code so that it can find the right channels for your region and then you follow the on screen instructions. Once the Freesat has been set up it is easy to navigate though the channels. To do so you press info and then up and down arrows to see what's on a channel. When I first did this I always forgot to press info because I was used to using the sky remote. Alternatively you can view full tv listings for the next 7 days in the guide. If you highlight a program in the guide you can either press enter to watch it if it's on at that time or press enter to put a reminder on if it's on at a later time or date. The two things I like about the guide that are different to sky are that if it was 10am on Tuesday and you wanted to see what was on at 5pm the next Tuesday it will let you, and will show programmes to midnight but if you use sky it would only show up to around 11am the following Tuesday. The other thing I like is that if you set a reminder on a programme it will automatically turn it over at the right time. I learnt this by accident, I was watching a programme and then the channel suddenly turned over. If you use it for reminders though if you set up 10 programmes it won't allow any more reminders and if you leave it on BBC3 or one of the other channels that is only on in the night it won't turn over in the morning because the BBC3 channel has no signal. Back to the box itself, it is easy to turn on and off by the power button on the front. Other set top boxes in the house use a remote to turn on and this is not as convenient as a button. This box also turns on a lot quicker than the rest of the boxes in the house. On the front is an plus and minus for the volume and channel but I usually use the remote for this. The remote is also grundig and is really easy to use. The buttons include volume, channels, select, guide, text, numbers, exit and back. This requires two AAA batteries and they last a long time. Overall I think this is the best box for Freesat. I have had experience with others but I much prefer this one. UPDATE: Maybe not so good after all. Last week I lost loads of channels (ITV, Channel 4, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4 etc.) as they had 'no signal'. The Freesat box had to be replaced and I hadn't even had it five years.
Although my part of Berkshire isn't due to switch over from analogue to digital TV until 2012, having bought a couple of flat screen TVs in the winter sales, to replace the rather antiquated portables in the kitchen and bedroom, I found the new TVs required additional aerial points installed so I decided to also buy digital set top boxes in order to increase my choice of viewing. My main TV had a Freeview box but reception for the digital channels was very poor because the house is surrounded by trees, so I tended to mainly stick to watching the terrestrial channels. When my daughter moved back home to house and cat sit whilst I was away sorting out care arrangements for my mother following her stroke, she had Sky HD installed for which she pays the monthly fee. (No way am I making the Murdoch family any richer or more influential than they are already!) Since I've returned home, I find a diet of Glee and the Gilmore Girls, is just too much pap for any one person to be expected to watch so need to be able to retire to the kitchen or bedroom to watch something a little more edifying from time to time and to that end I bought a couple of Grundig Freesat SD set top boxes. When my daughter moves out again (please let it be soon!) she'll take her Sky subscription with her and I'll just need to buy another Freesat box. What is Freesat and how much does it cost? Freesat, as the name implies, is free to air TV, provided jointly by the BBC and ITV which is received via a satellite dish and channelled through the digital set top box. Freesat currently gives access to 140+ TV and radio channels which include all five terrestrial channels plus their additional channels, various news channels such as BBC News 24, Al Jazera and CNN, various film channels, religious broadcasting and the shopping channels plus a wide selection of radio channels including all the BBC offerings as well as commercial radio stations. A full list of all the channels available can be found on www.freesat.co.uk. The only financial outlay is the initial cost of the set top box (an SD box currently retails for approximately £45-£55) plus installation of a satellite dish which will cost in the region of an additional £100. Freesat is also available through Sky TV (for those of you who don't find any moral objection to Rupert Murdoch) which provides some additional channels not available on regular Freesat. The charge for installation of Freesat from Sky is slightly higher but covers the entire installation of the satellite dish, provision of set top boxes plus set up. Although I bought the lower end digital boxes, other options available are Freesat HD which allows for viewing programmes broadcast in high definition and Freesat+ which operates in the same way as SkyPlus, allowing the viewer to record programmes and pause or rewind live TV. These options are, of course, more expensive with HD boxes currently in the region of £120 pounds and Freesat+ retailing at £215 approximately. Buying the set top boxes Having decided that as there was very little on TV which would be enhanced by HD and I couldn't justify the additional expenditure, I set about finding the best and most reasonably priced Freesat digital boxes for the job and eventually decided on the Grundig SD (GUFSAT02SD). These set top boxes are available from several suppliers, including Argos and Amazon, however, I bought mine from Dixons in the January sales where they were on special offer at £35.99. This price has since risen to £42.77, largely due to the rise in VAT. Even at their current price, Dixons seem to be charging less than other suppliers for these particular boxes. What do you get for your money? Apart from the satellite dish, the Grundig SD digital receiver comes with everything required to get started: the receiver itself, a scart lead, remote control and batteries plus full operating instructions. The digital receiver is very discreet being made of black plastic and measuring only 26cm x 14cm and standing only 2.5cm high. Although it has the same reference number, the boxes I have vary slightly from that shown in the picture provided by Dooyoo, in that my boxes have ventillation holes situated in the top of the box. Setting up your digital box The set up process is very simple - Quite frankly, if I can do it, anybody can! The TV aerial cable is plugged into the aerial socket on the back panel of the digital box and the scart lead is connected at one end into the scart socket on the digital box and at the other into the corresponding socket at the back of the TV. Once the TV and set top box have been plugged into the mains, everything is ready to set up your access to Freesat. Providing the signal strength is over 50% it's possible to set up your Freesat box. (If the strength is less than 50%, it will be necessary to adjust the positioning of the satellite dish.) If everything is correct, the digital box searches for the Network and Transport IDs and, once these have been found and OK has been pressed on the remote, a field appears into which you're required to enter your postcode. Press OK once more and then select the screen size of the TV and press OK once more. The digital box will then autotune to all the available channels. This can take a few minutes and when completed, all that's required is to press the button marked "Guide" on the remote control to see all the available channel types. Using your remote control Once your Freesat box is set up, apart from switching on the television, the TV remote is more or less redundant with all settings and programmes being selected via the set top box remote control. The controller is fairly self-explanatory with the usual numbered keypad, with navigation arrows and select button below, plus the four colour buttons and a full explanation of all the functions available on the remote is given in the instruction manual. I won't go into all the fuctions but will mention that it's possible to set the system up to automatically update the TV whenever new channels are added and parents will be pleased to note that they can also set parental controls via the remote. There are three ways to access programmes, either via the main 'Menu' button, the 'Guide' button, or the 'Channel List' button. There is also a fourth way, by keying in the 3-digit channel number, if known, such as 101 for BBC1, 102 for BBC2 etc. Any drawbacks? I currently have the TVs sitting on top of the digital boxes which is not recommended by the manufacturer, because it will restrict ventillation and the receiver may overheat, so finding somewhere to place the digital receiver may be something of a problem, especially if using with a flat screen TV. I'm going to invest in a couple of monitor stands, which can be bought for about a tenner, and which should solve this problem but anyone with rudimentary DIY skills could probably knock something up if needs be. The only other negative I've discovered isn't really about the digital box itself but more with regard to the channel choices available through Freesat which doesn't include Dave, Fiver or Five US (I believe these are available through Freesat from Sky), although the basic Freesat does offer a larger selection of channels than Freeview, but whether you'll want to watch an extra five religious channels or extra shopping channels is debatable! In summary Since installing these Freesat digital boxes at the beginning of January, I haven't experienced any problems with reception, something which was a real issue on digital channels when using Freeview. The picture is clear without any pixilation at all, so far, and the only problem I have encountered is that the auto sound setting is rather loud when the TV first switches on but this is easily dealt with by adjusting the volume setting using the TV remote. If you're happy to receive a basic digital TV service without the bells and whistles Sky provide, using a well made digital receiver which is simple to set up and allows for easy navigation of the channels, all for a low price, then I can highly recommend the Grundig SD. Originally posted on Ciao under the same user name.