Product Type: Sagem set top boxes
Newest Review: ... my Mum can't watch some of the recorded programmes. My experiences: The HDMI connects the receiver to the televisions set. It took a wh... more
A Box of Tricks
Sagem DTR 94320S
Member Name: rosebud2001
Sagem DTR 94320S
Date: 22/02/11, updated on 22/02/11 (261 review reads)
Advantages: Versatile - enables you to record and watch programmes at the same time, HD capability
Disadvantages: Very noisy - needs to be powered off when not in use really
I recently got Freesat installed - I opted for this because I wanted HD TV without a subscription and because my Panasonic TV already had a tuner built in.
The main reason I got Freesat was for my daughter however. We have aerial issues here and although she had a TV in her room so she could watch BluRays and play her Wii, it wasn't connected to an aerial for TV. I was able to get Freesat installed fairly cheaply because she qualified for help under the government's Switch Over scheme because she is registered disabled so I decided to spend £199 and get a Freesat HD+ box for her bedroom.
~~Inside the Box~~
This isn't a contents heavy box. Inside you get:-
* Remote Control
* Power cable
* Instruction Manuals
* HDMI cable
I didn't set this up myself but it's not quite as straightforward to install as a regular Freesat tuner because it needs to have two inputs from the satellite dish - this is to enable the receiver to receive two signals which it needs so you can record one channel while watching another.
If you only have one cable running from your satellite dish it will work, but only to view Freesat - you won't be able to record it.
As regards input sockets, the receiver has one HDMI input, 2 SCART inputs, an Ethernet port, one USB input (which is located at the front of the box), two satellite dish inputs and analogue and digital audio inputs.
The receiver is set up quite simply with just the TV and a BluRay player - there's no home cinema system or external speakers used in my daughter's bedroom as she is happy enough with the sound she gets through her LG TV.
The receiver connects to the TV via the HDMI cable. As my daughter's TV only has one HDMI input I had to get a signal splitter so she could have her BluRay player connected too and the receiver works well with this.
First installation is straightforward with onscreen prompts to tell you what to do. Once again, I didn't do this but I was in the room as the engineer did the set up and he advised we use a Scottish borders postcode to receive ITV1 in HD - I am sorry if I upset any of my fellow Scots by saying this, but ITV1 offers better programmes overall than STV - hence my decision.
The box also has parental control. My daughter rarely watches TV past the watershed and if she does, it's still invariably music channels she watches. You can lock access to some channels but I trust my daughter and haven't felt the need to do this. Not yet anyway! You need to keep the parental control PIN safe as you will need it if you ever need to reset the box.
You can also add non Freesat channels to the box but you need to know the transponder parameters to do this. I was going to add Bliss, a music channel my daughter likes, to the set up manually but before I got the chance it was added to the Freesat line-up so I haven't tried doing this yet.
~~Watching Freesat on the Receiver~~
With Freesat we currently have three HD channels - BBC1, BBC HD and ITV1 HD. It is expected that Channel 4 HD will launch on Freesat soon.
In addition there are more than 140 further channels offering films, entertainment, news, documentaries and music channels along with a plethora of shopping channels.
Freesat suits me because I am not stuck with a contract I might struggle to get out of when my rental period ends and my daughter is happy with it too - she gets Channel 4, More 4 and lots of music channels plus she can watch "Total Wipeout" on HD in her bedroom. I had been concerned she might whinge a bit about the lack of the Disney Channel but she seems to be over that now.
Changing channels is easy - on the remote control there are two buttons for this - one marked P+ the other marked P-. Similarly on the other side you can turn the volume up or down. Alternatively you can enter the channel number you want to watch - so if, for instance, you want to watch BBC News, you just enter the number 200 and it will take you there.
The remote enables you to set up subtitles when watching a programme and also switch to teletext directly if you wish to do so.
You can also pause and rewind live TV using the Deferred/Live Mode. This automatically saves the previous minutes of the channel being watched and is easy to use by merely using the pause, play, rewind and fast forward buttons on your remote control. To exit this mode you press the stop button on the remote. My daughter loves this mode and uses it regularly.
Sound quality on the box is good coming through the built in speakers on my daughter's TV but nothing earth shattering.
~~Recording Freesat on the Receiver~~
I have said this before but it's worth saying it again. Back in the day when setting a timer for recording programmes using a video recorder was both tricky and unreliable, I find any kind of PVR simplicity itself to use when recording programmes.
I am currently using an HDD drive linked via USB on my downstairs TV which is limited in the scope of what I can record and these limitations are highlighted by using the Sagem receiver.
To record a programme you merely find what you wish to record by going to the TV guide, selecting your programme and pressing a button which will record it and add it to your library. If you wish to record an entire series, you can do this by pressing one button - which is a great feature and means the fact the TV guide is only 7 days isn't too limiting - especially if you are going away for a couple of weeks and don't want to miss your favourite programme.
You can also watch another programme while using the receiver to record another one.
Playback is easy too - just press your Menu button and scroll down to your Library and find the programme you wish to view there. There are play, fast forward, rewind, pause and stop buttons on the remote control to facilitate playback with ease.
The quality of recordings is superb - whether in standard or high definition. Picture clarity is as sharp as it would be if viewing the programme normally and I've not had any issues with wonky lip sync which is something I have encountered on PVRs in the past. Similarly, sound quality is good too.
The capacity of the memory on this box is 320 GB so it's not got the biggest memory but it's capable of recording 320 hours of standard definition programmes or 128 hours of HD programmes.
This is a great box - it really produces excellent pictures in both standard and high definition. My daughter's TV isn't as sophisticated as the TV in the living room and is only HD ready as opposed to fully HD but the picture quality is great from this box in high definition in particular.
There is one big downside to this box however and one I must mention - it's rather noisy. Even in standby it makes a noticeable humming noise and while you don't really notice the noise when you are watching TV when you turn the TV off you most definitely do! As a result I would advise powering the box off when you aren't using it. Fortunately this is easy to do without having to unplug the entire box as there is a power on and off switch on the power cable. This is similar to the power on and off switches you find on the cables for lamps and is easy to locate.
The box also isn't the most stylish I have ever seen. It is slim and lightweight, but I personally find the curved edges a bit odd looking.
At the end of the day however this box is versatile, offering HD and SD pictures and giving you the chance to record programmes in both definitions in a most efficient and straightforward manner. If you are a huge TV buff and find programmes continually clash with one another, this box offers the ideal solution to ensure you don't miss anything.
The box is also compatible with the internet thanks to the Ethernet port at the back. I haven't connected this box to the internet but it gives you the option to have tv on demand via Freesat currently having the BBC iPlayer onboard and with the ITV Player due to arrive on the platform soon.
Currently available on Amazon for around £182.99, this is a box I can recommend if you want HD satellite TV which you can record or pause and rewind - without a Sky subscription.
Summary: How to have the capabilities of Sky Plus on Freesat