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Woolworths Worthit! Set Top Box

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6 Reviews

Manufacturer: Woolworths / Enjoy all free-to-view digital channels / Features: Digitally interactive / Auto set-up / SPDIF digital audio output / 4:3/16:9 switchable viewing formats / Dvb terrestrial TV and radio reception / Full MHEG5 interactive support / Remote control / Electronic programme guide / 2 scart sockets to facilitate recording / Fast channel search

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    6 Reviews
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      02.02.2009 03:46
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      great piece of kit for basic use

      my neice had decided to stay with us for a while so we wanted a cheap digital box for the room she was in to make her feel more comfortable (in the days before woolies sadly closed down) I stumbled across this one on a price comparisson website and ordered it for store collection via the woolies website. I picked it up from store a few days later and set it up in the spare room. I was not expecting much as it was very cheap to buy but I was expecting to be fit for the purpose i was buying it. I plugged it in, handilly there is an antenna scked in the spare room. It is very easy to use this box, its quite leterally plug it in and go, I did not even need the instructions. It started to automatically search for channels and within 5 mins had set itself up. It came with a remote and batteries. The picture was clear with no visible interference. I wish they were still around so I could get another!

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        27.12.2008 15:16
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        good quality freeview box

        My free view box (one of the original ondigital boxes which cost £200 +) died a death and so needed to be replaced.

        When choosing a freeview box it was a case of weighing up the functionality of the box and the cost of it.

        Thank fully i visit to Woolworths provided me with a functional freeview box which was well below the original boxes £200 cost.

        The things i like about this free view box is the sheer size of it, its extremely compact and slim and so easilt fits in most tv stands ontop of a dvd player if required.

        The Freeview box was extremely easy to set up, being a case of take it out the packaging, plug it in and then connect to the tv via the scart lead, switch the tv on to AV and switch the free view box on and let set up do the work for you.

        Set up quickly searches through for all th available free view channels before storing them and then your ready to go.

        The great thing is with thbis model is the electornic programming guide, allowing you to see whats on other channels without having to go onto them, my HD tv with free view built in does not have this and i certainly prefer this feature on the woolies free view box

        And the Best thing overall is the price an absolute steel at less than £20 - mega deal !

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          06.12.2008 21:00
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          Highly Recommended

          I think Woolies need all the promotion they can get at the moment and even if they don't get enough business over Christmas to save them, we could all use reviews on Woolworths stuff to decide what to grab quickly when the closing down sales start at least.

          We've got this worthit! set top box in two rooms in our house. We have freeview built into some tellies and in another we have a £45 freeview box. But I saw this six months ago and thought it was worth a try as you can always get a refund if stuff isn't up to scratch. I was so impressed I wound up buying another one two weeks later!

          What's so great about this box is that it's really simple to use. The first time I plugged it in, it was just a case of following a couple of onscreen instructions and it was all ready to use.

          I've seen other reviews saying you have to reboot this regularly but I've never once had to do that. I don't know if how you use the box effects this, but in our house I've always had a big thing about turning off sockets when they're not in use so we never leave stuff on even on standby, not even the microwave (why pay electricity just to power a clock you hardly notice?!).

          So we've never had problems with it wanting to reboot or update or anything plus this has always worked fine when switched on. It's probably a split second slower than the more expensive box we've got when it comes to changing channels, but what's a split second compared to a £30 saving?

          The remote is easy to use and the signal has always been good on both of our boxes. I think it's brilliant value for money, especially considering this has not one but two scart sockets on the back which is a big deal when most twin scart socket boxes will set you back the wrong side of £40. This cost £16.47 each when I bought it and it's probably part of the discounts Woolworths are giving on most things at the moment so worth checking out.

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          01.12.2008 14:05
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          Well worth the tiny price tag, pick one up while you can

          After my satellite dish was damaged in a storm last year, I had the choice between paying to get it repaired and realigned or finding another way to receive a digital signal. Now I didn't have the cold, hard cash to get the dish repaired, so I decided to go for a freeview box. A quick look around the High Street convinced me that the Woolworths 'Worth It' set top box was the best value for money at a paltry £16.99. It's now almost exactly a year later, and I'm still convinced that it was money well spent.
          The set top box itself is a lot more stylish than most (if not all) other low-end freeview boxes, being silver in colour and not too big (or small) to fit nicely on top of my television. Unlike a previous box I've owned this is also easy to dust, as it doesn't have any curved recesses or vents, not important to most people, but to me it is. It was very easy to connect to both my outside aerial and television set, although I did have to buy both scart and fly (aerial) leads. There are two scart connections, which means it can be connected to both TV and recording device and an RF loop, to allow the analogue signal to be passed to the television.

          Once connected set-up was simple, the automatic channel scan picked up the available channels within five minutes and my freeview was ready to go. Now what channels this box will receive depends greatly on area and the quality of the external aerial, I do NOT receive all channels, but this is not the fault of the box, I do, however, receive a good number of channels, more than enough for me to keep myself amused. Picture quality is, in the main part, excellent, although I do find that my neighbours CB interferes with the signal and causes pixilation. Similarly audio quality is perfectly (and perhaps above) acceptable. The remote control is well thought out and I find it easy to make the box 'do' exactly what I want it to, and I'm still using the pair of AAA batteries that came with it.
          As well as television channels, the box also picks up radio channels (which I've never really bothered with). Now as this is dirt cheap, you'd probably expect that there'd be no fancy features, I know I wasn't expecting any. Well we're both wrong, this is a surprisingly full featured piece of technology. There is a 14 day EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), which is useful for knowing what's on when. Using the menu there is also a sleep facility and a timer which can be used to automatically change channels. The timer can be set to one-off, daily, weekly or monthly and there are a total of 20 different channel changes that can be stored. Now this timer facility is not perfect, it can be laborious, as you need to know the date, time and channel of each programme you wish to, well, program into the box. It would be much easier if there was some way of selecting programmes from the EPG, but hey-hoe, at least it does work. There is also the ability to re-name and re-order channels, but I've never bothered with this. I have, however, set up a couple of 'groups' of my favourite channels. Finally, there are a total of three basic games, snake, Tetris and Othello for when there really is nothing on the box. Quite impressive, considering the tiny price, don't you think? All this technology is very well explained in the instruction book.

          Now, like I said, I've had this box for a year now and it's been put through its paces for all that time. It's been dropped on the floor more than once, and other than one of the scart outputs being damaged (good job there's two really) it's still working as well as the first day. But I've had one niggle since that first day, and that's its annoying tendency to re-boot every so often, normally when I'm really into what I'm watching. But this is the only bad point about the box, and other than that it's perfect for me.
          So am I recommending the 'Worth It' set top box, too right I am. In actual fact I've persuaded a couple of my friends that this is the best freeview box in the <£20 price range, and they agree with me. This is excellent value for money, easy to set up and use, full of features over and above the usual for cheap and cheerful, durable, and fairly stylish. So I'm giving this four and a half stars out of five, with it loosing that half a star, for its annoying tendency to reboot.

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            30.11.2007 12:34

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            NOT a review of the Woolies Worthit! but a comparison with an almost identical piece of kit.I have just installed a Mico STB238 purchased from Maplin (£19.99 including VAT and a full SCART lead). It is connected to a Sony TV and a Panasonic HS960 S-VHS VCR.It works perfectly in all respects, including the RF loop-through which seems to bug the Woolies Worthit!.

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            10.11.2007 10:26
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            A cheap digital set top box but with faults that detract from the value

            By now you must be wondering just how many of these Digital TV set top boxes I'm going to review and the answer is, as many as it takes to find one that works properly, at a reasonable price. Let's face it, the technology isn't complicated. I suspect that there are a limited number of chip sets used by all manufacturers to put their own boxes together; I doubt many make their own chips. So, the components are mass-produced at a mass-produced price and as these things are undoubtedly turned out in their thousands, if not millions, there is no reason that they should cost the Earth. In general, the only real differences are the input and output connections to the boxes (e.g. one SCART or two)and the software that drives the functions.

            The latest box is intended for the kitchen. Initially I bought a SEG from Tesco for just under £20 but had to take it back because of two major issues. I got my money back as they had sold out of them so I couldn't have a replacement so as to find out if the problems were a one-off or generic. I just hope, for their sake, that not everyone else has to take theirs back as well! I've never been able to find the manufacturer's site so can't get it added to Dooyoo. If anyone does better than me, let me know and I'll request it.

            I was browsing in Woolies and happened to notice a whole section of various types of electronic goods under their own Worthit! Brand. Amongst them I noticed a digital TV set top receiver, also at just under £20 so, I thought I would give it a try.

            The package comes without any means to connect the box to the TV or, indeed, any other device, so you are going to have the additional cost of, at the very least, a SCART lead and also a TV aerial coax extension cable, if you need to continue on the aerial signal to another device such as a VHS or DVD recorder, with its own TV tuner. You can get a perfectly decent SCART lead from Tesco for under £2.

            The box has two SCART sockets so you can connect it to a VHS recorder as well as a TV. There is a digital audio output socket for connection to a surround sound system and there is an RS232 serial port which is available to use to upgrade the software on the box via the Internet as opposed to the normal “over the air” broadcast method. The box also has the normal aerial input socket plus an RF loop-through socket intended for continuing on the signal to another device.

            On connecting up the box to the TV (a 14” Goodmans with a built-in VHS recorder, so I don't actually need to use the second SCART socket) it was immediately obvious that the TV aerial pass-through was not working. I could connect the two aerial cables together and bypass the box and that would work but not when connected through the box! However, the digital SCART connection worked OK.

            Plugging in the box lights a blue lit button on the front of the box to indicate that the box is On rather than in Standby mode. Standby can be selected by pressing the button, which then goes red. Standby can also be selected from the remote control On the second box I tried, once switched from On to Standby and back again, the blue light never came on again! Not only that but I then noticed that the box was causing interference on the radio!

            As normal, with most of these boxes, as soon as you switch them on they go into initialisation mode. First it asks what region you are in and preselects United Kingdom. Here is the first oddity, you can't simply press the OK button, you have to scroll down to the OK field on the screen and THEN press OK! Bizarre. The automatic channel scan then starts and takes about two minutes to find all of the channels broadcast by our local transmitter (Crystal Palace). It then kicks off for the first time with BBC1.

            When you press Menu, amongst the various options is Setup and from here you can select TV System in order to choose the screen aspect suitable for your TV. There are three choices, standard 4:3, 4:3LB (Letterbox) and widescreen 16:9. On the first box I tried the 4:3LB setting hardly showed any top and bottom borders and may as well have been normal 4:3. The second box I tried at least showed 4:3LB as I would have expected it.

            You can also set Time settings in Region and Time but the box comes configured with the correct settings for the UK so you are unlikely to need to change them. However, they are important as there is also a Timer Setting function, which wakes the box up from Standby to a chosen channel so that video recordings pre-set on an attached video recorder can take place.

            What you will now most likely want to do is to check what's on. This you can do with the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) from the dedicated button on the remote. The EPG appears on the screen as a semi-transparent window; the opacity can be selected in the Settings. I was pleased to see that the guide responds quickly to the selection buttons, something that I have noticed to be an issue with other makes.

            Unusually, however, the EPG guide on this box has no preview window. However, scrolling through the channels in the guide also immediately changes the channel for real, so you see the programme currently being broadcast behind the guide window. The guide lists on the left the various channels and on the right the Now and Later programmes. A nice touch is that if both names cannot fit on the screen at the same time then the display alternates between showing the Now programme title in full and then the Later, at about 5 second intervals.

            Below this is the start and end times and title of the current programme playing and at the bottom of the window is a reminder of the buttons you press for extended functions. Not very intuitively, you have to press the numeric 1 button for detailed information about the selected programme. Pressing the Menu button (remember, to get here you originally pressed the EPG button!) takes you back up the functions until eventually exit the guide! Hardly user-friendly.

            You can also get the channel guide from the Menu. One of the options is the Channel List. The difference here is that this version of the guide does have a preview windows. What it doesn't have is any programme information or, indeed, any buttons to press to get it. This area of the functionality is intended more for channel organisation, such as grouping channels into favourites lists or eliminating from the list those you will never want to see. You can select a channel from here though, if you come across one you like.

            The quality of picture and sound it quite good although I haven't tried the digital sound connection on this box as I have no suitable device through which to play it in the kitchen, so I can't comment. Functionally the box is intended to do most of the things that you would want. However, having now tried two boxes, both of which showed faults, and one fault the same on both boxes, I find myself once again disappointed at the lack of quality control.

            I'm now taking the box back to try a third example but, as the aerial socket fault looks like a hardware manufacturing error, I'm not confident that another box will be any better than the others. I'm willing to give Woolies a try though but I suspect I will end up asking for a refund and, once again, looking elsewhere.

            If you don't have a requirement to use the aerial pass-through then you may want to take a chance on the Woolies Worthit! at the price. I, however, expect that this box is going to be another about which I will be saying, “Been there; done that; sent it back for a refund”.


            UPDATE – Later that day!
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            So, I took it back but decided not to try another one. There really wasn't any point. I knew that the manufacturing fault in the aerial loop-through was likely to be the same in every box so I accepted my money back.

            I still needed a set top box though. I tried Maplins and there saw there a MiCO STB238 that they were selling at the same price as the Woolies one. I asked the guy in the shop specifically whether the loop-through worked on this make. He confirmed it did. I bought it.

            Getting it back home, I opened the package and looked at the manual. Oh, oh. This looks remarkably similar to the Woolies manual. The actual box was roughly the same shape but the front panel was completely different; no big blue lights, just three large buttons, with a discrete light in the middle of the On/Standby button. Anyway, I plugged it in. The MiCO comes with a SCART lead but as I already had a working one I didn't need to use it. Strange that MiCO can produce the box with a lead at the same price that Woolies does, without!

            I switched it on and, guess what, no analogue pass-through signal. From there everything was identical to the Woolies box.

            So, now you know, the Woolies box is manufactured by MiCO Electric (Hong Kong) Limited (http://www.micoelectric.com/) and their version doesn't work any better!

            The search goes on!

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