The Freeview revolution is underway in New Zealand. It's currently the only way you can get free to air (FTA) digital broadcast in the country with both DVB-T and DVB-S support, and it is also the only way to get free High Definition (HD) TV at home with DVB-T.
You can receive Freeview in many different ways: with of many Freeview-ready HDTV, with a Freeview set-top box, a HTPC (Home Theatre PC) running one of many software (Windows Media Center, GB-PVR, MediaPortal) and DVR (Digital Video Recorders).
Now before we get into its specs, it's important to note New Zealand Freeview is quite unique. It uses the more advanced H.264/AAc standards for HDTV broadcast over DVB-T, instead of the more common MPEG-2. Only a couple of countries have adopted this standard so far, but it's possible this is the way other countries will go, due to technical reasons.
Freeview also uses MHEG5 for its Electronict Program Guide. Again this is a more advanced standard, which includes a scripting language able to offer more information to users through context, and other features.
The Hyundai AH-3110 is fully compliant with both MPEG-2 and H.264/AAC standards. It is also a dual standard tuner (DVB-T and DVB-S) meaning it can receive the terrestrial (DVB-T) signal or alternativel in areas with no coverage the Satellite (DVB-S) signal.
Remember the main difference is that HDTV is only available over DVB-T.
Having said that, tested the Hyundai AH-3110 with DVB-T in Wellington, in a neighbourhood where we have very good DVB-T coverage (I can actually see the transmitter a couple of kms away from our window).
As a receiver the Hyundai AH-3110 is very easy to use: fast to start up from power off and also quick for the first time tunning.
The User Interface is not beautiful, but it is good. It's quite easy to use even without looking at the manual.
Reception was really good, regardless of time of the day or weather. I didn't notice pixelations or stuttering that happens when reception is weak (although this is not a problem for us and even with an internal antenna reception is about 90% all the time).
Connectivity is really good, with TV Antenna inputs for DVB-T, LNB input for DVB-S, plus video outputs (Component, Composite, SCART, VGA, HDMA) and sound outputs (Composite L-R, Optical).
The remote control is of good size and the buttons are easy to remember - and use.
You will also find USB ports in the back and in the front of the unit. These are used to plug USB memory keys with software updates, MP3 or JPEG files, as well as external HDD. Actually if you purchase one of these look for an update firmware from UltraPower Technology in their download section.
The recording functions are only available when an external HDD is attached to one of these ports. You can format the HDD with a Linux compatible structure. If you want to playback non-protected programs on your PC then you have to format the HDD with NTFS options before plugging it.
Recording is easy, including the option to pause live TV, record now or scheduled recording. When receiving DVB-T you can record a program while watching another - if both are in the same mux. It means you can record TV One while watching TV 2 for example, but not TV 3.
The unit's performance doesn't seem to be affected if you watch a program while recording another and the quality is not a problem.
In New Zealand Freeview uses two different EPG standards: DVB-S broadcasts the entire week using the standard EPG format, while DVB-T will provide the current program and the next few ones on EPG, and the entire week on MHEG5.
The Hyundai AH-3110 supports only the standard EPG. It means you can get a week EPG from DVB-S but only the current and next programs when using DVB-T. If you have a satellite aerial you can map channels from both sources and use this single guide, but if you use only DVB-T then you are limited in the EPG area.
- Really convenient recording device
- Good reception and picture quality
- External HDD support with PC-compatible format
- Fast boot
- Easy channel configuration