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Topic # 89524 4-Sep-2011 13:30
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Hi guys,

I am looking for a good, basic Freeview satellite receiver so have been trawling through the geek zone forums for recommendations. Apart from the Vu+ Duo (which I sadly can't quite justify, despite looking lovely), I can't find a clear winner. 

I would love the ability to view non-Freeview channels (specifically Al Jazeera), have no great need for recording (although ability to connect an external HDD over USB would be nice), would prefer HDMI output and would really love to have a unit which doesn't have an ugly as sin or psychedelic OSD.

Unfortunately, this has been harder than I was anticipating. Retailers have been remarkably unhelpful, and typically only one or two types of unit on display ("We only stock the best" was the rather feeble justification from the salesbloke at Harvey Norman when I pointed out that selection wasn't the greatest...).

The impression I get from the forums is that Ultraplus is great but has a history of issues and the distributor hasn't been doing himself any favours by appearing defensive and rude. This doesn't fill me with a huge amount of confidence, but I can live with this if the general consensus is that the units are sound.

Other things I picked up is that Draco and Hills are rubbish (as are, I imagine, Transonic), that Dish TV have won awards for some reason and are reasonable, and Zinwell is restricted to only Freeview channels.

Is this generally about right?

Am I right that the Freeview accredited units - of which there's a frustrating monopoly in the physical retail space - are locked down to only allow TVNZ, TV3, etc? Or does it vary by unit?

I was leant a Dish TV unit from a friend which had HDMI output and allowed non-Freeview channels, so I suppose it's currently a toss-up between this and an Ultraplus unit. Thoughts?

Oh, and I can't really justify anything too far over $300 unless there's some really compelling reason. I am a software engineer and love toys so justification may not take much... ;) 

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated!


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  Reply # 516516 4-Sep-2011 17:25
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If you just want to watch TV easily then I'd recommend this jobbie
It's approved and the menus etc look ok on screen. 

If you need hdmi and want an option to record to usb then give this a go
It's not approved, the hdmi is SD - not upscaled, and you get some rainbow colour wheel type things on the display.
 
If you want DVB-S2 or HD like SBS 1 HD then you'll need to step it up a bit.

If you're on Windows 7 then Media Centre with a computer sat tuner card could be worth a look too perhaps.


Just be warned there are pros and cons to most units.  I've never felt particularly confident things will record on most of the units I've had for instance, but maybe that's just me.  Good luck.    



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  Reply # 516550 4-Sep-2011 19:47
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Thanks for that, much appreciated. So, you'd recommend the Ultraplus 700HDMI over the DishTV S7050PVR? (which has 1080i output - upscaled, admittedly)

M

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 516570 4-Sep-2011 20:58
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Other things I picked up is that Draco and Hills are rubbish (as are, I imagine, Transonic), that Dish TV have won awards for some reason and are reasonable, and Zinwell is restricted to only Freeview channels.

 


Surprisingly, the Transonic doesn't appear to be a particularly bad little unit. I picked one up for my mother. It's a very basic box, but is fairly easy to drive and (so far) it has been solid and does what it says it will.

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  Reply # 516577 4-Sep-2011 21:19
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JimmyH: 
Surprisingly, the Transonic doesn't appear to be a particularly bad little unit. [...] It's a very basic box, but is fairly easy to drive and (so far) it has been solid and does what it says it will.


That's not something that can be truthfully said for the majority of the boxes out there, so I'd say that was a glowing endorsement!



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  Reply # 516630 5-Sep-2011 02:09
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Oh, the VU+ boxes do look so tempting... although why is only the Duo available in New Zealand? I assume that I should be able to pick up a VU+ Uno from overseas and that everything would work happily? There seems to be surprisingly little talk of it on these forums - which makes me suspicious!

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  Reply # 516650 5-Sep-2011 08:20
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There's a bit of a question mark over whether even the Duo is still available. At last report, the person importing them has ceased to do so, although even if that is true, the reasons are unknown.

The lack of discussion about other Vu+ models is probably because none have been released commercially in NZ, so I don't see any need for suspicion. I too would expect that if you were to bring in a Uno, it would work after a bit of setting up, but for myself, I'd find the restrictions of a single tuner too limiting.



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  Reply # 516670 5-Sep-2011 09:03
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We don't actually watch TV that much, but when I do I'm after the best experience I can. I guess I'm just surprised that I seem to be the only one interested in the Uno. I'll ruminate on it for a bit, but will let you guys know how I get on if I do decide to splurge.


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  Reply # 516712 5-Sep-2011 10:19
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nullpainter: We don't actually watch TV that much, but when I do I'm after the best experience I can. 


In NZ, for free to air content, this means freeview HD/terrestrial/UHF.

After that it's freeview satellite, which is all SD.  I personally have not a lot of joy from the upscalled output, but your results may differ.  I find it ends up sharper but with furry/jagged edges on stuff resulting from the upscalling process.  This whole thing.

I currently have the basic Ultraplus 700 hdmi unit for various reasons.  It's SD only and I just let the TV handle the upconversion, like it will with every non full HD source.  So what I'm getting at is upconversion is a nice to have, but I personally wouldn't suggest it as a sole reason to spend a lot more.



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  Reply # 516726 5-Sep-2011 10:36
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Unfortunately we're in the hills in Wellington and live too close to a television tower, so our terrestrial signal is strong but noisy and Freeview HD doesn't work too well (read: pretty useless).

Up-scaling isn't a huge thing for me, as I realise there's only so much that can be done with SD. I'm more attracted to the physical look of the unit itself and the user interface. Yes, I fully realise that spending $$$ for a pretty UI is daft... ;)

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  Reply # 517837 6-Sep-2011 22:45
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nullpainter: Unfortunately we're in the hills in Wellington and live too close to a television tower, so our terrestrial signal is strong but noisy and Freeview HD doesn't work too well (read: pretty useless).

Up-scaling isn't a huge thing for me, as I realise there's only so much that can be done with SD. I'm more attracted to the physical look of the unit itself and the user interface. Yes, I fully realise that spending $$$ for a pretty UI is daft... ;)


I've been well-pleased with the Ultraplus HDMI700 PVR. Great to be able to watch live athletics from Sth Korea on SBS without handing over dosh to SKY.
PVR is simple to operate. I've a 320GB 2.5" plugged into usb. Can't recall any probs. That said, when I plugged that hard drive into my laptop last weekend to tidy up the contents, laptop couldn't see it. Desktop wanted to format it. I've done this tidyup exercise before without any issues, but something so far unexplained has happened. The hard drive remains fully operational on the Ultraplus regardless.

I think there is another box on the market though, not an Ultraplus, which offers the HD channels ex Aussie for not too many more dollars. Could be worth investigating, 'cause it's all about content methinks. Restrict yourself to the Freeview channels and, well, just dont.

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  Reply # 517848 6-Sep-2011 23:04
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What's unexplained is why on Earth whoever cobbled together the firmware for the Ultraplus units chose JFS as a file system, instead of EXT3.

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  Reply # 518051 7-Sep-2011 11:59
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xarqi: What's unexplained is why on Earth whoever cobbled together the firmware for the Ultraplus units chose JFS as a file system, instead of EXT3.


JFS - thanks for that. I'll have a webprowl for something to enable my Vista machine to see it. 

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  Reply # 518057 7-Sep-2011 12:04
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nullpainter: Yes, I fully realise that spending $$$ for a pretty UI is daft... ;)
  No it's not, I fully agree with you!



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  Reply # 518058 7-Sep-2011 12:06
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Jaxson:
nullpainter: Yes, I fully realise that spending $$$ for a pretty UI is daft... ;)
  No it's not, I fully agree with you!


Oh well, in that case...! ;)



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  Reply # 518396 8-Sep-2011 09:06
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Well, against my better judgement and being overly swayed by shiny things, I've just ordered a Vu+ Uno from a UK supplier. Hope to hell it works...!

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