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!