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​Best Freeview Recorder Reviews UK
The Top-Rated Models In 2019

Last Updated on

If you're like my friend, Derek, it means you're sick of paying over £120 for a TV subscription. And you're on the lookout for a fresh alternative.

Sounds like you're looking for some Freeview action!

Over 95% of the nation's favourite programmes are available at no monthly cost. If you bought your TV in the UK anytime from 2010, Freeview came with it and Freeview offers over 90 TV channels. So you are connected already.

What you need now is a Freeview recorder to record your favourite TV programmes live. And you could later come back to watch at your convenience.

I now present ten of the most popular models.

Best Freeview Recorders Comparison Chart

Editors Choice
This digital TV recorder is quite easy to start to use
Record your favourite content at the tap of a button
The interface is clean, intuitive and responsive

The 10 Best Freeview Recorders On The Market Reviewed

Imagine that you subscribed to Sky TV for seven years. During which time they increased your subscription by over 70%. This is despite their set-top box proving to be unreliable each year. So you summoned the courage to ditch pay-TV and go Freeview all the way. Your only concern now is how to maximise your free content and enjoy it to the fullest.

The Humax HDR 1100S is a great way to do just that.

Standout Features

This Humax unit can record two programmes simultaneously. There is also a feature to preview programme listings for the week.
The HDR 1100S can also pause and rewind live TV while recording. It comes pre-loaded with relevant apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. So if you subscribe to those platforms, just plug and play!

Pros
  • This digital TV recorder is quite easy to start to use.
  • The 500GB memory size is adequate to serve you and your family. It's unlikely you will be getting it to even 50% full in the next couple of years.
  • The HD picture quality is impressive. Several users stated that the picture is far better than their old SKY HD+ unit.
Cons
  • The remote control makes a clicking sound when you press the buttons. Many users find this annoying.
  • The device asks if you want to view your content in HD. Although it still has the standard definition (SD) content present. Seeing as a lot of stations are now in High Definition (HD), many users would like an option to filter out the SD TV stations.

Sleek and beautiful design with in-built Freeview Play. And the user has a choice to access catch up for all stations and seamless network connectivity. What's not to like in the Panasonic DMR HWT250EB?

Standout Features

The Long Record feature on this device doubles your recording capacity. You can record up to 684 hours in HD and 259 hours in normal mode.

Catch Up TV, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and All 4 are available, and the series link function ensures you never miss a thing.

In addition, the programme guide shows you content from 8 days ahead and seven days behind.

Pros
  • This Freeview recorder has sharp picture quality
  • You can record for very long durations.
  • Reliable recording function: With this, you don't have to miss any more episodes of Coronation Street because it allows you to record the entire series.
  • Good Functionality. Freeview HD works well. The WiFi broadband connection is hitch-free. Integration with TV is seamless.
  • It is well-made.
Cons
  • Many users complain about the sluggishness of the programme guide.
  • The remote control is often slow to respond.
  • Slight audible noise when working.
  • The EPG is slow even when connected to a router.

Perhaps you never imagined there could ever be a set-top box that would do some of the things your smartphone does? Well, welcome to the Panasonic DMR HWT 150EB.

Standout Features

Just like the HWT250EB, this Freeview recorder doubles your recording capacity with its Long Record feature. You get to record up to 341 hours in HD mode and 129 hours in normal mode. It works seamlessly with an HD 3D Camcorder and is compatible with all Android devices.

On the function menu, there's quite an array of services like Catch Up TV, iPlayer, All 4, Netflix, Youtube and more.

Pros
  • This unit has twin HD Freeview tuners which allow you to watch a programme and record another simultaneously. However, if you like, you can record two different programmes at the same time.
  • It has an Internet button on the remote which allows you to surf the web. Thus giving you a smartphone experience.
  • It's straightforward to install. Simply plug in the enclosed HDMI cable, turn on your TV and the recorder, and you're all good to go.
  • Excellent viewing quality on this one.
  • The pause/record feature gets to work at the push of a button. There is also a Netflix button which you may find quite useful.
Cons
  • The remote is a little cluttered compared to some alternatives.
  • The EPG is slow.
  • Though present, Amazon Prime is not displayed on the Freeview panel.

This black and rugged set-top box comes with HD/SD MPEG2/4 technology. It supports 1080p resolution, built to cater for the UK market. This device comes with additional feature of audio description for the visually impaired.

Standout Features

Of course, the Finlux Freeview 1TB Freeview Recorder comes loaded with PVR functionality. You can pause and rewind live TV. With over 12 HD channels to watch Freeview, 7-day catch-up services and 1 TB recording capacity, we can tell you that you are in for a treat with this set-top box.

Pros
  • It's easy to set up. Five minutes or less is all it takes.
  • It comes with WiFi connectivity.
  • It has excellent Picture quality via HDMI.
  • Record your favourite content at the tap of a button.
  • You can watch Freeview stations numbering up to 100 in total, including Freeview HD stations like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
  • The Electronic Program Guide (EPG) is smooth.
  • Recordings appear in the library and all your data organises itself.
  • This set-top box offers 'limitless' storage capacity with its 1TB hard drive.
Cons
  • It doesn't have Netflix or any streaming apps.
  • It doesn't have WIFI connectivity. For the internet, you will have to use an Ethernet cable.
  • It does not have Freeview Play.

This set-top box is rated number 29 on Amazon's Bestsellers list in the set-top boxes category. With its aesthetically appealing slick black design, this lovely device will surely catch your fancy. And just so you know, it is specially designed in the UK by Manhattan for your ultimate subscription-free experience.

Standout Features

The T3-R has great features such as a strong WiFi, a quad-core CPU for fast performance and support for Ultra HD and HDR, as long as your TV can handle it.

Pros
  • The interface is clean, intuitive and responsive.
  • You can easily navigate forwards and backwards in the programme schedule.
  • It comes alive quickly while maintaining low power consumption.
  • The hard drive is 500GB and it holds as much as 300 recording hours nicely sorted into categories for you.
  • It comes with a good quality remote control that contains shortcuts directly to your recordings, the programme schedule, and the apps.
  • This clever device will always also record in SD as a contingency. So if the signal of your HD channel isn't reliable and your programmes sometimes fail to record, this becomes an invaluable feature for you.
Cons
  • You won't know if a programme is recording because there is no LED display available. To confirm your recording you will have to go into the programme' info'.
  • There is no Netflix on this device, so don't be in a hurry to toss aside your 4K Blu-ray player if you intend to keep streaming content from those sites.

Rated number 35 on Amazon's bestsellers list in the set-top-boxes category. This very quiet box gives you the chance to store countless films and TV episodes. You can also download the app for Android and IOS and see the line-up of shows that will be airing soon.

Standout Features

This recorder towers above all others as a pioneer in Ultra HD TV technology. It comes with the BT SPORTS Ultra HD channel which you can only enjoy if you are a BT subscriber and your TV is compatible with Ultra HD.

You can pause, rewind and record up to 600 hours of Standard Definition TV. Also, you can record as much as 250 hours High Definition TV content and 60 hours of Ultra High Definition content.

The device has a slick and easy-to-use menu system.

The EPG grants access to an on-demand library.

Pros
  • The device is quite easy to get up-and-running.
  • Compared to some other options, this product is remarkably quicker in navigating the EPG. It also launches players such as Netflix quite swiftly.
  • The interface is sharp, responsive and very intuitive to use.
  • Even if your TV is an older HD model that doesn't support Ultra HD content, this box will work perfectly with the HDMI version of your TV.
  • It can handle 4K recording for SKY, BT or Netflix.
  • The LED light on the front dynamically changes when the box is recording.
  • The 1Tb disk provides adequate storage for large amounts of HD video.
Cons
  • The buttons on the remote are too close and very small.
  • The device does not come with Amazon Prime.
  • Only 26 Freeview stations are free to record on this device. The rest are BT-subscription-required stations, online apps, BBC and ITV iplayers.

This recorder allows you to watch the TV you want, when you want. In brilliant HD.

Standout Features

This box has a unique programme that allows you to scroll as far back as 7 days and watch the TV you missed. You can also to scroll forward so you know what to look ahead to.

With space for 300 hours' worth of TV, you can record all the TV you want, anyhow you want.

Your recordings can be sorted by date or title. Should you forget to fix record for your favourite show, the YouView Smartphone app allows you programme your box to record remotely with your iPhone.

Pros
  • When installing, there's no need to provide WiFi passwords or scan manually for channels. Simply plug in the power, HDMI, antenna and the broadband and it does everything for you.
  • Great functionality in general.
  • EPG is excellent and allows easy navigation between the TV channels and recorded programmes.
  • The picture quality is amazing.
  • It has all the necessary apps: Netflix, NowTV, iPlayer, All5, ITVHub, 5, etc.
  • The unit is easy to get ready for initial use.
Cons
  • The You View Box lacks the smart fast-forward feature that rewinds a few seconds after each fast forward.
  • Although this box will record the TV program you mandated it to record; if that TV program is rescheduled, the recording is missed.
  • The remote is very problematic. Because all 11 main control buttons are crammed together in the middle, clicking the button you want is hit-and-miss.

Rated number 17 in Amazon's Best Sellers' ranking of set-top boxes, the T2-R box is compact, near-silent and fits into any room. It is specially designed in the UK by Manhattan for a memorable Freeview HD experience.

Standout Features

Unlike several other alternatives, this box comes with a large, well designed remote control. This has all the constantly used buttons well-spaced at the top. In line with your expectations, the box allows you to record the entire series for playback whenever you choose.

 If you need to record more programmes, the T2-R will suggest alternative broadcasts to make it happen for you.

Pros
  • This device boasts of five-star picture quality.
  • Ease of recording and access to recorded programmes.
  • The manufacturers constantly update the software on this unit. Your device will constantly improve right under your roof.
  • Batteries are provided for the remote controller which also comes with the package.
  • It comes with a 1.2m HDMI cable.
Cons
  • The lack of the search feature is discouraging but the manufacturers have promised this feature in a future update.
  • No WiFi connection is available. You will need an Ethernet cable to connect to a router.

This box enables you to watch over 60 TV channels for free. Also, there is a simple 8-day forward-7-day-backwards electronic program guide (EPG). This lets you check to see if you have missed a programme days after it may have been on. It also offers you the option to series-record. This way, you never miss an episode, to begin with.

Standout Features

The FVP- 4000T possesses triple digital TV tuners with which you can record 4 programmes simultaneously.

With the built-in WiFi, you can easily connect the recorder to your home network. This way, you enjoy catch up services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.

These renewed products work and look like new. They have been duly tested and checked, and they all come with the 1-year Renewed Guarantee.

Pros
  • This refurbished item will arrive in mint condition with a 12-month guarantee.
  • The picture, sound, apps work just fine.
  • Good value for the price.
  • This Humax has Freeview, not Freesat. It requires an aerial to receive a signal and is not designed to work off a dish. Though Channel availability differs slightly between the two options, there is fundamentally no difference in picture quality. Just as long as you can receive a strong signal, you will enjoy a great picture quality.
Cons
  • It's slow and clumsy with an unnecessarily complicated menu.
  • It sometimes fails to record programmes and other times, it records unsolicited programmes.

Rated number 24 in Amazon's bestsellers' list of set-top boxes, the Humax HDR-2000T is a digital television recorder loaded with recording, multimedia, home-networking, and on-demand services for the ultimate subscription-free TV experience.

Hook the device up to an HD-compatible TV and brace yourself to enjoy 10 HD channels plus up to 50 Freeview standard definition TV channels and 24 radio channels.

Standout Features

The Humax HDR-2000T allows you to record up to 300 hours of Standard Definition (SD) TV content while providing access to over 70 channels, ten of which are HD channels. You also have the option of recording two programmes simultaneously while watching one. And, surely, you can record, pause and rewind live TV all you want.

Pros
  • You can transfer recorded programs to a USB stick for viewing on a computer. This option is not available in a lot of other brands.
  • It's a great organiser. When recording series, it creates a new folder and puts them all in together so you don't have to sort them by yourself.
  • It copies recordings to the USB drive in the background. This way, you can carry on using it for other things while it copies.
  • Both recording and picture quality are excellent.
Cons
  • Apart from BBC, this recorder does not support other catch up apps like ITV Hub and Demand 5.
  • When recording, the blue indicator turns red. But, it also turns red in standby mode so you cannot tell if the device has started to record whist in standby.

Conclusion

If you've read up to this point, it means you are really serious about ditching Pay TV for good.

Come to think about it. Without Pay TV, what will you miss? The Discovery and National Geographic channels perhaps. Well, I believe you can treat yourself to a well-deserved holiday with the £1000 you'll save over the next year.

So… what Freeview HD recorder should you buy?

What you want is a durable recorder that provides you with full options and is HD. Therefore, I highly recommend the number one on our list: The Humax HDR-1100S 500 GB TV Recorder.

I think you'd be so satisfied with this purchase that you may be throwing an emancipation party to celebrate your freedom from the shackles of pay-TV.

Go on over to amazon.co.uk and get yourself a unit you deserve regardless of price.

Never regret a purchase.

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Freeview Recorders Buying Guide

How To Get A Freeview Recorder

You can get one at an offline electronic shop or from online stores like amazon.co.uk.
It's easy now that you know what you want. All that's left is to find it and grab it—after paying for it, of course.

Features To Consider Before Buying A Freeview Recorder

The number of tuners

With two tuners you can record two programmes at once. You can do this while watching a third programme from the hard drive or, with some recorders, live.

Accurate series recording and storage: You must ensure it can record full series and has good storage. The bigger the hard drive capacity in Gigabytes (GB), the better. Any unit containing a 500gb hard disk or more is your ideal choice.

EPG

One would have thought that electronic programme guides (EPGs) would be largely generic but this is not the case. For example, the EPGs from Humax and Panasonic are quite different as you may have noticed above.

Generally, a good EPG will not only spot recording clashes, but it will offer alternative programme times if there are any.

Apps

Popular apps and services that can be found on set-top boxes include Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime, Skype and news and weather services, amongst others. But just because they're there doesn't mean they'll work for you. Many of them, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos and Now TV, require subscriptions.

Another thing to note is that all these features, Catch-up, YouTube, and the like, would only work when TVs are connected to an internet router.

Other Connections

If the rest of the set-top box of your choice is perfect, it might just be lacking a few ports that are compatible with the rest of your equipment. Just remember that adaptors that enable HDMI cables to connect to a different type of port, including Scart sockets, are available for less than a £12 price.

What Is A Freeview Box – Do I Need One?

The Freeview box is a digital receiver that converts the digital Freeview TV signals into a format that enables us to view it on our TVs. It requires an external aerial which cable is connected to the set-top box indoors, which is in turn connected to your TV. It is what we have been talking about from the first paragraph of this article.

For those who don't know, Freeview itself was launched in 2002. It is the UK's digital terrestrial television platform which is operated in collaboration with BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and Arqiva, (the transmitter operator). This is why many of the free-to-air channels in Freeview Play are under licence from these companies and their subsidiaries.

Speaking of licence, in 2002 the above-mentioned consortium of media companies took over the licence of the defunct ITV Digital which collapsed that year. And thus undertook to provide consumers access to the six digital terrestrial television multiplexes covering the UK via a television antenna.

And as we already explained above, you can get Freeview on a range of different devices. This includes Freeview set-top boxes which is our subject matter at this present moment.

How to Connect The Freeview Box

To set up your Freeview box, simply follow these steps:

1. Plug your antenna lead into the circular antenna socket at the back of your Freeview box.

2. Connect your SCART or HDMI cable into the appropriate sockets on your TV. Then plug the other end of your antenna lead into the socket labelled 'AV1' (for SCART) or 'HDMI' (For HDMI)

3. Turn your TV on with the remote control.

4. Turn on your Freeview set-top box. Your TV should detect the box automatically. If it doesn't, go to the AV1 or HDMI channel with your remote.

5. Start tuning your box with the remote. Make sure to store all the channels you find.

Alternatives to Freeview Recorder

YouView

YouView is a service that combines the regular free-to-air Freeview channels with catch-up TV from those same channels. It thereafter, streams to you through your internet broadband connection.

Some YouView boxes also offer additional pay-per-view channels and programmes. But since many Freeview boxes offer catch-up TV nowadays, the two services have become more or less identical.

Which is why there are a couple of Youview boxes featured in this top-ten countdown.

Freesat

Unlike Freeview, which sends its signals over-the-air via transmitters, FreeSat sends its signals via satellites. The channel selection is similar for both, although FreeSat offers a wider variety of channels.

To get Freesat signals, you would need a satellite dish on your roof and a FreeSat receiver indoors. This willcome either as an in-built component of your TV or as a separate Freesat set-top box.

Internet video streaming sites that connect to your TV can be used to view both Freesat and Freeview Channels. This is not done through the air, but via the internet.

To view the content, you can either use the built-in channel apps such as BBC, iPlayer or the ITV Hub or apps that stream live channels to you, via the internet.

As we mentioned earlier, some Freeview boxes combine these two services of offering you direct over-the-air channels, as well as catch-up apps that make use of your broadband connection.

How do Freesat and Freeview Recorders compare?

To begin with, some recorders, like our top pick, the Humax HDR-1100S 500GB TV Recorder, offer both services.

However, a strictly-Freesat recorder can at best record two channels simultaneously. But some Freeview recorders record more than one channel at the same time. You may want to check out the Humax fvp-5000t while you're on this subject.

Freeview Recorders Buying FAQs

Q: Can you record on Freeview TV?

A: Yes, you can.
And the easiest way to do it is to get a Freeview HD Recorder or Freeview Play Recorder. You buy the box, plug it in and enjoy the privilege of choosing when you want to watch your favourite TV programmes. It's that simple.
To record a show with a Freeview Play Recorder, you click on the TV Guide, and then choose the programme you want to record. This depends on whether you want to record a single episode, or a whole series.

Q: Can you record Freeview on a smart TV?

A: Let's imagine you bought a new 52-inch HDTV with Freeview and you're looking to record programmes. You'd probably wonder if you need to buy a digital video recorder in addition, or if your Smart TV can do the work with its pre-loaded Freeview.

There are TV models that allow you to directly record programmes onto a USB hard drive without the need for a digital video recorder or VCR. All that is needed is for you to plug your USB stick or external hard drive into the provided USB port. If you have a TV like this, then, yes, you can record TV programmes on your smart TV.

Q: How do I record on Freeview?

A: With more than 90 Freeview channels and up to 15 HD channels available to record from via the TV guide, a Freeview recorder is the surest tool to help fulfill your recording needs. With it, you can record all the shows you want and enjoy playback at any time that's convenient for you.

As we said earlier, simply highlight and select the show you want to record, then either choose to record a single episode or the whole series. With most recorders, you can do this even while watching, pausing or rewinding live TV programmes.

Super cool, right?

The coolest factor for you, though, is that you have said goodbye to Pay TV.

And once you have bought a Freeview recording unit, you're done. There will be no more recurring monthly costs… as long as you bought a solid functional model.

This, my friends, is a victory.

Therefore, I hereby drop my proverbial pen, raise my glass of wine and I say 'cheers'…

To you, my friend.

About the Author Harry Thompson

Hi, I'm the founding guy of Product Spy. Highly experienced in home and garden appliances through years of online research. I want to help everyone in the UK by streamlining their research when buying a new product. I will be putting the hours in researching to find the best products so you don't have to.