Last Updated on
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This recorder allows you to watch the TV you want, when you want. In brilliant HD.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get instant access to our latest reviews, helpful tips and exclusive deals.
Simplistically, a DVD player is the thing you use in playing a DVD which itself is manufactured under the ‘DVD Video’ and ‘DVD Audio’ technical standards both of which do not mix. That is, the DVD player is made to play both video and audio but the technology that makes this possible are two different things entirely. Furthermore, DVD players can play audio CDS as well but they will not play a video DVD and an audio disc at the same time.
As you well know, DVD players do not work alone. They have to be connected to a television to watch the DVD content you put in, which could be anything from The Godfather to Mind Your Language to your very own home-made tape content.
A DVD player is not the same as a Blu-ray disc player and you won't be able to play them with your DVD player because they use different wavelength lasers. While the DVD player uses a Red laser, the Blu-Ray disc player uses a Blue Violet laser. However, all Blu-Ray disc devices will play DVDs because they are something known as ‘backwards compatible’. DVD Players, on the other hand, are not that way so they won’t work with Blu-ray. And just in case you’re thinking you want a Blu-ray player right now, I’d say why not? You could use both.
You should know, though, that not all Blu-ray players play audio CDs or VCDs.
Got it? Cool.
When buying a DVD player you want one with both picture and audio quality. Do you remember CD players? Not many people still have those nowadays. Anyway, a DVD player is very similar to a CD player in the way it works.
Here’s what happens each time you pop your movie into the tray. The red laser assembly shines the laser beam onto the surface of the disc to read a pattern of ‘bumps’. The DVD player then decodes the MPEG-2 encoded movie converting it into a standard composite video signal. It does this while also decoding the audio stream, after which it sends it to a Dolby decoder where it is amplified and released through the speakers making everyone go aww, wow, or simply, oooh, ahhh in the throes of home entertainment.
In a nutshell, the DVD player's job is to find and read the data stored as bumps on the DVD. So, next time you see ‘Loading’ or ‘Searching’ on the front panel of your DVD player, you know exactly what’s up with it or should I say in it.
After reading this, you may begin to appreciate your DVD player more, especially if it has served you reliably through the years, because considering how small the bumps it must find and read to work each disc, your DVD player has to be an exceptionally precise piece of equipment which is why after some DVD players start to age, they increasingly fail to find data in discs they once played and you get that annoying ‘disc error’ message.
Most DVD players will allow you to enjoy both audio and Video CDs (VCDS). And like we already hinted above, most DVD units come with a home cinema decoder, for example, Dolby Digital or Digital Theatre Systems (DTS). And as you have noticed in most of the ten DVD Player models reviewed above, DVD players these days play videos in the MPEG-4ASP video compression format like DivX which wasn’t the case with earlier models.
Just in case this is your first DVD player, to use the DVD player after it has been connected to a TV, you simply power it on, press the button that opens the tray, place your disc in and the tray will glide back in.
Next, you just sit back, relax and enjoy your content.
Even though most DVD players will have to be connected to a TV, there are portable devices, like the Apeman rechargeable DVD player mentioned above, that come with adjustable LCD screens of their own and stereo speakers.
And like we said when we talked about the Apeman, Portable DVD players are often used for long road trips and travels and kids love them a great deal. Some models come with two screens ideal for two viewers in the back seat of a moving vehicle to watch the movie.
Practically every portable DVD you will encounter will come with a plug for your 12-volt car charger.
So which DVD player should you buy?
Some prefer to buy a compact, lightweight DVD and carry it about. Some others decide to have one DVD player committed to their living room, a second one in their bedroom and the portable player in their car.
Whatever works for you…and your pocket.
For best results as far as obtaining video is concerned, it’s best to use the component video connection ports in the DVD player. Most come with at least the red, white and yellow video sockets. Make sure the DVD player you buy has those ports especially if your TV has them too. The same applies to audio connectors like the coaxial and optical connections.
Always make sure the connectors on your chosen DVD player are compatible with those on your TV.
As with all electronics, cables are crucial for the DVD player. Therefore, almost all DVD players come with a video cable to connect the player to the TV and depending on what kind of cable it is, it produces ‘happy' pictures to various degrees. Thus, you should be on the lookout for a DVD player that comes with an HDMI cable.
With an HDMI cable, you can be sure of significant picture quality because the HDMI cable separates black and white signals from the color signals resulting in greater clarity.
However, if you prefer a DVD player that doesn't come with an HDMI cable, make sure that it comes with an HDMI port so you can buy the cable yourself.
Usually, the resolution is described in numbers and letters and this is crucial for you to understand when buying a DVD player.
The numbers represent the lines of pixels on the screen and 1080p, 720p, and 1080i are the numbers that are associated with High Definition TV (HDTV). The letters ‘p’ and ‘i’ following the numbers stand for ‘progressive’ and ‘interlaced’.
The global movie industry makes use of a regional coding system which involves the use of digital codes by which they have divided the world into six regions. The discs they put out are formatted with these codes which, therefore, means that only a DVD player that is compatible with a given code will play the coded DVD in question. For example, a region one DVD player (US/Canada) cannot work with a region two (Europe/Japan) DVD.
However, as you must have noticed with several of the DVD players above, there are multi-region DVD players that can operate DVDs from several or all regions.
You are better off with one of those.
Nowadays, several models of DVD players feature picture-quality enhancement known as "up-scaling". When connected to an HD television, such DVD players can enhance picture resolution to as high as 1080p resolution to take advantage of the display capabilities of the high-definition TV.
You may want to get a DVD player like that.
Virtually all the DVD players reviewed above will allow you to plug a USB stick or memory drive directly into the player. This will enable you to access additional media files without having to use your computer.
If you ask me, I’d say there will certainly come a day when you will need to use a USB device on your DVD player, so it’s important to get a DVD player that has this feature.
Dolby Digital has been the standard for surround sound for donkey years now. Surround sound technology can produce anything from 1 to 5.1 channels of surround- the Dolby Digital Plus technology even offers up to 7.1 or more channels of surround.
So if you like to watch your movies or listen to your music with psychedelic home theatre sound effects, then getting a DVD player that has this feature is non-negotiable.
A ‘good budget DVD player’ is one that meets most or all of your specs without costing an arm and a leg. Most budget DVD players come in compact sizes so if 'compact' is not your thing, you may have to gear up to pay the price for what you want.
Before buying a DVD player make sure to check that the player connects well to your TV, as per available ports and sockets, and that it will play on the kind of TV you have.
Finally, even though it’s safer to go with trusted brands, if you’re on a tight budget, the best bargains are found with those lesser-known brands that manage to come with kick-ass quality and all your specs.
A: How to buy the best DVD player for a home is relative to the particular needs of that home.
How much or how little space do you have on your shelf? That determines the dimension specifications to go for.
Do you have a family with teens who love constant music and sound effects? Then you may be thinking of a multi-disc player with surround sound.
Is it going to be your primary DVD player or a second one you want to have in your bedroom?
If it’s a second one, you can do with something pretty basic and noiseless.
Do you have little kids that can’t be held responsible for personal care of the unit? That will determine what design of DVD player you should choose.
So, ask yourself what you (your home) needs from a DVD and buy accordingly.
A: Yes. Portable DVD players come with inbuilt, rechargeable batteries.
As I said earlier, a portable DVD player is a lightweight DVD player with a small LCD screen attached to it, commonly used during a long car ride or a flight.
Portable DVD players are powered by rechargeable battery packs that can be charged through an electrical outlet or a car charger. Most portable DVD players have a charging light on the front of the device that tells you the battery is charging.
When charging is complete, the light may turn to a solid green colour or shut off altogether.
A: Yes, you can.
If you own an Android phone with an infrared (IR) blaster, then your phone has the potential to interact with any other device that receives commands via IR light beams. These include practically all of the remote-controlled devices in your home- TVs, set-top boxes, streaming boxes, home theatre systems, air conditioning units- and of course your DVD player.
To activate this, though, you will need an app that will enable your phone to issue the IR commands to your DVD player or whatever electronic device.
There are a few apps that can do this for you; apps like Anymote, IR Universal Remote, Peel Smart Remote, and several others.
Simply go to Google Play Store and make your pick from the menu.
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.