Echostar Freesat HD Recorder Review

Echostar 500GB freesat+ HD Digital TV Recorder with TV Anywhere
Echostar 500GB freesat+ HD Digital TV Recorder with TV Anywhere

Do you remember when TV was simple? I can remember just one channel (BBC) which only came on for a few hours a day, and was watched on a bubble like square monochrome TV that really DID hurt your eyes if you watched it for too long! Probably the origin of “You’ll get square eyes if you sit that close to the TV” that the elders of the family would proclaim if you got too comfy on the floor.

My, have things changed! We had more channels with the addition of ITV and another BBC channel to try to keep the monopoly, then after enjoying the three channel affair of tele-visual heaven for some years, along came channel 4! Then Channel 5 popped up, followed by a plethora of ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 the plus ones, E4, More 4 and BBC three to name but a few.... but wait!!! Only the five channels were available on a standard TV, and recording was done with the trusty video recorder, which also had a tuner to accept the five channels. So where did you go to get the other channels?

By the way, if you aren’t looking for a review and just want a link to buy the item for the best price, then click here to order directly from Amazon.

Enter DIGITAL TV. We have fast-forwarded our video recorder, and now have options of a set top box, a receiver which allows more that the five channels to be beamed directly to your TV and all thanks to a satellite dish or in some cases, cable television, which was not in all areas). You could still record these channels using the EXT1 SCART input connection on your video recorder (if it had one). Only one channel could be recorded though, and it was the one you had the set top box set to. Also, cable or Sky TV involved paying a subscription, and getting the other channels was not a feasible option without this.

Fast-forward to the present time, and the tape has just got tangled; there is far too much for the poor old video recorder to handle. The big switch over happened, forcing the hand of upgrading aerials for Freeview, getting a satellite dish for Sky or Freesat, or a cable TV provider. HDTV and 3DTV, we have flown via almost time travel to a new age, where media and technology are available to all, and an awful lot of it is subscription free!

Ok, back to the review, I just got so excited...

The DISH Network ViP922 SlingLoaded HD DVR Receiver offers a media system with a difference; you don’t need to be home to watch what you recorded! The build quality is superb, with a “pyramid base” style of design hinting its Slingbox feature. Picture quality is sharp and natural, with an HDTV showing the true benefit of HD. This receiver can use your existing Sky dish (maybe the one you stopped using as the price went up) or you can install a new dish, set up for the Astra group of satellites at 28.2 degrees east of true south. A twin output LNB is needed to enable the twin tuners to offer full flexibility, though you can still record and view with one tuner, it just avoids being able to watch and record conflicting polarities (satellites uses V or H format in their antenna, just as aerials need to be set vertically or horizontally depending on masts, but the satellite system uses both which are automatically set according to channel, hence if you watch a V oriented channel you need another tuner to record an H oriented channel). Don’t worry if it doesn’t make much sense, all you need to know is a multi LNB is needed to get the best from this receiver. A replacement LNB may be all you need (and the cabling for the extra feed) if you already have a dish, and by getting a four input LNB, Sky plus can be used alongside this receiver with no problems, if you so wish.

You can record two different programmes and watch a previously recorded item all at the same time, and this is a High Definition receiver, so channels include BBCHD, BBC One HD, ITVHD and Channel4HD, all free to watch. Also, the 500GB drive means you get a very respectable 100 hours of High Definition recording or 300 hours of standard resolution, which of course will be in actual terms a happy medium between the two of around 240 hours of mixed. You can pause, record and rewind live TV, and use red button interactive services and green button trailer booking. It also allows one touch and series recording, on demand TV services, BBC iPlayer and ITV NetPlayer. You can attach it to your home network to enable the TV anywhere feature, which allows you to set and view your digital TV recordings from anywhere - throughout your home, at work, on the train or on holiday. The iPhone, iPad & Android are amongst the popular devices supported by downloading the SlingPlayer Mobile app (which may require fees, please check first), whilst Mac and PC users can watch using the free Internet-based SlingPlayer. The remote control can learn TV codes directly from any TV remote.

This is only available by net order from Maplin, but if you, as I do, love the choice of channels with both excellent quality and easy access of features and content, then this could be the receiver for you.

Key Features
• Watch standard definition and high definition freesat channels with no monthly fees
• Watch one channel while recording another or record two channels while watching a pre-recorded programme
• TV Anywhere - watch TV wherever you are on PC, Mac and selected mobile devices
• Pause, record and rewind live TV
• One touch and series recording
• On demand TV services - BBC iPlayer and ITV NetPlayer
• Red button interactive services and green button trailer booking

The SlingLoaded TV anywhere feature allows you to set and view your digital TV recordings from anywhere - throughout your home, at work, on the train or on holiday. Your entertainment is available at the touch-of-a-button. iPhone, iPad & Android are amongst the popular devices supported by downloading the SlingPlayer Mobile app*, whilst Mac and PC users can watch using the free Internet-based SlingPlayer. Remote control can learn TV codes directly from any TV remote. The HDS-600RS is a fully-featured media entertainment centre, equipped with a high capacity 500GB hard disk drive as standard, it provides you with abundant space to store your favourite recorded programmes. Record up to 300 hours of digital TV in Standard Definition (SD), or up to 100 hours in full Digital High Definition (HD).

* Fees for the relevant application for your chosen platform may apply - please check the relevant app store for your device for latest prices.

UK customers, please click here.

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