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Which UK TV programme recorder to buy?


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I'm feeling a bit bohemian as friends don't believe that I haven't bought the necessary equipment to record a UK TV programme (I have a Sky box for freeview). So I'm giving in and am going to buy a recorder but my question is which one should I go for. I will be getting someone to bring it over from the UK so any recommendations would be great.

Thanks, Chris
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There has been quite a lot about this already, but to put one thing right,[geek] if you're using a Sky box it's not for Freeview. Freeview is the UK version of the free-to-air digital programmes via an aerial, nothing to do with Sky and definitely not via a dish.

I assume you're just using the Sky box to receive the free programmes; do you want to replace the Skybox with something that has both a tuner and a recorder, or simply add another box for the recordings?

I would recommend ditching the Sky box and buying a HUMAX Foxsat HDR. This is a Freesat receiver and recorder in one box and uses a hard disc to record the programmes. If you do a search on these forums you'll find all the pros and (possibly a few) cons. The programme list is slightly different but you'll get all the normal UK (BBC, ITV, C4, C5 etc) programmes. I've been very pleased with mine.

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I might suggest you ignore the  Sagem Freesat HD box.  We have one.  It needs to be reset every 2 or 3 days.  It is really poorly programmed and the customer reviews on Amazon confirm that these are not isolated problems with this box.

If you are using a sat dish to receive Sky then you will need to get a dual LNB and some co-ax cable to run a second cable to the box.  If not, the box will still work fine but you will only be able to record or watch one channel, whereas with the dual feed you can watch one as you record the other.  

And it's Freesat you are looking for NOT Freeview.

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Nothing to stop you from keeping the Sky digibox (and access to Motors TV, Five USA - can't miss Justified, now can we?- Fiver etc,) and get a Humax (if that's what you want) or similar as well which will record from the Sky box.  My Panasonic has twin Freesat recorders which means I can record two channels and watch another if there's a three-way clash.  Stonking.  The latest version has Blueray and a 500Go hard drive but there are lots of less fancy versions which are cheaper available also.
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[quote user="cooperlola"]Nothing to stop you from keeping the Sky digibox (and access to Motors TV, Five USA - can't miss Justified, now can we?- Fiver etc,) and get a Humax (if that's what you want) or similar as well which will record from the Sky box.  My Panasonic has twin Freesat recorders which means I can record two channels and watch another if there's a three-way clash.  Stonking.  The latest version has Blueray and a 500Go hard drive but there are lots of less fancy versions which are cheaper available also.[/quote]

The Humax doesn't work like that; it won't record automatically from the Sky box, it has its own tuners and programming and is totally independant. Trying to do it any other way removes the ease and convenience.

You could have both boxes but would need a feed for the Sky plus two for the Humax. I would look at the age of the Sky box; if it's relatively new, 2/3 years say, you may wish to keep it and use it in another room, otherwise I'd ditch it altogether and just have the one new box. I found that our first Sky box lasted 6 years, but the replacement ones failed quickly, and thereafter I only bought secondhand ones at £30 a go. The only drawback is losing those programmes which are on Sky but are not on Freesat as Coops mentioned.

Humax has HD capability which you won't have with the Sky box unless you're on the latest box with a subscription. You need an HD TV of course!

EDIT: I've just about done this topic to death now. [:-))]

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Quite right, Sid, a Quad LNB is required.  My point was merely that the Humax box is not the only bit of kit on the market which records and picks up Freesat channels.  What's more, Freesat does not have the Five US, Fiver, Motors TV channels, which for some (me) makes it a no-no on its own.  Thus my own solution is to use the Panasonic recorder/decoder and plug the Sky free-to-satelite machine into one of the 3 other signal input ports on the recorder so I have the best of all worlds.  The "ease and convenience" of automatic programming is not of much interest to me as I'm so used to doing it anyway that prorgamming it is no real hassle. 

Besides, you still have that for the Freesat channels. Keeping Motors TV and the regular dose of Timothy Oliphant is far more important![:D] But you can do both with the Panasonic (and possibly the Humax too, but you know that better than I.)

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[quote user="sid"]

 I've just about done this topic to death now. [:-))]

[/quote]Sorry to keep it alive then.  But I do think it's worth pointing out (yet again) the fact that the Sky Freesat equivalent box has more channels which the advice to "ditch the Skybox" continues to completely ignore every time this subject comes up.  It's probably of no interest to KneeGel but it might be.  I may not be the only motorsport enthusiast on this forum.
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Well thanks for all the responses.

ooooh la la, I think I'm going into hibernation! I don't know what I've got other than a sky box, a small black dish sitting half way up the outside wall which allows me to view all the BBC and ITV programmes and a few others thrown in! I was told if there is ever a problem with the sky box to ring the chappy that installed it and to never ring the sky number. So with all that firmly planted in my little grey matter I am quite content other than on a saturday night I would quite like - and I can hear your groans! - to record strictly come dancing and perhaps as winter arrives one or two other dramas to watch at a few hours later when I stagger in from the fete that I didn't want to go to in the first place, having stoked up the old poele, got the toast on the go and the bottle of wine opened and finally draped myself over the too small a sofa that will give me jip in my back by the early hours but hey who cares this is the life! I just want something simple to be able to record the programmes that's all nothing complicated as I can't be bothered - how lazy does that sound!

As you are by now probably aware the fete started this afternoon and I am three sheets to the wind already !!

so bye bye for now, and thanks for all the info I'm off to put the toast on!.....Chris
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[quote user="cooperlola"][quote user="sid"]

 I've just about done this topic to death now. [:-))]

[/quote]Sorry to keep it alive then.  But I do think it's worth pointing out (yet again) the fact that the Sky Freesat equivalent box has more channels which the advice to "ditch the Skybox" continues to completely ignore every time this subject comes up.  It's probably of no interest to KneeGel but it might be.  I may not be the only motorsport enthusiast on this forum.[/quote]

I think you will find with the new satellite (Astra 1N) coming on-line any-time now (CH4 HD currently testing), I think you will find that FREESAT will soon have all those that are currently on $ky freesat. This will have a spot-beam to alleviate the problems of cross border broadcasting.

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So I take it, knee gel, that you would be happy with the range of programmes available on freesat, i.e. these.

In that case a freesat recorder looks like your best bet, the Humax one is very popular and the Panasonic is excellent too, I believe. The Sagem doesn't get a very good press, but is cheap, while the Samsung one currently advertised on the page linked above looks worthwhile too. As far as I know all the recorder options are HD. They will work perfectly OK with a standard TV; you don't necessarily need a HD set but you won't see HD programmes in high definition on a SD TV of course.

The other thing you will need is a second LNB and cable from your dish. The LNB is the sticky-out bit that actually receives the signal. You need this because the recorders have twin tuners, so you can, for instance, record one channel while watching another, and each tuner needs its own LNB and cable. The easiest way to achieve this is to buy a dual (or quad) LNB that can be fitted to your existing dish, so no realignment should be necessary. You can get these on ebay or Amazon, and aren't difficult to fit yourself, or you may like to leave it, and running the second cable, up to your tame installer.

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[quote user="crabtree"][quote user="cooperlola"][quote user="sid"]

 I've just about done this topic to death now. [:-))]

[/quote]Sorry to keep it alive then.  But I do think it's worth pointing out (yet again) the fact that the Sky Freesat equivalent box has more channels which the advice to "ditch the Skybox" continues to completely ignore every time this subject comes up.  It's probably of no interest to KneeGel but it might be.  I may not be the only motorsport enthusiast on this forum.[/quote]

I think you will find with the new satellite (Astra 1N) coming on-line any-time now (CH4 HD currently testing), I think you will find that FREESAT will soon have all those that are currently on $ky freesat. This will have a spot-beam to alleviate the problems of cross border broadcasting.


[/quote]I shall keep my eyes open for this.  I don't want to pay Mr Murdoch anything and in fact I have an Amstraad decoder and bought the card for £10 on flee-bay but I'd still rather not back anything he has a hand in so I'd be pleased if Motors and Five USA make the transfer.  [:)]  Thanks, Crabtree.  Let's hope it happens then the necessity to keep the other box will disappear (although there are still times when I record three progs at the same time - usually on Thursdays![:-))])
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Thanks Will,

Yes, having looked at the amount of programmes available on the link I would certainly be more than happy with that range so all it remains for me to do is to make the decision between Humax and Panasonic and then speak very nicely to a friend who has said they will set it all up for me.

Thanks to all, Chris
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