Best Freeview Recorders in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 12, 2019
Do you wish to use the Freeview Play service for getting access to all of your favourite TV shows and channels, but lack the proper equipment? If so, then you need a Freeview recorder. Read on for our picks of the top 5 models and find the best Freeview recorder for your home entertainment system! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Max Output Resolution
Interfaces
Built-in Memory
Control
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

Owners of smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android can control the receiver directly from the screen of their gadget: the functional Humax LIve TV App allows you to watch a TV program and record your favourite shows, even when you are far from home.

CONS

Remote is bulky and large.

OUR VERDICT

In prime time there are a lot of interesting TV shows on various channels, and how do you manage to watch them all? The solution has been found: this model is capable of simultaneously recording up to 4 channels at once, so you will not miss anything important anymore.

detailed parameters
Type

DVB-T2 (470 MHz to 862 MHz)

Max Output Resolution

1920x1080 (Full HD)

Interfaces

RF-in/RF-out, 3-RCA video out, optical audio out, HDMI-out, 2 x USB-ports, Ethernet (RJ-45) port, built-in Wi-Fi

Built-in Memory

500 GB (Up to 250 hours)

Control

Control panel on receiver, Remote control, Humax Live TV App (available on iOS and Android)

Dimensions

28 x 20 x 4.8 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

In addition to 2 x USB ports (1 front and 1 rear), there is also a slot for SD cards: thanks to it, you can not only play multimedia content shot with smartphones and action cameras, but also copy files to the internal memory.

CONS

The interface is unclear visually and counter intuitive.

OUR VERDICT

This model is not only a functional device for viewing and recording DVB-T2 programs, but also acts as a full-fledged multimedia player: it plays almost all modern video formats (including MKV) from external media.

detailed parameters
Type

DVB-T2 (470 MHz to 862 MHz)

Max Output Resolution

1920x1080 (Full HD)

Interfaces

RF-in/RF-out, optical audio out, HDMI-out, 2 x USB-ports, slot for SD cards, Ethernet (RJ-45) port

Built-in Memory

500 GB (Up to 258 hours)

Control

Control panel on receiver, Remote control, Diga Player App (available on iOS and Android)

Dimensions

30 x 17.9 x 5.2 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Due to the large number of interfaces, the procedure for connecting the receiver to the TV will not cause any difficulties: the HDMI connector will be relevant for displaying images in Full HD quality on the LCD panel, and thanks to RCAs or SCART, you can output the signal to CRT TVs.

CONS

Built in HD works pretty loudly.

OUR VERDICT

If you have been a subscriber of SKY services for a long time, then this recorder was created especially for you: the ability to record TV shows on the internal memory of 500 GB and a slot for premium viewing cards are just some of the advantages of this model.

detailed parameters
Type

Dish (950-2150 MHz)

Max Output Resolution

1920x1080 (Full HD)

Interfaces

RF-in/RF-out, 3-RCA video out, SCART video out, optical audio out, coaxial audio out, HDMI-out, USB-port, Ethernet (RJ-45/RJ-11) port, built-in Wi-Fi

Built-in Memory

500 GB (Up to 360 hours)

Control

Control panel on receiver, Remote control, Sky Service App (available on iOS and Android)

Dimensions

34.6 x 25.5 x 7.3 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The remote control in the kit has small dimensions and boasts a sleek and rounded shape, so it’s really convenient to control the device with it. All of the buttons are large and clearly marked to allow for easily finding the functions that you want.

CONS

Some users complain of poor reception.

OUR VERDICT

If you do not want to spend a lot of time tuning all the digital channels and radio stations available in your region, then we recommend that you purchase this model: the initial setup will take a few minutes, and the recording of the live broadcast is carried out with just one click of a button.

detailed parameters
Type

DVB-T2 (470 MHz to 862 MHz)

Max Output Resolution

1920x1080 (Full HD)

Interfaces

RF-in/RF-out, 3-RCA video out, SCART video out, optical audio out, HDMI-out, USB-port, Ethernet (RJ-45) port

Built-in Memory

500 GB (Up to 300 hours)

Control

Control panel on receiver, Remote control

Dimensions

26.5 x 20.5 x 5.3 cm

Warranty

2 years (registration required)

PROS

The advanced design of the hard disk ensures quiet operation, so even during the recording of TV shows you will not hear the characteristic sound of a rotating spindle. Passive cooling eliminates the ever-buzzing fans inside.

CONS

Starting up is really slow.

OUR VERDICT

Buying the BT Youview+ Set Top Box, you can achieve the highest image quality even when watching free channels: the device has confident reception of a digital DVB-T2 signal, and its conversion and output to Big LED TV is in Full HD resolution (HDMI cable included).

detailed parameters
Type

DVB-T2 (470 MHz to 862 MHz)

Max Output Resolution

1920x1080 (Full HD)

Interfaces

RF-in/RF-out, 3-RCA video out, SCART video out, optical audio out, HDMI-out, USB-port, Ethernet (RJ-45) port

Built-in Memory

500 GB (Up to 300 hours)

Control

Control panel on receiver, Remote control

Dimensions

23.6 x 15 x 4.4 cm

Warranty

1 year

Humax FVP-5000T/500

Record 4 Channels At Once

Back in the old days of TV, it was usually easy to catch the one television programme a day that you wanted to watch. With so few television channels that were available, watching TV wasn't difficult, provided that you were able to sit down and watch your favourite shows at the right time. Nowadays, though, it's a totally different story. With so many different channels available, it's not uncommon for people to be stuck watching just one show while another that they want to watch is airing on another channel at the same time. This is especially true when there's an important football match happening at the same time as your normal favourite TV shows air. What is a person to do?

The solution to this modern problem has been found: the Humax FVP-5000T/500 Freeview Play HD TV Recorder is capable of simultaneously recording up to 4 channels at once, so you will not miss anything important anymore. This works by way of the box including 4 different receivers that let each one tune into a different channel and record simultaneously, letting you watch an important football match from start to finish while letting the device record your favourite TV shows so you can watch them later. You never have to miss your shows again!

Review of Humax FVP-5000T/500 Freeview Play HD TV Recorder

Full Featured Set Top Box

The recording capabilities of this device are astounding, but they are far from all that it has to offer. This device works as a receiver for the Freeview Play TV service, giving you access to the dozens of free TV channels available through it, as well as access to several VOD (Video on Demand) services. The device also includes catch up features for several services, including BBC iPlayer, iTV Hub, Demand 5, and others. The catch up services can all be accessed on this device thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi module, which lets you set the device up on your wireless home network. Owners of smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android can control the receiver directly from the screen of their gadget: the functional Humax LIve TV App allows you to watch a TV program and record your favourite shows, even when you are far from home.

The device itself comes standard with 500 GB of storage capacity, which is enough storage space to hold up to 250 hours of recordings. For those who really like to binge watch shows that they've recorded, other models with larger storage capacities are also available. You can even access Netflix on this box if you already have a subscription, letting this device become the true center of your home entertainment system.

Humax FVP-5000T/500 Freeview Play HD TV Recorder in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Panasonic DMR-HWT130EB9

Dual Tuner Box

The rise of DVRs within the last couple of decades have made them pretty common devices to find in a home nowadays. Many of the DVRs of the past had some big limitations, though, namely the ability to only record and view one channel at a time. This meant that for those who wanted to watch one TV show while recording another at the same time, this was an impossible task to do on the same television. However, in recent years, devices with two or more tuners have become more commonplace, and this has even extended to Freeview Play recorders.

The Panasonic DMR-HWT130EB9 with Twin Freeview+ Tuners is a great example of a Freeview recorder that includes twin tuners to let you record and watch your favourite TV shows at the same time. Scheduling conflicts no longer have to make you prioritise one show over another, as with this device they are a thing of the past. Just set the box to record both shows at the same time, and you can watch them at your leisure, not needing to do anything extra. The 500 GB of internal storage gives you up to 129 hours of HD quality video, so you should have plenty of space for storing multiple episodes from your favourite TV shows, with plenty of extra room to spare for future recordings.

Review of Panasonic DMR-HWT130EB9 with Twin Freeview+ Tuners

Full Media Player

This model is not only a functional TV recorder for viewing and recording your favourite Freeview Play programs, but also acts as a full-fledged multimedia player: it plays almost all modern video formats (including MKV) from external media. In addition to 2 x USB ports included on the unit (1 front and 1 rear), there is also a slot for SD cards: thanks to it, you can not only play multimedia content shot with smartphones and action cameras, but also copy files to the internal memory. This lets the device act as a defacto hub for your home entertainment system, letting you watch all media on the same TV without having to share it with other devices. This is especially great when your TV only has a limited number of input ports.

Speaking of ports, along with those mentioned above, this device allows for connecting to virtually any kind of HDTV, as it includes connections for HDMI as well as for RF antennas. The included RJ-45 port lets you connect the device to your home network and allows for programming the recorder remotely with the Panasonic Remote Recording Service app, which is available for most smartphones.

If you're looking for the best Freeview recorder that not only plays and records shows from the Freeview Play service, but from external media as well, this device will be exactly what you are looking for.

Panasonic DMR-HWT130EB9 with Twin Freeview+ Tuners in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

SKY DRX890WL

Great for SKY+ Subscribers

One of the more popular TV services in the UK today is Sky+, a subscription service that uses satellite instead of terrestrial antennas to deliver television channels to your home. The Sky service has proven to be popular for a number of reasons, but namely due to its ease of use as well as to the large number of channels that are available on it. Since the Sky+ subscription service has been discontinued, this has left those still using the service with a huge array of free to view TV channels available on the service. However, you still need to use a Sky+ set top box in order to view them.

The SKY DRX890WL HD Set-top box lets you take advantage of the multitude of free-to-view channels that are still available through Sky+. If you have been a subscriber of SKY services for a long time, then this recorder was created especially for you: the ability to record TV shows on the internal memory of 500 GB along with a slot for premium viewing cards are just some of the advantages of this model, which all go well with its main purpose of being able to access the huge number of channels available. This makes this PVR the perfect replacement for those with older Sky+ boxes that have ceased to function properly.

Review of SKY DRX890WL HD Set-top

Connect to Any TV

Due to the large number of interfaces on this Sky+ set top box, the procedure for connecting the receiver to the TV will not cause any difficulties: the HDMI connector will be relevant for displaying images in Full HD quality on any LCD panel flatscreen HDTV set, and thanks to the RCA and SCART connectors, you can output the signal to CRT TVs if you haven't yet upgraded to an HDTV. In short, you won't be left out in the cold if you happen to have an older television, something that is far too common nowadays with the move to HDTVs in the marketplace.

This Sky+ set top box includes everything that you would expect from such a device. The programme interface and recording schedules are extremely easy to navigate and use, something which often can't be said of other set top boxes. Setup of the device should take no more than a couple of minutes, especially if you are using this box to replace an older Sky+ receiver. Just connect the box to the TV and mains, turn it on, and the setup process should automatically configure itself to work with your existing dish. If you are a long time Sky subscriber who needs to replace an ageing box with something more modern, this device will definitely be the upgrade that you need.

SKY DRX890WL HD Set-top in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Manhattan T2-R

Extremely Simple Setup

As great as using the Freeview Play service is to have access to plenty of free TV channels, there is usually a problem that accompanies it. Most Freeview recorders tend to be relatively complex devices with obscure interfaces that are often extremely difficult to set up for the first time. This often leads to a lot of confusion for first-time Freeview Play users when they try to setup their new Freeview receiver and have a hard time tuning in to all of the available channels. This often leads to many people simply not being able to take advantage of all that the Freeview Play service offers, which in turn leads to a less than optimal experience overall with the service.

The Manhattan T2-R Freeview HD Recorder is an extremely easy to setup and use Freeview recorder that makes everything as simple as possible. If you do not want to spend a lot of time tuning all the digital channels and radio stations available in your region, then we recommend that you purchase this model: the initial setup will take just a few minutes, and the recording of live broadcasts is carried out with just one click of a button. It simply doesn't get any easier than this, allowing anyone to get the most of the Freeview Play service even without the least bit of technical expertise.

Review of Manhattan T2-R Freeview HD Recorder

Control With Ease

Not only is the setup of this device extremely simple, but its overall ease of use extends to virtually all aspects of the device. The remote control in the kit has small dimensions and boasts a sleek and rounded shape, so it’s really convenient to control the device with it. All of the buttons are large and clearly marked to allow for easily finding the functions that you want. In fact, you aren't limited to just controlling the Freeview recorder with it. This learning remote can also be used to control your TV as well, letting you control both devices with just a single remote.

Along with the Freeview Play service, this device offers a full array of functions that are expected of modern set top boxes. A number of Internet TV channels are included as well, which let you take advantage of plenty of free as well as premium content directly on this device. The 500 GB of internal storage gives you the ability to record up to 300 hours of your favourite TV shows, while giving you some features to enhance your live TV watching experience, such as pause and rewind features so you never have to miss anything. All told, this extremely easy to use Freeview Play recorder is probably the best option for the less technically inclined users who just want their devices to work without a fuss.

Manhattan T2-R Freeview HD Recorder in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

BT Youview+ (77328)

A Great Simplicity

While other companies are trying to boost the users’ experience by expanding the internal storage of their devices and adding more and more bells and whistles, the BT just improves the existing features. With that in mind, the Youview+ 77328 gets the job of recording HDTV videos done efficiently and without a hassle.

The device features a 500 GB internal hard drive, which allows for recording up to 150 hours of HD content right from the TV broadcasts; alternatively, you will be able to record up to 300 hours of your favourite TV shows in standard definition (480p). Additionally, you can connect external hard drives as well as USB sticks with high capacity to increase the allocated space for recording even more.

Unlike models from competitors, the BT Youview doesn’t have any hidden monthly fees. In case you have already subscribed to any existing TV contracts, you can get the access to the Home Hub router by paying a small monthly cost. Otherwise, you are getting the device that completely frees you from any TV subscriptions, moreover, you won’t even need a satellite dish.

Review of BT Youview+ (77328) with Twin HD Freeview

Record Shows for up to 7 Days

The great simplicity of the design allows you to use this handy DVR with just a simple aerial antenna and a broadband connection. Speaking of internet connection, you will need it in order to set up the device. Since this model doesn’t have a Wi-Fi support, you will have to connect it to the existing internet cable. After that is done, you are free to use all the amazing features this little box has inside.

What is interesting about this model is that it supports a special YouView+ mobile application that offers you an exceptional freedom of choice when it comes to setting the TV shows on record via your smartphone. An easy-to-use, comprehensible user interface of the mobile app allows you to set up the recording schedule in just a few taps. As for the native YouView+ app pre-installed to the box itself, you can quickly open it by pressing a single button on the remote controller that comes supplied with the device. Likewise, you can use the search feature to catch the shows you may have missed. On top of that, the remote control allows you to quickly switch from HD to SD and back in case the channel supports HD streaming.

The randomly allocated memory of the device allows you to dig through all the programmes that have been on-air for up to 7 days back, which will be convenient for those who want to watch all the interesting stuff they've missed in one session.

In case you are searching for a reliable HD recorder which can be used by any member of your family, look no further, the BT Youview+ 77328 is the pick for you.

BT Youview+ (77328) with Twin HD Freeview in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a Freeview Recorder?

One of the benefits that people have living in the UK is having access to the Freeview Play service. This TV service gives users a way to access digital television channels along with allowing access to premium services such as video on demand, all without having to sign up for an expensive subscription to a paid cable or satellite television service. Since it was first launched in 2002, Freeview Play has grown to having over five million users, giving them free access to over 70 TV channels along with 15 HD channels and seven different on-demand players. The best part of this, though, is that the service is free, not requiring a single subscription fee. The only thing you would have to pay for is access to premium services that require their own separate fee.

How does one go about getting access to this service? The best way to do so is to purchase a Freeview recorder. These devices not only give you access to all of the services and TV channels offered by Freeview Play, but they also let you record your favourite shows for viewing later at your own convenience. These devices, in essence, act as a set top box plus a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for the Freeview Play service, adding to the overall convenience that the service offers.

If you need a new TV for watching the digital and HD broadcasts offered through Freeview Play, take a look at our reviews of the best flat screen LED TVs in the UK.

What Features to Compare

In today's age, there are relatively few people who haven't used some kind of set top box or DVR before, as they have been standard fare with cable and satellite television services for a while now. However, just because people have used one may not mean that they are familiar with all of the features or characteristics that such devices have. If you are looking to buy a Freeview recorder in order to take advantage of the great Freeview Play service, the below characteristics will be good to know in regard to any recorder that you buy. Being aware of these will let you find the best Freeview recorder for your entertainment needs.

Type

Probably the most important characteristic of any Freeview recorder that you buy will be the type of receiver that it has. Most Freeview devices come with one of two different types of receivers: DVB-T2 and Dish. The DVB-T2 connector lets you receive terrestrial broadcasts of Freeview Play through your home's aerial connection, whereas the Dish connector is for boxes that also connect through the SKY+ satellite service. Most users will probably need a device with a DVB-T2 connector, whereas those who already use SKY+ will want one with the Dish connector.

Max Output Resolution

The max output resolution of any Freeview recorder shows the maximum resolution that the device will output to your TV. Almost all Freeview recorders output at a minimum of full HD resolution (1920x1080), which is the maximum output offered by all of the devices reviewed here.

Interfaces

Freeview recorders often don't reside in a vacuum, and as such, they will often offer various interfaces for connecting to other devices, most commonly for TVs. All of the devices reviewed here offer multiple interfaces, including ones for RF connectors, RCA, SCART, and HDMI. Please note that if you are connecting the Freeview recorder to an HDTV set, you will want to connect through HDMI in order to take advantage of full HD resolution broadcasts.

Memory

A very important characteristic of any Freeview recorder is the amount of memory built-in to the device. Since these devices allow the recording of various TV shows, the built-in memory will show you how much capacity the device has, which translates into how many hours of video can be stored on the device.

Control

Lastly, the method of control of the device will be an important point to consider. Almost all Freeview recorders come with some kind of control panel on the device itself, as well as a remote control, but some also offer control through a smartphone app of some kind. If you prefer using the latter method of control, you will want to make sure that whichever device you purchase supports it.

All About Freeview Play

With the number of Freeview recorders that we have just reviewed, some of you who have never used the service before may want some more information on what exactly Freeview Play is. In short, it is a free-to-use digital TV service that gives home users access to dozens to free channels, along with some premium services including video on demand. Along with this, Freeview Play also integrates itself with your Internet connection in allowing for the use of many online TV services, such as BBC iPlayer as well as catchup services. If you are brand new to Freeview Play and all of the services it has to offer, read on for some helpful information on getting started with it, as well as how to take advantage of all of the great content that it offers.

Getting Started

For anyone using the Freeview Play service for the first time, getting started may seem a bit harrowing, but it really isn't. What you need in order to get started with the service is a Freeview recorder, a TV, and an aerial antenna. For the additional streaming and catchup services that are offered, you will also need a broadband Internet connection as well. And that is it! For the free to view channels, you won't need to pay any subscription fee. Just keep in mind that using streaming services such as Netfilx will require their own subscription fee, but the broadcast channels available through Freeview Play do not.

Channels and Services Offered

One of the great things about Freeview Play is that it gives you instant access to about 95% of all TV that is available in the UK. The Freeview Play service includes 70 channels, which includes 15 HD channels, along with seven different on-demand players, all without a monthly subscription. This makes standard broadcast TV now quite competitive with many paid cable and satellite TV services, with only the premium channels missing. Channel 100 on your player will give you access to the on-demand services, along with the ability to search for your favourite TV shows and recommendations. Pretty handy for a free service!

Subscription Services

Most Freeview receivers and recorders give you access to premium subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, giving you a single device to manage all of your entertainment needs. Since the Freeview Play service itself is free, this gives you extra money to use towards the subscription service of your choice, giving you a greater access to content than you have ever had before, even through paid subscriptions to cable and satellite TV services.

Extra Services

With all of the available services listed above, you are already getting a wealth of use in a free service, but there is even more that Freeview Play has to offer. If you want to watch your favourite shows while on the go, you can use the Freeview app on your tablet or smartphone, along with instant access to the streaming and catchup services available through your Freeview recorder. This lets you catch your favourite shows while travelling if you don't have the ability to set up your recorder to record them beforehand. The Freeview app is available for both Android and iOS users, so mobile devices of all kinds can take advantage of this service.

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Publish Date: 2019-11-12 14:37:09