It might have only one tuner and no hard drive, but this versatile bargain Freeview HD box is a force to be reckoned with
Unusually in this day and age, the TechniSat HDFS is a single-tuner Freesat HD box rather than a fully fledged PVR. But look at the price: a good £70 cheaper than its next most expensive rival, and £120 less than the all-conquering Humax Foxsat-HDR.
Not that it appears low-rent in any way. Build quality is good, and the TechniSat's fascia-mounted display is a welcome addition, making it both classier to look at and easier to live with than rivals. It's a shame that the remote isn't quite so impressive, but it works well enough.
The HDFS is also impressively flexible with its two USB sockets – one front, one back – plus SD/MS/MMC and CompactFlash readers. All support replay of a variety of file formats, so it's easy to display movies, music and pictures on your TV.
There's a wired Ethernet connection to support streaming from your PC, too, and TechniSat even produces a wireless dongle if you're not a fan of cable clutter.
There's no word on BBC iPlayer support yet, but given TechniSat's evident keenness on media integration, it's a fair bet the HDFS will follow Humax and provide easy access to it in the months to come.
Those USB inputs can also be used to support an external hard drive too, so if you want you can upgrade the HDFS to become a basic Freesat recorder: just plug in a suitable drive and off you go.
Of course, as it's a single-tuner design you can't watch one programme while recording another, but it's still an easy and affordable way to expand your options.
It’s a natural
In action the good news continues: for its price, the HDFS is terrific. Image quality is impressive, with sharply defined edges and impressive motion stability, while colours are natural.
We also like the TechniSat's scaler-bypass feature: you can set it to output video in its native form and let your other outboard kit do the legwork.
The HDFS is a fine receiver. True, for more money you can get twin-tuners and a PVR, but the TechniSat's slicker and more appealing in many ways.
TechniSat HDFS review
Superb for the spondoolicks. If TechniSat ever makes a twin-tuner version, the big boys would really start to sweat
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