Disclosure: This product was sent to me free of charge by to be reviewed. However, as per my PR info disclaimer, this review is my unbiased honest opinion of the product.
Product: YouView TV set-top box
Price: £229 (other YouView boxes avaliable with TalkTalk & BT)
Age Range: n/a
Manufacturer’s Description: Humax’s DTR-T1010 YouView recorder makes any TV Smart. Forget about subscriptions and enjoy Freeview HD, apps and widgets in one clever, space-saving box. Thanks to great catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and more – missed episodes are set to become a thing of the past. What’s more, along with its huge built-in hard drive, it can even pause, rewind and record live TV so you can watch what you want, when you want.
Rating: (5/5 stars)
Review: We were sent the “Humax DTR-T1010 YouView Smart 500GB Freeview+ HD Digital TV Recorder” to try out and review. First impressions were good; the box is an attractive, sleek looking piece of kit, and the interface is easy to navigate and very intuitive.
For your money, you get the set-top box, a HDMI cable (actually quite impressive as these are commonly not included with devices these days), a network cable, the remote (inc. batteries) and the instruction guide. A quick start guide called “getting connected” is also in the box, along with a 2 year warranty registration card and instructions for setting up your remote to control your television set. This is all very well packed inside the box, with moulded cardboard keeping the box securely in place, and everything well wrapped up to prevent scratches in transit, etc.
It’s super-simple to set up your YouView box, you just have to hook it up to an aerial cable, a TV, and your network. The TV connection can be via HDMI or scart cable – great to have that option for older TVs, although you won’t be able to enjoy the HD channels available.
If you want to continue having an aerial-in connection to your television, you can make use of the RF loop through and connect an aerial cable from the “antenna out” socket to your TV. This function is set to OFF by default in the settings, so you’ll need to change that, and you’ll be unable to use the box in the eco power-saving mode.
Once set up, you have access to over 70 channels, plus a wide variety of shows and films via on demand. Most of this is free, but you can also sign up to Sky’s Now TV service to get access to a lot of fairly new movies also, for £8.99 a month. You can scroll backwards in the TV guide by 7 days and watch the programmes either from your recordings or on demand.
We found the guide and menus all very easy to use and didn’t refer to the user guide once to figure out how to do anything. Having previous experience with both Virgin TiVo and Sky+, we found the feature set and menu layout either equal or better. The menus are all clear & easy to read, displayed in full HD, unlike all of the Virgin menus – which was something that drove me batty.
The ability to pause and rewind live TV is a godsend when you have small children needing urgent attention (or the doorbell rings) half way through a dramatic scene in your favourite TV show. Being able to record all of our favourite shows so they are waiting for us in our recordings, to watch after bedtime, is one of the simple pleasures we have come to enjoy from having a PVR (personal video recorder).
We spent a few minutes teaching Georgie the basic controls for the remote, and she can now happily browse the on demand children’s section to watch her beloved Peppa Pig and Raa Raa. She also knows how to put “74” into the remote to switch to CBeebies HD! Sometimes it might take a few tries, but she always gets there in the end – handy when Lydia makes off with the remote and inadvertently changes the channel!
There are parental controls built into the box and you are prompted during set up if you want to turn these on. You can set a four digit pin to prevent your children from accessing inappropriate channels or shows. With parental controls turned on, if you try to watch a show before the watershed, that was recorded after the watershed, you have to put your pin in.
One thing I was impressed with is the great accessibility options you get with YouView. Not only are there easy one-touch buttons on the remote for subtitles and audio description, but you can also zoom the screen to make the menus easier to read, and there is a high contrast menu theme to make it easier for partially sighted viewers to read the text.
You can use an iPhone app to view a TV guide and set recordings from wherever you are. The app is really easy to pair with your box, and the recordings show up almost instantly in the upcoming recordings screen. The app also has a Now & Next guide which gives a great overview of what live TV you have available to view. The only thing I really miss from Virgin’s TiVo iPhone app is the ability to use it to control your box directly – but you could get a RF transmitter plug in for your phone, like the RedEye Mini (here on eBay for just £20) and use a separate app to control your box.
The up-front cost is higher than the “free” boxes you get with Virgin or Sky, but you quickly save that money back by not paying for your TV service. We have now switched to cable internet from Virgin, TV via YouView, and a VOIP phone line from Vonage. That’s £25 per month for broadband, and £6 per month for an anytime calls phone line, and no line rental or TV payments required (other than the license fee, of course). The equivalent service would cost £51.99 per month from Virgin, although that does include about 20 or so extra TV channels. £51.99 – £31 is a £20.99 monthly saving. At an RRP of £229, we would recover the up-front cost of this YouView box in less than 11 months, although some of these savings are made on the fact we no longer pay line rental.
In conclusion, we have been really pleased with the YouView box, and with the service. The on demand content is really easy to browse and search and you can find things to watch either by looking through the on demand listings or by simply browsing the past week on the listings screen. We are going to be saving a lot of money whilst still enjoying the ease & convenience of a well designed PVR, with plenty to offer for both us & our children. 5 stars!
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