* Prices may differ from that shown
I really wanted the Thomson Top Up TV box to succeed, as it is an affordable, well featured alternative to Sky+; trying FIVE different units and two different models over a two year period kind of confirms that. It was so affordable, I was like the bloke on the advert who was mistakenly fleeing the shop before the staff realised they hadn't charged him enough.
Picture quality from the DTI 6300-16 is pretty good. The machine allows you to output an RGB signal over the Scart lead. This means you get the best possible colour reproduction on your TV. If you're a flat-panel user, you might lament the lack of HDMI output, but in practice if you invest in a good Scart lead, the picture looks decent. Sound was pretty decent too, there are both analogue and digital audio outputs on the 6300-16, so you can hook it up to your hi-fi, or go to town connecting it to your AV receiver. Don't expect any Dolby Digital over Freeview though, the best you can hope for is a smattering of Dolby Pro Logic.
There are some downsides however. For example the menu system can become a bit slow and lag at times, and it seems to take forever to delete a show of an hour or more. It is also quite loud, and could potentially really annoy some people. But sometimes it could certainly annoy people if left on at night and you can forget to turn it off.
There isn't a great deal to report in terms of styling with the DTI 6300-16. It's a black box with pretty much nothing to break up the design. It's neither horrifically ugly nor stunningly beautiful. To the front, there are some basic controls that allow you to enter the menus and control the channel you're viewing. There's a flap that conceals the Top Up TV card this is virtually invisible though, which is good, because you'll never usually need to access it. The remote control is something of a tribute to the Sky remote. It looks incredibly similar, but that's not really a criticism -- it's both comfortable to hold and easy to use.
Picture quality from the DTI 6300-16 is good. The machine allows you to output an RGB signal over the Scart lead. This means you get the best possible colour reproduction on your TV. If you're a flat-panel user, you might lament the lack of HDMI output, but in practice if you invest in a good Scart lead, the picture looks decent. Sound was strong too, there are both analogue and digital audio outputs on the 6300-16, so you can hook it up to your hi-fi, or go to town connecting it to your AV receiver. Don't expect any Dolby Digital over Freeview though, the best you can hope for is a smattering of Dolby Pro Logic.
The Thomson DTI 6300-16 is a great Freeview PVR. I think the 160GB hard drive is a little small, especially when you take into account how much content is provided by Top Up TV. With the addition of series link, you may well find yourself with a full hard drive in no time at all.In terms of picture quality and functionality it's hard to beat the Thomson -- the only player that offers more is the similar 160GB Humax PVR-9200 . The Humax has the slight edge on ease of use, but the Thomson does manage to turn Top Up TV into a pretty well-rounded service.
I bought this box around 4 years ago when I din't have sky. I was advised to get one by one of my close friends who told me that it was a really good product to own. He said that he uses it every day and that it made life a lot easier. SO I took his advice and went out and bought one for around £75 from Comet. It came boxed with a remote control, the unit, a power lead and a well written instruction manual which had been translated into several common world languages. This set top box was on the cheaper side of the available boxes but was not the cheapest on offer.
It is a dark grey colour predominantly with a ribbon of chrome around it. It is not the best looking machine, and frankly is quite boring/bland looking but I didn't buy it to look good.
This system allowed you to pause and rewind live tv which was a great novelty for me. I was forever leaving the room and then a try or a goal was scored so this let me slip away to make a cuppa or pop to the toilet without the risk of missing any of the action on the tv.
Unfortunately it lacked reliability when it came to recording tv programmes. On several occasions the light came on to indicate it was recording, then when I returned from shopping, going to the gym etc and sat down to watch the programme I realised that it had half recorded or not recorded at all. This was really frustrating and for that reason I would not recommend this product.
As with gifts, there sometimes comes with it a stigma, a little unseen emotion that won't let you hand it back to the generous bearer, and with this product, I certainly wanted to hand it back to my friend.
Although this was a gift, I understand that the price at the time was quite high and was full of features, but since i am talking about my experience with it, I will. So far this box has been the most bog standard piece of kit I have ever graced the shelf under my TV with, feature wise, its got channels, you probably know the freeview standard ones. Other features were meant to include recording and pausing live TV, up to two channels at once, which would be handy, if it worked. Top up TV is present in this but I don't see the point.
As for the build quality, its not a tight as I would like and sometimes hear a loud fan noise coming from it (probably to cool the hard drive which is supposed to doing stuff, but isn't), it isn't the nicest looking piece of kit either, but that's just my opinion, other people may like it.
Another problem that I have had is having to rescan for channels once every couple of weeks, which is irritating at best.
All in all, it's a good job this was a gift, because if I paid good money for it, I would be less than unsatisfied.
So, at first sights this box seems to give you everything you could want from an expensive TV subscription for a one off payment, it can record two channels at once, has the facility to pause and rewind live TV as it is broadcast, and save programs for later viewing. As well as allowing you to watch all of the many freeview channels in good quality. On top of this it has the facility for top-up TV to be enabled, however I have never used this service and therefore cannot comment on the reliability of it.
Firstly, I bought this box a while back, a few years in fact, at that time the features available were quite admirable, and I was excited to have such abilities without a subscription HOWEVER there are many, many faults with this device. The pausing and rewinding facility are completely unreliable, in fact I don't think I have ever used it successfully. On many occasions after having paused live tv it jumps straight to the live broadcast when I choose to resume. This completely defeats the objective of course, on other occasions it have completely confused the system and I had to turn the box off and then on again to force it into 'forgetting' the whole pause/resume cycle that I had started.
With regard to recording one channel whilst watching another this facility does work well, very well in fact, it's very useful for those days where every channel seems to be playing something you are dying to see, you can just record the one and watch the other (or indeed record them both and watch them both back later) once again the pause, rewind and fast forward facilities are the let down for the box, as even with recorded programs they are faulty and can completely mess up your experience, or on occasions just not work at all.
As you can see from photos of the product, it is perfectly pleasing on the eye and very sleek. The remote works well, it's not chunky and it doesn't have too many buttons to get confused with (at least I don't think so).
Regarding the digital switch over which seems to have made certain freeview boxes fail entirely, throwing channels to random numbers or not getting them at all, in my area (the south) the start of this switch over hasn't caused problems and the box still works, with all the correct channels on the correct number, with EPG information working for all of them.
Overall, I only advise you get this box if it is on a VERY special price, and only for use as a freeview box rather than for it's advertised rewind and pause facilities, because they are simply useless.
I would like to start by saying I acquired this digital box as a gift; and since my previous digibox couldn't record or pause or anything fancy I decided to change to this one and give it a go without second glance, it simply had more features and i'd assume cost a lot more so it would have to be better, right?
I was against paying for the Pay-TV services, and so I never "topped up" to watch shows that weren't free, if I was going to be paying to watch TV i'd get Sky. However the channels that I did get for free had great signal and worked great once i got the arial sorted.
The recording function was always a bit risky and never really reliable, sure the red light came on (to try to indicate it was attempting to record something) but I would then go to see that nothing had been recorded. I never got to the bottom of it. The series record option only let to further disappointment, it seemed only clever enough to record the same time, and not when the program actually started to the end, instead if it started later than the one previously i'd catch it from halfway through, then lots of adverts on the end, very disappointing.
I found out quickly I was unable to delete any of my recorded programs, whenever I tried to delete a few old episodes of anything it would freeze up and require restarting, i fixed this problem by googling for the special repair codes and wiping the whole thing clean.
Usually when running the digibox has a green light but the red light is bearable when on standby, only way to get rid of this light is to remove all power going to it.
If I can save one person from the months of frustration these units cause, then this review will have been worth writing.
I desperately wanted the Thomson Top Up TV box to succeed, as it is an affordable, well featured alternative to Sky+; trying FIVE different units and two different models over a two year period kind of confirms that. It was so affordable, I was like the bloke on the advert who was mistakenly fleeing the shop before the staff realised they hadn't charged him enough.
However the harsh reality was that, although the unit was extremely user friendly and replicated all the recording features that Sky+ offered at the time, it was riddled with software bugs and some of its hardware frailties had not been addressed by the manufacturer from one model to the next. All this eventually made the user experience a nightmare.
The boxes are intended for Top Up TV subscribers, so a substantial portion of the hard drive is taken up with this service. However this can be removed and the box just used as a PVR - which I did - freeing up more space for personal recordings.
For several months you are in recording heaven, as you allow it to completely revolutionise your viewing habits and take care of all your favourite programmes. To paraphrase Mae West, when it was good it was very, very good, but when it was bad...*shudder*
In the fullness of time, there were to be recordings that would jump erratically and others that lost sound or froze. There were recordings that appeared to be there, but wouldn't play as the file was 'corrupted' and others that were not there at all as they had inexplicably 'missed'. I was to look back on these problems wistfully and wish I had counted my blessings. For the worst was yet to come....the times when it wouldn't switch on at all.
Five of these boxes came and went. I am prone to repeating this with high pitched voice and wild hand gestures like a madman. Luckily I only ever paid for one, as I chose to get refunds rather than exchanges to start a fresh warranty period - a wise move.
It would have been more if I hadn't discovered a very helpful online community, who were to system recovery what a paramedic is to patient resuscitation! They even had little nicknames for its various malfunctions, such as the spine shuddering 'amber light of death'.
If you were lucky there was a reset procedure that would bring it back to life without losing anything; if you weren't a reformat might do the trick, but it would cost you your recordings, reservations etc.
The recovery procedures differed slightly between the different models and it was easy to muddle them up. Crouching in front of the unit, furiously tapping front panel keys in a mind boggling sequence before a certain light flashes, isn't my idea of fun on a Friday night.
The review is filed under the DTI-6300, but it could have been allocated to the DTI-6021 as well - I've tried them both.
In the end I gave up the struggle, paid triple and bought a Humax. I have never looked back.
* I have also written this review on Ciao
** My Experience **
I bought this box from Argos for around £80 a couple of years ago. It worked fine for the first couple of months and then a number of problems started to occur.
Firstly, when you were watching a recorded programme from the library and you fast forwarded a bit of it, for example at the ad break, it would sporadically take you back to the start of the programme and you would have to start fast forwarding all over again. The box just decided by itself when it was going to do this and it was very irritating.
The second fault was that it would just decide not to record some programmes for some reason, even though you had programmed it to record them.
The third fault was that it started to freeze at certain moments. Very very annoying when you are in the middle of watching something! We took it back to Argos as it was still within warranty and luckily they did not have the same model in stock and gave us a brand new Freeview box of a completely different make which works perfectly! Do not buy this product - it is faulty from the start.
** Technical Details **
Model: DTI 6300
Features: Top-up TV, digital TV recorder, watch all Freeview channels, record, pause and rewind live TV, twin tuner allows you to record 2 channels, record 180 hours of programmes onto the memory of the box, 14 day electronic programme guide included, 250GB hard disk drive, two SCART sockets, top-up TV viewing card slot
** Price **
This product is available to buy from most high street stores for £80-£100. I bought my box from Argos for around £80.
About 18 months ago, I purchased the Thomson freeview recorder as a cheaper alternative to Sky plus. I found it incredibly useful and very simple to use. However, after a couple of months it started freezing and therefore not recording anything. I initially swapped it for the same one again. only to find that if there is a bit of bad weather, power cut or for some reason it crashes, not only does it not record anything, it also can wipe any planned recordings! Therefore, leaving you in the same position you were before purchasing this!
All in all, when it works it is fantastic, the ability to pause live tv, record programmes with the ability to series link are all great. However, I have found that with this particular brand they can be prone to a few hiccups along the way. All in all, i think you get what you pay for!
I bought my machine just over a year ago from Argos and it has been pretty rubbish from the word go. The first problem I encountered from day one was that when fast-forwarding or rewinding through a recorded programme, if you went any faster than 8x speed (it goes up to 64x) then the machine would freak out and take you back to the last place the programme was played. This was really annoying when trying to speed through ad breaks as I'd end up being shunted back to the start of the programme which I would have to fast-forward through again. I decided to make my peace with this glitch because I was too lazy to be bothered with the hassle of unhooking it all, boxing it back up and dragging it halfway across London to swap it over (it's quite a heavy product). This inertia was to my peril because I have had lots of problems since then, all when only just out of the one year warranty (isn't it always the way?).
The second problem was that for no reason at all I would have missed recordings almost on a weekly basis, and a message would appear on my system saying that the recording had failed. I don't really think I need to be messaged with this info because it is already obvious that the recording has failed due the absence of the programme in the library. What would be more helpful would be an explanation as to WHY it hadn't recorded, but that's clearly too much to ask for.
The third problem is that sometimes the recording wouldn't record properly and whereas you would normally have a time scale showing on the programme that you can view when you pause it or fast-forward/rewind through it which is handy as you can see how many hours or minutes are left on the recording, but on these dodgy recordings it simply wouldn't exist.
The fourth problem, which is the most major, is that in the last six months it has regularly frozen up (usually when left on standby overnight, or whilst trying to delete something from the library) and it would try to re-set itself but without much luck. Some researching online stumped up a few suggestions about button combinations you can use to reset the box, and that worked for the first few months but now it has decided not to, and my box is stuck in a permanent off position, which I think is what's technically known as 'knackered'.
I am, quite frankly, fed up with the whole thing and looking to replace it completely. I know other people with recordable freeview boxes and they do not have the problems I've had. I think perhaps the phrase 'you get what you pay for' can be applied here because I did only pay £120 for it which was at the definite cheaper end of the scale, but I would still have expected it to last a few years even at that price.
It really is a shame because it has some great features; can record two channels at once and you can watch a third programme from your library at the same time, you can set the machine to record either 2 mins or 5 mins either side of the start and end times of your programme which covers you in case of late starts, the set-up is easy (simply go to the menu and scan for channels automatically), you can save up to 120 hours of recorded stuff at any one time (and it tells you the percentage space you have left at any time), you can series link programmes, and it has a 14-day TV guide on it which updates automatically overnight (if left in standby mode) and the machine isn't bad to look at.
All in all the machine would have been great if it did everything it was built to do, but the quality has been utterly rubbish. I will never go this cheap again.
UPDATE: To clarify, when I say 'cheap' this is very much relative to other products with the same features. For one that will only record one programme at a time you will pay considerably less. £120 is the cheapest one I found (the next cheapest with the same or very similar features was about £150).
When my last freeview box gave up the fight, I was faced with a decision buy another cheap one or buy a box that would actually record TV for me and I could pause and rewind TV I was watching. I did my research, I looked at lots of reviews and then I went for what I could afford.
The menu is easy to use and the TV Guide has a 14 day preview but usually only shows programmes about 10 days ahead. It allows you to choose which you would like to record, and if you sign up for the extra channels on top up TV it will record them all automatically for you, so you can choose from many to see which ones to watch. You can also link a series that you like so you never forget to set it to record.
it can be hard to go through all your recorded TV in the programme library, but if you press top up tv on the remote control, you can scroll through the list of channels and the TV recorded on them. They each have a 6 days period before expiry, except the ones you asked them to record, plus the hard-drive is big enough.
It did crash on us, and re set all my recorded programmes which made me annoyed, and top up TV has terrible customer service if you have a problem. But I do enjoy recording my favourite movies and series and watching them later, and being able to pause TV when I leave the room is a bonus.
The remote isn't bad as an all-in-one, but can be laggy when switching from TV to freeview.
Overall it is a good buy, but there are probably better ones out there.
Just over a year ago, I found myself on the lookout for a TV recording device.
I had finally made the decision to throw away my chunky old VHS recorder and was ready to embrace newer technology!
My first instinct was to look at DVD recorders which are generally quite cheap. But then I got to thinking that it would be nice to have a recorder with a hard drive so as to avoid endless stacks of rewritable discs around the telly.
However, these DVD hard drive recorders priced themselves out of my range at the time at a general cost of greater than £200.
Therefore, it was a great delight when I stumbled across an alternative option that was easier on the wallet - the Thomson DTI6300 - a Freeview box with hard drive recording facility and available from Tesco Direct for only £80.
OK - it didn't have the ability to record straight to DVD but I was so enamoured by the price that this didn't matter any more!
Installation of the box was surprisingly easy. There's a clear set of step-by-step instructions in the user manual and the box takes care of configuration of all the channels itself. The first thing I was pleased to notice was that the picture quality was great. There are over 40 free channels to choose from (including Film4, E4, Dave, Sky Three, ITV 2/3/4 and BBC 3/4) as well as Top Up TV - a kind of a pay-as-you-go system which broadcasts material from premium channels.
The Thomson DTI6300 comes with a remote control which looks almost exactly the same as a Sky remote and offers the usual functions of interactive text, programme info, subtitles etc and also allows easy navigation through the menu system.
The menu system is well designed and easy to use. Firstly, there's a 7 day programme schedule in which you can plan your recordings for the week and also get a little synopsis on each programme.
Also forming part of the main menu is the programme library in which all your completed recordings are stored and are easily accessible. Each recorded programme is conveniently automatically categorized (eg. movies, sports, drama etc), which allows you to very quickly locate the item you want to watch. And if you're in any doubt, there's a mini-screen against each recording that shows you a small clip of the start of that programme - perfect for identifying which of the twenty recorded episodes of EastEnders you wanted to watch!
You can also access a list of your planned recordings from the main menu and finally there is a section for messages. If, for example, a recording fails for any particular reason, you'll get a message to that effect. Although this feature is not fantastically useful as the failed recording is usually conspicuous by its absence anyway!
The other thing to be said about the menu system is that on nearly every sub-screen there is an indication of how much storage space (in hours and minutes) is left, which is very useful if you've built up a big library.
This brings me onto the main feature of the Thomson DTI6300 - Recording!
The system for setting a recording is intuitive and straight forward. Generally, the best way is to browse through the programme schedule and simply press record when your chosen programme is highlighted. The box then gives you the option of tailoring that recording to your requirements. I generally find that it is wise to add 5 minutes to the start and the end so as to avoid potentially missing a vital bit of the programme.
I once had the grave misfortune of sitting through 2 hours of Pan's Labyrinth - a truly engrossing film - only to find that I hadn't recorded the last 10 minutes!
There is also a recording option for a series link, which allows you to program a recording of all episodes in a series at the push of one button.
The other method of recording is simply to wait until your programme comes on and hold record on the remote - handy if you've tuned into Hollyoaks partway through and want to record the rest!
The box employs a twin-tuner system, which means that two different channels can be recorded at the same time (or you can watch one channel while recording another). Any more than two simultaneous recordings will result in a warning message and a prompt to ditch one of them.
The hard drive is quite substantial at 160Gb, which equates to approximately 80 hours of recording time.
Everything sounds great so far, doesn't it? Well, that's what I thought too until I had the box for about a month when I noticed things starting to go wrong. Unfortunately, I have experienced many different errors with this Freeview box over the last year. None of them are absolutely critical but over a period of time they do start to niggle!
Below is a summary of these issues -
1) Random reset - The box has a tendency to randomly reset itself for no apparent reason. The whole resetting process takes about 5 minutes and is followed shortly after by a second reset (again - I have no idea why!) This is particularly annoying if this happens during a recording as it will cause that recording to fail.
I've seen this happen to the box about 10-15 times over the course of a year - enough to be mildly irritating but not enough to throw the box out of the window!
2) Failed recordings - Sometimes due to the box resetting itself but on other occasions no obvious explanation. My planned recordings have failed inexplicably about 5-10 times over a year.
3) Corrupt recordings - Sometimes a recording will appear in the programme library and on the surface of it looks fine. However, you then notice that the episode of Coronation St took up about 8 hours worth of hard drive space and it freezes when you try to play it. Again - it's a rarity but it does happen.
4) Freeze during fast forward - A recorded programme will sometimes freeze when you're fast forwarding. The box seems particularly prone to this when forwarding at its fastest speed (x64). The only remedy for this is switching the box off and on again, I'm afraid!
5) Jumps while rewinding - A recorded programme will sometimes jump to a much earlier point when you rewind. This results in repeated déjà vu experiences! I wonder if this would happen if I recorded the film 'Jumper'...!
6) Loss of signal - Some of the channels seem to be prone to signal problems which manifest themselves as a kind of picture "stuttering". This may be due to the quality of signal reception though rather any specific fault with the box.
There is one final feature of the Thomson DTI6300 which I have not yet described - the ability to pause live TV. I haven't really found the need use this feature too much but I have found that it sometimes doesn't work at all and the playback can be a little jittery too.
In summary, if I was asked the question "Would you buy this product again, knowing what you know now?" I would take a couple of seconds and probably answer yes.
The Thomson DTI6300 has many flaws for sure but it also has many plus points. At the time, it represented good value for money when compared against DVD hard drive recorders (£80 vs £200 minimum) and for that kind of money I can put up with some minor glitches.
If you're the type of person who would get seriously irritated by these glitches, I would recommend you save up a bit more cash for a more reliable product.
I haven't looked into the market too much since my purchase but it may be that the cost margin between Freeview boxes of this type and DVD hard drive recorders is ever decreasing and that the latter is now a more viable option.
For now though, I'm happy to stick with my Thomson and suffer the occasional failed recording of Holby City!
My fiancee' bought this set-top box from ASDA, as we are unable to have Sky+ in our area (Listed road) but we wanted the ability to record TV.
The functionality is excellent, with a great menu, and huge hard drive. Our current TV has freeview built in, and i was surprised to see the Thomson box was worse quality than the freeview we were previously using. The picture was pixelated (not crisp).
When watching a recording back, the picture was dull, and not as clear as normal TV viewing.
The box has froze twice already, and then wouldn't find any channels and had to be re-set up.
It offers a 160GB hard drive, which is enough to record 100 hours+ of TV. The menu is very simular to Sky+, and even the remote looks like Sky+.
We visited another high street retailer, to compare the Thomson to other brands on show. Immiediatly I could see the quality difference between the two side by side on show.
I returned the unit for a refund, and purchased a HUMAX 9200 at nearly double the price, but you get what you pay for.
I highly recommend testing / viewing the actual box in use before buying. My TV is a 50" HD Plasma. Using this box on a non HD tv may be fine for quality, but it looked awful on ours.
I got this unit to replace my Whardale freeview box, which doesn't have any hard disc. I was expecting big things and hoping that it would be a good alternative to SKY +. I foolishly thought that Thomson would have a decent build quality and easy useability. I didn't want the top up tv function but thought that it would be an added bonus if we ever decided to use it for the football, films or kids programs etc.
From the minute I got it out of the box I had nothing but problems. The firmware was very outdated, yet I purchased this unit from my local Tesco, which is a superstore with a very high stock turnover. I foolishly ignored some of the bad press about this box and won't make that mistake again!
The list of problems for a unit straight out of the box is crazy! Rewinding live TV didn't work at all! The unit is very noisy on standby and you could even here it over the television when the box was on.... when I finally got it up and running.
The people on the 0870 helpline were very slow and useless. After forcing a download of the new firmware, the box still didn't want to work properly. After 45 minutes of passing me from pillar to post they finally suggested that I take the unit back for a refund!!!!
The system won't let me give it zero stars, so i'm sorry, but it has to be one... but not out of choice!
Thomson DTI 6300........
It was nearly a year ago now that we decided to buy this recordable digital set top box from Argos. We initially decided to buy it instead of being connected to Sky + as it would work out cheaper in the long run. For a one off payment we got this set top box for a penny under £100. This price works out a lot cheaper than signing up for Sky + what with having to pay for the instillation, pay for the Sky + box itself and then paying the monthly subscription fee. Thomson digital set top box does everything that the Sky + box does, apart from of course having the extra channels that are only offered with a Sky package (but I think having all the ones from the digital box itself is enough to flick through).
With this box, you are able to record two separate channels at a time (although you have to watch one of the channels that you are recording if you do opt for recording two channels because it cannot record two and watch a third). You are able to pause live TV for up to an hour and rewind the channel you were watching. This is all very handy stuff and what we tend to do is record the things we want to watch and even if you start watching the programme whilst it is still recording it, you can start from the beginning but if you time it right you get to fast forward through all of the adverts!
We have had to just take the box back to Argos however because it went slightly funny and stopped recording everything (therefore it was useless). I was expecting to get it sent off to be mended but because they said Thomson do not have a repair address they just had to supply us with a new box and in addition a new receipt (thus giving us another whole year of guarantee. We are thinking about taking it back again when this new years guarantee is coming to an end even if it is not broken just to get another years extended guarantee on the box!).
Another plus side of the box breaking on us was that the new set top box we were given has a ton more memory than the last one! Because it has been nearly a year, they have updated the model so we are getting more for our money! On the last box, we had something like 20 hours of record time, which may sound like a lot, but after a short period this would soon be all used up and we would have to be more selective on the things that we recorded. This new box however has over 90 hours of recording time and when you record an hour long programme it never actually takes away an hour from the time left more like 45 minutes (I guess it compresses it or something).
The remote you get with the box is rather large and looks somewhat like the remote that is supplied with a Skybox. In the instructions, it gives details of how you can programme the remote to operate your TV as well as the set top box itself. However, our old TV we use this digi box with is possibly a too older model to work like this so even after trying to programme it we still have to use a separate remote to turn the TV volume up and so on.
Not only are you able to record just a single programme but the digi set top box gives you an option to record the whole series of the programme which is an exceptional idea and makes sure you don't miss a programme that you particularly want to see. There is also an option of setting the box to record a few minutes before and after the programme is scheduled to start and finish just in case the programme runs over time therefore you don't end up missing a few minutes of the ending.
The menu screen is easy to manoeuvre your way around and it is clear and easy to understand. The instruction booklet, which is quite in depth, gives all the information you need to help understand anything but to be honest I have not really looked through this as everything seemed pretty self explanatory. I found the box easy to install and quick to get up and running.
With the box Thomson supply a Top up TV viewing card and it has a special offer with it where you are able to try Top up TV for a month free of charge (normal price is around £15 per month). This seemed like a worthwhile thing to do and because the information leaflet on this was splayed with details of Setanta Sport my partner thought we should give it a try.
You have to phone up and register your name and give over card details, which I did not really like to do as it claimed on the leaflet that it was a free months trial. However you get the free months trial because you are actually signing up to pay for the Top up TV monthly and to stop paying for it you need to make sure that you phone up and cancel your account when the free months trial has come to an end. Setanta sport was not actually part offered on the months free trail but it was offered at a reduced rate of £5 for the first month (we decided not to get this because we did not want to pay out any more money).
The Top up TV content itself was actually a waste of time because we did not really get any added channels but instead the set top box would randomly record programmes from channels that we did not already have, for example programmes from UKTV Gold or one of the Disney Channels. This was very annoying and as it appeared we could not choose what we wanted to watch I decided that after our free months trial not to continue with this.
Overall, I find this box somewhat of a valued member of the house! Sad I know but I really do hate to sit through adverts after adverts and this box helps to eliminate this problem. I can record all my favourite shows and watch them when I have the time. I can also cut down the amount of time that the show is on for. If there is a programme on ITV that lasts an hour with adverts I can knock off 16 minutes or a little more by fast forwarding through the adverts at super fast speed (fast forwarding speeds are x4, x8, x16, x32 or x64).
Sometimes the box does play up and we have to turn it off and on again from the wall but this does not bother me that much. In addition, when you are fast forwarding through at fast speeds the box can sometimes skip back to the section of the show you have just watched thus meaning you have to fast forward for a longer period. This can often be annoying and something you really have to watch out for it.
The fact that we have had to get the box replaced does show that they are a little temperamental and not yet working as they should be. I am fairly happy however that because we have had a new box, not only having the added memory that the new box offers but also the fact we have got ourselves another years warranty on it so I feel I have a safety blanket really if anything does go wrong with it.
To conclude, I really think this box is good, maybe not perfect but well worth the money. 9/10 for Thomson set top digital box. (And if you have one of these with the lesser memory get yourself back to Argos and get it replaced with a newer model and a newer receipt!)