Friday, May 09, 2008

Freesat set-top boxes arrive in Belfast – well the expensive Humax Foxsat HD ones anyway

Having done a bit of mystery shopping, I posted on Tuesday about the complete lack of freesat set-top boxes available in Belfast on the day of the national launch.

Humax Foxsat HD freesat set-top box - the only ones on sale in Belfast

What a difference three days makes!

Today at lunchtime, Currys are stocking the Humax Foxsat HD receiver. Three units if you count the display model.

Unfortunately, it’s only one out of the five set-top boxes on the market. And at £149.99 it’s the most expensive, offering reception of the HD channels. No cheaper (£49.99) standard definition freesat receivers.

Humax Foxsat HD freesat set-top box - the only ones on sale in Belfast

(Admittedly, the channels can probably be picked up, decoded and thrown down a SCART lead to a TV using any bog standard satellite receiver – the kind of kit that’s available from Maplin – but those boxes are likely to lack the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) support and won’t be Ethernet-enabled to support iPlayer/Kangaroo catch-up services when they are switched on over coming months.)

It’s a start, but a slow and expensive one.

Update - Wed 14 May - Argos now have a selection of the boxes available in Northern Stores - just not in their largest Ross Court store. But Connswater, Great Victoria Street and Castlecourt have stock availability.


Timothy Belmont said...

I'm inclined to hold out - irrespective of the Olympic Games - for an integrated Freesat HDTV. Panasonic will sell plasma ones from mext month with LCDs to follow later.


Alan in Belfast said...

Ideally, I'd also hold off for the boxes with in-built PVRs/hard drives) that should appear in June or July.

Timothy Belmont said...

My telly is a 28 incher widescreen and still performimg as well as 2000 when I bought it! I don't really have to change it - but fancy the HD Experience :-)

I guess the boxes are a solution if people already have an HD telly.