Technika Smartbox 8320HD Freeview+HD Recorder
Tesco appear to have gone and done it. Not only have they released a Technika branded model that does more than everyone else’s equivalent Freeview HD recorders, but it is also considerably cheaper, especially bearing in mind the hardware and features that it crams in.
Technika Smartbox 8320HD Best Price
This price comparison tool automatically checks the leading UK stockists of the Smartbox 8320HD on a regular basis to save you trawling the web to find the best price. As this Technika unit is a rebranded unit from FetchTV, it also searches for the FetchTV Smartbox 8320HD also.
Technkia Smartbox 8320HD Freeview HD Recorder Review
For some time we have been waiting for the 3View Freeview HD box, boasting not only Freeview+HD but also ‘home media server’ capabilities, but this hasn’t (yet) arrived. In the meantime, Tesco have put their foot on the pedal, moved in to fifth gear and pipped them to the post.
The Smartbox 8320HD is actually manufactured by IP Vision and has been snapped up by Tesco to add to their Technika range which is usually aimed at the budget end of the market. However with this device, they could be stretching their target audience a little further.
The Smartbox 8320HD boasts twin Freeview HD tuners and a 320Gb hard drive, allowing you to record two different Freeview HD (or standard definition channels) at the same time. It also offers HD upscaling, taking those standard definition channels and ‘digitally enhancing’ them to make the most of your HD TV set. You also get the usual Freeview+ features – pause, record and rewind live TV, series link, 8-day on screen EPG (TV guide) etc etc.
In addition, the Smartbox has 2 USB ports, allowing you to transfer recorded programmes from your Smartbox on to your USB pen or removable hard drive to play on your PC at a later date.
Freeview & BBC iPlayer
Where the real interest lies is with the ability to view content from online on-demand and catchup-TV services such as the BBC’s iPlayer and Sky Player. The Smartbox 8320HD comes with built-in ethernet port and WiFi (unlike other Freeview boxes that have ethernet port as standard but where WiFI requires an optional adapter).
Once you have entered the details of your home network, you can connect to the BBC iPlayer and similar services using the menu system on the Smartbox. This is perhaps the one feature that people have been asking for in a Freeview box for some time.
Content from the FetchTV movies on demand is often not free (movies are priced around the same as you would pay to hire from Blockbusters or similar). However, all of the content on the BBC iPlayer are free.
Sky Player also works in the same way as the BBC iPlayer, the only difference being you have to be a Sky television subscriber (or subscribe to the Sky Player service) to view. This is good if you have Sky in the living room, but don’t have it in the bedrooms for example.
Home Media Server
When you connect the Smartbox 8320HD to your home network (either via ethernet cable or WiFi), it will automatically detect any media files (photos, music, moves etc) and play them on your TV. (This requires Windows Media Player 11 and to enable sharing on each device on the network. This is a simple task to do and instructions are provided).
Technika Smartbox 8320HD Specifications
All in all this is a power-house of a device. Check out these specs:-
- Twin Freeview HD tuners (DVB-T2)
- Upscaling to 1920 x 1080p
- DLNA compliant Media Centre with support for mp3 audio files, MPEG4 video, jpeg, gif, png image files
- 320Gb Hard drive
- Built-in WiFI adapter (802.11n for fastest and greatest reception)
- HDMI output for connection to HD TV
- RF output for loop through of TV signal to television for analogue channels
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- Dimensions: 20.5 x 5.0 x 20.5 (cm) w x h x d
- Power usage: Standby 0.6w, In use 19w
Technika Smartbox 8320HD Summary
It is fair to say that some of the feedback from early buyers of the model from tesco weren”t all that positive (bugs with softwre etc) but on 21st June FetchTV released a software update that seems to have done the trick.
Expect this model to be in hot demand – with many Tesco stores you can buy online and choose to collect from your nearest store so they reserve stock for you. Not all stores allow this, but most Tesco Extra stores do. (Goods are usually available to collect the day after purchase). Alternatively, for £7 they will guarantee delivery to you in a specificed 2-hour time slot (operational 7 days a week).
Technika Smartbox 8320HD Freeview+ HD Video Review
This is a video made by an early buyer of the FetchTV system showing just how easy it is to use the Smartbox and view content from online services such as FetchTV, iPlayer etc.