Four HD-ready Freesat boxes unveiled

Consumers to get one-off cost hi-def option

New set-top boxes with HD capability have been released as part of the Freesat launch, designed to help the UK deal with the digital switchover, as well as promoting the benefits of HDTV.

With around 4 per cent of TVs equipped to receive high-definition broadcasts, set to rise to 7 per cent in 2012, options for viewing HD-programming have been understandably limited.

Grundig, Bush, Goodmans and Humax have all released set-top boxes as part of the launch, with both standard definition and HD flavours to choose from in the case of the former three.

The Humax box might not be available for non-HD TVs, but does come with batteries – handy if you’re one of those who might have picked up the remote and screamed while the device inexplicably did not work when being pointed and stabbed at.

EPG

Each box offers a now-standard seven day electronic programme guide for ease of scheduling (ie making sure Corrieis still  on at 7.30), though HDD functionality with the Freesat service is not tipped to be available until early summer.

All four also have an Ethernet port stuck on the back. Although currently not functional, it "will ensure Freesat viewers can take advantage of future interactive services and, in the longer term, enable users to receive additional content via IP".

Interactivity will be the buzz word of future HD programming and playback, so it seems these boxes might have a slightly longer stay on top of the now-redundant VCR before being replaced.

Grundig:

The GUFSAT01SD (non-HD) model £50, GUFSAT01HD around £150

Bush

The BFSAT01SD (non-HD) model £49.99, the BFSAT01HD £119.99.

Goodmans

GDSAT100SD (non-HD) model around £70, GDSAT200HD around £150.

Humax

FOXSAT-HD model £149.99