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The good news is that the RT190-320 T2 HD's tuner serves up excellent HD images. Native HD content – everything on the BBC HD channel – is especially impressive and shows all the clarity and detail found on simultaneous Freesat and Sky broadcasts.
Skin tones, which are often the least convincing aspect of a broadcast image, are as accurate as you could expect.
ITV and C4's HD channels are simulcast in standard definition so a lot of content is upscaled and – unlike some other boxes – the info banner and EPG on the RT190-320 T2 HD do not indicate their native resolution.
However, it's not difficult to tell when a show has been upscaled as no HD processor can convincingly add detail that wasn't originally present.
The standard definition tuner is no slouch either, equally as good as anything else on the Freeview HD market with quality very much dependent on the broadcaster's bit rate. Midsomer Murders on ITV for example suffers from all kinds of minor aberrations such as MPEG noise, pulsing over patches of similar colour and a general mushiness – but the same problems exist on rival platforms.
Despite an electrical (aka coaxial) digital audio output and a Dolby Digital logo on the front the Sagemcom RT190-320 T2 HD is one of the many Freeview HD boxes that outputs in stereo only. This is a result of broadcasters using the AAC codec in order to transmit audio description information and the box's inability to transcode to DD 5.1 or Dolby Digital Plus.
Reassuringly, recordings are perfect facsimiles of the original broadcasts with picture and sound quality undiminished.
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