Grundig is still producing a very nice line in Freeview receivers.
The GUDSTB2000 is a digital set-top box that really looks the part with a sleek, somewhat esoteric design, dressed in a fetching black ﬁnish with a beautifully curved fascia and no clutter, aside from a DVB logo.
Our heart leapt at the unexpected sight of a USB port, until we read that it's for service use only. Still, right alongside it is a electrical digital audio output, which doesn't inspire the same reaction, but does mean you can feed stereo sound to your AV receiver in crisp digital quality.
Decent feature set
In a bid to give TVonics severe Scart envy, the Grundig offers two outputs that transmit the same signal, but one serves up RGB and composite signals for your TV while the 'VCR' output offers composite only.
When will manufacturers learn to provide RGB output from these second Scarts as well? After all, composite video wastes the picture potential of the RGB inputs found on most digital recorders, and no-one wants to start swapping Scarts every time they record.
The Grundig's features cover all the usual bases. There's an editable channel list for quick browsing as well as a favourites list, automatic over the air (OTA) software updates, digital text, subtitles and Audio Description support.
The remote also offers a couple of nuggets: the P.Size button toggles through different viewing modes while the Pause key freezes the picture, but with no hard disk on board it just jumps straight back to live TV when you press it again.
Easy to use receiver
When you ﬁrst switch on, an initial setup screen lets you set the aspect ratio and instigates the auto channel tuning. This doesn't take long, but it took three attempts to tune in all of the channels, missing out several on the ﬁrst and second passes (including the ITV ones).
Aside from this the unit is easy to use on the whole, with approachable and responsive onscreen displays, reasonably quick digital text and fast channel changing, though not as swiftly as some rival units.
The remote's small buttons make it a bit ﬁddly to use, but its compact shape makes it nicely ergonomic and, cleverly, there are separate controls for the favourites list, which means you can toggle through your most watched channels without having to enter a separate menu.
Strong picture quality
Picture quality is solid with the Scart output set to RGB. The usual caveats over the variable quality of Freeview broadcasts apply, with block noise more prevalent on channels like TMF than BBC One, but the Grundig set-top box brings them to the screen in good nick.
The deep red captions on BBC News 24 reveal particularly good colour saturation, while skin tones look impressively natural, edges are clean and small text is legible.
We're also pleased with the robustness of the tuner, which ensured stable Freeview reception throughout testing. Sound is clearly reproduced both through stereo TV speakers and a home cinema sound system via electrical digital output.
There isn't much wrong with the GUDSTB2000, as it offers decent digital TV functions, solid pictures and a lovely design, but some of its rivals are slightly easier to use and offer more connections.