Grundig Satellite Recorder 

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Somewhat different from the previous two Freesat units I have looked at from Humax and Panasonic. The first things I noticed are that it has no visible clock on the front and also no obvious means of knowing how far into a program you are.

The Grundig Satellite Recorder I'm reviewing measures 29x25x6cm and black in colour. The only noticeable controls are three buttons and the ubiquitous five position joystick. On the left of the front is an LED (red on standby, blue when on) and another on the right that shows red when recording.

As with most items these days everything can be done from the remote control so once you have plugged in the mains lead and screwed in the twin (it will work with one) satellite feeds you can sit back to complete the initial tuning.

I found the total setup took five minutes from switch on. There is a six stage automated process that requires you only to input your post code (to ensure you receive the correct local broadcasts) and then watch as it finds 148 TV and Radio stations.

This finds all the BBC 1 local stations and the BBC 2 regional stations as well as some extra radio stations than found on Freeview.

Unless you have never had a video or PVR I suspect all the information you will need is contained in the six A4 sides of the Quick Start Guide. This takes you from plugging in the unit and inserting batteries in the remote through the six stage automated First Time Install and basic use of the unit both for live watching and recording. A whole side is devoted to the 46 key remote control so you should be ready to watch and record within a few minutes of unpacking.

I suppose if you have not seen or used another unit you should not miss the clock but although I can live without this I did miss not knowing how far into a program I was, of course you know how long a program is and assuming you have another clock you can calculate but when are used to a clock you miss it not being displayed.

I found that a couple of the buttons on the remote conflicted with one of the TV’s I tested it with the worst offender was the back button on the ubiquitous five position joystick that actually turned the TV off, a pain in the butt.

Another thing I needed to adjust to was that the Library button also showed the programs that were waiting to be recorded. If you set it to record a series once a program was recorded it shows as ‘searching’ in the list until it finds the next occurrence of that program.

I must admit at first I found the previous unit the Panasonics idea of keeping all the programs of the same name in a single folder and then once you click on it it displays the dates it has recorded them as strange initially but by the end of the review I liked it so if I had more time then the way Grundig do it might grow on me.

Should you have any further queries then there is also a 32 page A5 User Guide that could help but I found the chapter format (rather than page numbers) a little confusing but all the information is there if you read through it.

The problem with the remote did not occur with my other TV so I cannot say if the unusual remote codes are the fault of Grundig or of the TV. Quality of recordings were fine and when a program is available in HD as well as standard definition you are given the chance to select the HD version but remember this will take around three times as much hard disc space as the standard definition. The Library screen lets you know how much available space you have shown as a percentage when no recordings is 100% this of course cannot show how much you have committed if you have set it to record all of a series. The disc supplied is 500GB.

Doing my Internet searches found the Grundig 500GB Freesat + HD unit at a best price of £299.99 from the links below. They also do similar unit with a 320GB hard disc. It should also be available from Argos.

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Comment by gareth, Mar 24, 2011 9:52

Just bought one of these HD recorders and so far, it's terrible. So far, I have been unable to record anything using the timer, as it tells me the signal was not found. The unit, in standby, comes on at the appropriate time, tries to record twice, fails, then switches off. It records fine when fully on and you just press the record button - although it doesn't seem to recognise the end of a programme and turn off the recording then. About to phone the helpdesk so lets see what they say.

Comment by martin, Feb 5, 2011 22:09

Very disappointing product. Reviews seemed good but in reality it is useless. Frequent loss of service messages, unpredictable recordings, unspecific nonsense error messages etc, in short, a total waste of money. Buyers beware !

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OverallGrundig Satellite Recorder GUFSDTR500HD rated 68 out of 100

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