(Pocket-lint) – Freeview is easy to take for granted here in the UK, but it’s absolutely fantastic. The free-to-air system ensures that you can watch TV for free, through most compatible TVs.
However, it really comes to life if you get yourself a Freeview Play box, of which there are plenty to choose from. These set-top boxes let you record programmes and also give you a smoother way to enjoy all the Freeview channels you could want. We’ve gathered together the very best options on the market right now, for you to choose from.
Our pick of the best Freeview and Freeview Play boxes to buy today
As you’ll see the more we go through this list, Manhattan is pretty much the biggest name when it comes to Freeview Play boxes.
Its T3-R is the most premium box it makes and is 4K HDR-capable, although it’s still not exactly luxury in its pricing, and it gives you a great suite of options including the ability to record programmes to a 1TB hard drive (a 500GB version is also available). Catch-up is easy to access and it’s even got a YouTube (and YouTube Kids) app for convenience. This is as good as a Freeview Play box can get, in our view.
Humax provides good competition for Manhattan with this box, which matches many of the T3-R’s features.
You can also upgrade to a pricey 2TB version of the FVP-5000T, which is the best capacity you’ll find on the standard market. It’s got all the major catch-up services on board and it’s easy to set up your recordings, which is really all you need.
Manhattan’s next option on our list is drastically different in terms of price point from the previous two options, and would be a seriously great choice for anyone who isn’t concerned about recording or catch-up. As it doesn’t have catch-up, the T1 is a Freeview HD box not a Freeview Play one.
If all you’re looking for is a simple and elegant way to access live TV and check out the different option for you at any given moment, the T1 gets it done for a great price.
Here’s the hat-trick for Manhattan, with its third box on our list, and this one is a bit of a middle ground compared to the T3-R and the T1.
While you still can’t record TV on the T3, you do have access to a range of catch-up services to ensure that you don’t have to worry if you miss a show. It’s a great box that probably has the features that most people want, short of recording.
Digi-Link Scart Freeview Receiver
A slightly different choice, but if you’re looking to hook up an old TV to Freeview HD, then this simple Scart attachment might be a good bet. Again, this doesn’t have catch-up capabilities so it isn’t a Freeview Play receiver.
It’s far from elegant, and most people with more recent TVs will want one of the boxes we’ve featured so far, but this little bit of tech could help prolong the shelf-life of a TV for an older relative or in other situations, which makes it worth highlighting in our eyes.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.