Humax YouView DTR-1000 review

Initial sales of the DTR-1000 YouView box have been modest, but things look like they’ve started to pick up recently – and the YouView box does point to a future in which conventional broadcast TV channels exist side-by-side with online streaming video services.

In many ways the YouView box is a fairly straightforward personal video recorder. It provides access to the same basic set of digital channels that you can get from a conventional Freeview+ box, and includes a 500GB or 1TB hard disk along with twin tuners that will allow you to watch one channel while recording a second channel at the same time. It’s a shame that there’s no wifi, though, as Ethernet cabling may not always be convenient at home.

Like most Freeview boxes, the DTR-1000 includes an electronic programme guide (EPG) that allows you to browse and record programmes coming up in the next seven days. However, the key to the YouView service is that the EPG also goes back in time for seven days too, providing access to ‘catch-up’ services from all the UK’s main free-to-air broadcasters – the BBC iPlayer, iTV Player, 4OD and Demand 5.

And where the AppleTV is a closed box that only provides access to a limited range of services, the YouView box was specifically designed as an ‘open platform’ that will allow other services to be added in the future.

You can already subscribe to Sky’s NOW movie service, and customers of BT and TalkTalk broadband can get additional video-on-demand services through the YouView box too. The one disappointment is that neither Netflix or LoveFilm are currently available – although YouView has said that it will be making an announcement about new plans for 2013 quite soon. 

OUR VERDICT

The DTR-1000 worked well during our time testing it at home, and its slow start was probably due to the simple fact that its £250 starting price is fairly expensive compared to most ordinary Freeview boxes. However, BT and TalkTalk are both currently offering it to their broadband customers for free and – not surprisingly – getting a great response. In fact, TalkTalk claims to be installing close to 10,000 boxes a week, suggesting that YouView could become a popular option for people who want to upgrade from the basic Freeview service without paying for an expensive Sky subscription.

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