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Review of Saorview Set Top Boxes Available in Ireland
Article by Barry
As the May 2011 starting line line approaches for the Government’s major push and publicity campaign for the new Saorview Digital TV service, there is a distinct lack of Set Top Boxes available to the general public that have undergone the testing process and become Saorview approved.
There are many IDTVs (Integrated Digital Televisions) that have passed the Saorview testing process and become approved from manufacturers like Sony and Samsung that allow you to receive the new digital television signal directly though your TV but the progress on standalone receivers has been less impressive.
Currently there are only two manufacturers that have passed mustard. They are Triax and an Irish owned company called Walker and these are the Boxes that I will review.
What you have to understand is that no matter what you are talking about, whether it’s an IDTV or a Set top box, because of the nature of the Saorview approval process, many of the features will be identical as to be proved, a device has to meet certain specific specifications. What I will deal with in this article is how they actually implemented these specs and the add-ons that make them good or bad.
I’ll deal with the triax first. The model that Triax have got to market is the TR112. On first glance, it looks nice and compact and has all the usual connections on the back that meet the Saorview standards. What gives the TR112 it’s edge is it’s PVR and Media player functions. These are add-ons that are not part of the Saorview Spec. They have implemented the PVR facilities really well and it’s really intuitive for the non initiated. Their integrated media player is also very good and handles a massive range of both standard definition and high def movie files. It can also play an impressive array of both music and picture files. The down side of the TR1122 is the price. It is about ten percent more expensive that it’s walker competitor. So if the add-on functionality is not that important for you, then maybe the walker is the way to go but if you like the added functions, then really there is no competition.
The walker Saorview box that has launched just recently is the Walker WP12DTB-R. This is the latest evolution of it’s series of set top boxes with the ‘R’ at the end of the model number meaning that it can now do recording. Again on first glance, it is a nice compact box with all the specified connections at the rear as will be the case with all Saorview receivers. It doesn’t have the same sleek finish as the Triax but is still fairly well presented. The real differences are shown in the add-ons that walker have chosen to integrate into the box. The PVR works well for the most part but there is no Pause live TV option, although I believe this will be remedied in a future software release. Another small downside is the media player. It can only handle a very limited range of films, music and pics. Another interesting point to note, which only cropped up in the last two weeks and no one would have thought to check is that when the clocks go back or forward for winter or summer time, then the advantage of the Triax over the walker is that the time will automatically change on the Triax but you have to change it manually on the walker. Could be an issue if say you were gone away from home when the time was changing and had a recording set on the EPG, then the time would be out by an hour the day after the time change unless you set the time back or forward and hour before you left home. It’s not a huge issue in reality and again I believe this will be sorted out in a future firmware upgrade. The advantage of the walker as stated earlier is the price. If all you need is a nuts and bolts Saorview box, then the Walker is the way to go.
About the Author
With Saorview already launched and the major publicity comapign about to begin in May, I wanted to review the currently available boxes on the market and see which is the best technically vs price. Despite the lack of models on shelves versus the amount of approved IDTVs on the market, choices need to be made. The correct Saorview Set Top Box for your home will need to be considered carefully depending on your needs and I hope this article has helped in this regard.
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