Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

The perils of talking in t'pub

I wish I was making this up...

Last night went to meet some friends in the pub, got to talking about Freeview digital boxes (the add-on box that gives you a load of free digital radio and TV channels in the UK) and how nice it was to just pay a one-off fee for it, rather than having a perpetual money drain like Sky or cable (won't talk about the UK tv license fee which is a separate contentious issue).

So I got home, and decided that I felt like watching a little TV. Immediately noticed that the light was out on the freeview box... took a closer look and discovered that it was completely dead, way too hot, and smelled of smouldering plastic. Hastily disconnect, take a look at the circuit board, and find that several of the power handling components look fried, and that the fuse hasn't blown.

Today I took it back to the shop (needless to say it's out of warranty but I thought I'd see if they could fix it anyway) and they gave me the usual "cheaper to buy a new one" spiel. So I asked about a couple on display, and it turned out neither was in stock. Trolled around Richer Sounds and other shops, cheapest I saw that had two SCART sockets and a timer was nearly 70 quid, which is odd because there were several around the 40 pound mark last time I looked.

Eventually ended up in Argos, and found that the cheapest one in their catalogue with two SCARTS and a timer was 55 quid. Went to buy one, it turned out to be reduced to 50 quid which was a nice surprise. Not sure how long the offer is on for, but I think their sale ends next weekend.

Bought it and it works perfectly, which was also a nice surprise.

Anyway, the make is Echostar, model T-101 FTA, it's a pretty standard sort of digital terrestrial receiver with two SCART sockets and aerial pass through. No frills (doesn't have any separate audio outputs, for example, and there is no socket for a decryption card so you can't use it for any of the broadcast subscriber channels), but the menus are very clear and work quickly, the remote is quite a nice design, and it comes with a SCART lead, aerial lead, remote and batteries, etc. So far it looks pretty good - don't know that it won't burn out too, of course, but it seems to be reasonably well made, and reception and setup seem to be better than my old Grundig box. In case anyone is interested their site is

When I'm back at work I'll have a bash at fixing the old one, don't have components or tools here.

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