TechniSat HDFS: freesat HD tuner with wireless iPlayer

If you want iPlayer on your TV using wireless, you can use a laptop or get the £150 TechniSat HDFS receiver, which can access the service without the hassle of extra cabling

Ian Morris
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You might not be all that familiar with TechniSat, but there's one good reason to get aquainted with it now: the arrival in the UK of the HDFS freesat HD receiver. This £150 machine promises a number of intriguing features that caused our technology glands to emit their special gadgety fluid and trigger our purchasing response.

What's got us so excited? Firstly, the TechniSat offers BBC iPlayer via a Wi-Fi connection. This is incredibly handy if you don't live in a data centre with CAT6 cable all over your home. While we'd prefer all houses had high-speed cabling when they're built, it's surprising how few people get around to running cable. Wi-Fi isn't integrated though, so you will need to buy the dongle separately for £30 -- a slightly annoying decision, we think.

Also pretty awesome is that, although it has no built-in hard drive, the TechniSat can record TV shows to USB storage. The only caveats are that, as a single-tuner machine, you can only watch and record one channel at a time, and recordings can only be played on the machine that made them. So don't get any ideas about taking TV shows with you on your morning commute.

As TechniSat is a brand that often proves popular with more advanced satellite users, there are some worthwhile extra features included here too. The receiver can control a motorised satellite dish, for example, as long as it's a DiSEqC-capable system. That means a world of broadcasts are potentially available for keen TV hunters.

In addition to some smart hardware, your £150 also buys you a three-year warranty, should anything go wrong with the hardware. This is longer than we normally see on consumer electronics, but with satellite receivers being such tried and tested technology, it's a promise that shouldn't worry TechniSat's accountants too much.

The TechniSat HDFS is available now. Click 'Continue' for more photos.

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Menu navigation is possible from the front of the box with this directional ring, with a central 'OK' button.
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Front USB and memory card sockets hint at the TechniSat's ability to record TV shows to memory cards and USB sticks.
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Only a single tuner, so only a single LNB input here. This means if you're recording a show via the USB recording feature, you won't be able to watch something else at the same time.
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A LAN socket is provided for those who don't want to spend extra on an external USB dongle. There are also both flavours of digital audio output and HDMI for HD video. The extra USB socket here can be used for the optional Wi-Fi dongle or for an external storage device to record to.
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Scart sockets and composite video RCA jacks are provided for those who don't know better.
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The optional USB Wi-Fi dongle has a bendable antenna, which should help get the best possible reception to the TechniSat.
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With the USB dongle for wireless web access handing out of the back, you're going to need quite a bit of room behind the TechniSat to house this happily.
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On the plus side, the approved dongle does come with a USB dock of its own, which means it can be located away from the receiver.
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The remote control isn't much to write home about. It is, however, nice to hold and the buttons are big enough for most people.

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