HD TV sets are becoming more and more common in homes everywhere, yet relatively few people are making the most of their equipment. If you want to receive HD TV, you will need a set top box to receive it. Not everyone wants to pay monthly for TV, so here are some of the more affordable subscription-free HD set top boxes on the market. All quoted prices are correct as of 14.07.11.
HD boxes that receive signals, don't feature a hard drive to record and play back live TV. Some will need a satellite to work, others not, but every item featured here will enable you to watch subscription-free HDTV.
Freesat and Freeview HD
For reference, Freesat HD means that you will need a satellite for the equipment to work, Freeview HD means that you can simply plug in your existing TV aerial to receive HD signals.
Sagem Freesat and Humax Freeview
Currys.co.uk offers the Sagem DS186HD Freesat HD receiver for £90.93, including free delivery. If you would rather not have a satellite installed, they also do the Humax HD-FOX T2 Freeview HD receiver for £99.99, again with free delivery.
Technika and Icecrypt
Direct.tesco.com sells the Technika STBHDH2010 Freeview HD recorder for £30, and the Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD receiver for £59.97, again both with free delivery. However, a product priced this low is not going to be as high-quality, or last nearly as long, as the more expensive options.
The products listed in this section all have hard drives built-in, allowing you to record HD TV. As such, they are all more expensive than the receivers. Sagemcom Freeview and Freesat Direct.tesco.com has the Sagemcom RTI90-320 Freeview HD recorder for £180. This model has a 320GB hard drive, which should allow for 160hrs of standard definition programming or 80hrs of HD programming. They also sell the Sagemcom Freesat HD 94320T recorder for £199.97. This model also has a 320GB hard drive, Philips and Sagemcom Currys.co.uk stocks the Philips HDT8520 Freeview HD recorder for £199.99. This model features a 500GB hard drive, which should be enough for 125hrs of HD programming or 250hrs of standard defintion programming. Additionally, they have the Sagemcom 94320T Freesat HD recorder for £189.99. This model comes with a 320GB hard drive. From the above, it can be seen that the Philips unit is the winner of the recorders, being in the same price bracket as its competitors, but having a much larger hard drive.