Manhatten | Plaza HD-S | Plaza HD-S Review in What Satellite #305

TEST satellite Manhattan Plaza HD-S
Features
No LNB inputs: 1
LNB loopthrough: Yes
DiSEqC: No
No. channels:
Selectable FEC: No
Symbol rate range:
2000-45000
Blind search: No
Linux: No
CAM: None
Common interface: None
Teletext: DVB decoded
EPG support: DVB
now-and-next, 8-day
Timer: Unlimited events,
8-day
Hard drive: None
UHF modulator tuning:
N/A
Software upgrade: OTA
or USB download
Data ports: USB, Ethernet
AV outputs
SD out: TV Scart (composite)
RGB, VCR Scart (composite)
HD out: HDMI
Audio out: Stereo analogue
audio, co-ax digital audio
the opposition
Bush BFSAT01HD
n About the same price but
without the picture quality
nor non-Freesat convenience,
and much slower to search
n http://bit.ly/kOvtrl
Technisat HDFS
n With media streaming,
DiSEqC and other satellites
searching for enthusiasts, but
less convenient non-Freesat
navigation and around twice
the price
n http://bit.ly/qnPebu
Manhattan
Plaza hd-S
Manhattan takes on the premium cost of Freesat
HD receivers without compromising on quality
Although a few
satellite receivers offer
extensive access to other
channels (even other satellites
with the right antenna), swapping
between viewing Freesat and
non-Freesat channels – even on
the same 28°E satellite – is a
tedious business.
and Exit keys are too easy to press
accidentally) with decent-sized and
well-spaced keys. There are several
dedicated keys, for display mode,
favourites, swap channels, and so on,
as well as the usual Freesat Guide,
List, and coloured buttons.
The back panel is fairly crowded
– if only because it’s so small. There is
one LNB input without loopthrough
and with no DiSEqC support. This is a
great shame – DiSEqC from this
machine could elevate it to an
enthusiast receiver too.
An HDMI is supplemented with
TV and VCR Scarts and there’s an
optical digital audio output too.
An Ethernet socket is provided for
machines. It’s small (the size of a
book) and with no front panel
display to suggest it is anything but
a budget box. But don’t be fooled.
The size is partly down to the
separate power supply. We don’t like
this approach because, though it
reduces the size (and temperature)
of the set-top box, it clutters the
mains sockets behind your TV.
Finished in black plastic, the HD-S
looks plain. The front panel folds
down to reveal the standard power,
channel up/down and volume up/
down buttons, with no other
controls to speak of.
The remote is a bit small but
nicely laid out (although the Back
This machine is not only a very
competent Freesat HD receiver but
also great for watching both Freesat
and non-Freesat channels on 28°E
– and it’s cheap to boot.
Build and connectivity
It has to be said that the HD-S looks
not unlike the cheapest of Freesat
Test And Measurement
Recording
-
In use
9W
Idling
-
0
Standby
(power saving on)
1W
0
POWER USAGE
In standby the HD-S
checks for updates
then switches to 1W
power consumption
after around 2 mins
42 What Satellite & Digital TV September 2011
1m 5sec
Freesat Scan
0
1
2
3
4
2
3
4
2
n/a
3
4
1
2
2
3
4
5 min
3
0
n/a
4
1
2
3
4
5 min
n/a
FTA Scan
0
n/a
1
2
3
4
5 min
3
4
5 min
n/a
Full scan
0
1
2
5 min
Blind Search
0
1
Full scan
5 min
Full scan
1
n/a
FTA Scan
0
2m 53sec
FTA scan
1
5 min
5 min
SEARCH 28°E
You can scan 28°E for
Freesat only or all FTA
channels. The HD-S
proves reasonably fast
at doing both
n/a
Blind Search
0
1
2
3
4
5 min
SEARCH 19°E
The HD-S can only
scan one transponder
at a time for positions
other than 28°E
n/a
Blind Search
0
1
2
3
4
5 min
SEARCH 13°E
Again, while you can
add channels from
other satellites, general
searches of sats other
than 28°E can’t be made
Video Formats
MPEG-2 TS
●
AVI
●
DivX
●
XviD
●
Mkv
●
mp4
●
www.manhattan-tv.com • 020 8450 0005 • £80 TEST satellite
broadband connection (for BBC
iPlayer and – maybe soon – ITV
Player). The USB socket is for
software upgrade only.
DVB-S2, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 (clear
channels only, of course).
Basic use
The channel navigation of the HD-S
is rather Freesat-constrained but
simple to use. The channel list
adopts the ‘press OK once to preview
a channel, again to tune to it’
approach. Removing channels from
the list is done from the same screen,
which makes life simpler.
A press of the left and right keys
switches between Freesat and
non-Freesat, TV and radio lists, so
selection of channels on and off the
official radar is quick and simple.
Unfortunately there’s no list
sorting – not even for non-Freesat
channels – but a very efficient
channel search (again with the
onscreen keyboard option) finds
mislaid channels quickly.
The EPG is the Freesat norm
(pressing Guide a second time,
conveniently skips the annoying
Freesat genre selection screen)
displaying a grid of programmes
across eight channels, with icons to
show those with an HD alternative.
You can jump two hours or a day
Setup
The HD-S follows the same setup
process as most Freesat receivers:
you turn on, set TV details, check the
signal levels, enter your postcode
(you can use either the number keys
á la texting, or an onscreen
keyboard) and start the search,
which takes just 65 seconds.
For non-Freesat channels it’s
barely more complicated. The menu
gives the option of searching one
transponder (a Manual Scan) or all of
them (Automatic Scan). The
Automatic Scan is pretty fast, taking
under three minutes, and turns up
all the channels not already found by
the Freesat scan.
The scan only looks for
transponders on 28°E so it can’t be
used for other satellites (say, with a
manual LNB switch). However, the
Manual Scan can be used for
individual transponders on any
satellite. It will recognise any
combination of SD, HD, DVB-S,
forwards or back and set the timer to
automatically tune to the channel at
the time of a highlighted show (with
a clash warning, if necessary).
The HD-S also offers a sleep timer
for up to 90 minutes, and timers to
turn on (on a preset channel) or off
the receiver at a set time each day.
The highlight of the HD-S
navigation is the favourite channels
system. There are eight lists, which
can be renamed. The star key on the
remote then brings up the lists for
quick channel selection.
Usefully, favourites can be
populated with any channel stored
in the receiver, so you can create a
list of, say news channels, which
includes BBC News and Sky News (as
well as CNN, Euronews, France 24, an
so on) to seamlessly slip from Freesat
to non-Freesat channels.
Performance
HD channels such as BBC HD look
simply stunning, with brilliant
colours and crisp, clear detail.
Sound quality, too, is well above
average for this class of receiver and
SD channels are upscaled well to
produce first-rate pictures. SD via
Scart is a little disappointing – a
touch dull and lifeless compared
with the superlative HDMI output n
Geoff Bains
VERDICT
The Plaza HD-S is an extremely
capable Freesat HD receiver. The
simple switching between Freesat
and non-Freesat channel lists and
the favourites system makes it a
good choice for anyone wanting
everything that 28°E has to offer.
Its reception performance is
excellent and it will even find
enthusiast friends. That it’s
probably the cheapest Freesat HD
receiver around as well makes
choosing the HD-S a no-brainer.
Ratings
PLUS
n Excellent picture
n Easy non-Freesat
access
n Cheap
Minus
n Separate power supply
n No DiSEqC
n No other satellites/
blind search
Build
hhhhhhhhhh
Setup
hhhhhhhhhh
Searching
hhhhhhhhhh
Navigation
hhhhhhhhhh
Performance
hhhhhhhhhh
Features
hhhhhhhhhh
Value
hhhhhhhhhh
Overall
81%
Connectivity
1 LNB input
2 Ethernet network
connection
3 USB data connection
4 Optical digital audio
output
5 HDMI
6 TV Scart
7 VCR Scart
8 Power input
2
4
5
6
7
8
1
3
September 2011 What Satellite & Digital TV 43
Download PDF

advertising