Free To Air Receiver Reviews
When searching for FTA Receivers there is so much choice, so many Manufacturers to choice from and even within certain FTA Receiver brands they carry more than one model. During our 5 years of selling FTA receivers and earlier in this era the DVB Cards. we have been careful to select only the best selling Manufacturers that will look after the customer by standing behind their products and for warranty. Any manufacturer that does not honor a warranty for defective units will not even be considered. We are authorized dealers for Viewsat and Sonicview and they all carry a warranty. For Viewsat the warranty is covered directly by us with a replacement for a brand new unit, with Sonicview and others the warranty is directly with the manufacturer. Back in the beginning of FTA in 2004 and early 2005 there was no warranty besides DOA (Dead on Arrival) with Free to Air Satellite products. It was Viewsat and Viewtech that changed the way manufacturers dealt with defective products. Since then others have been forced to follow. As of today the best warranted Free to Air receivers are of course Viewsat read more under our policy section.
There are so many choices firstly we have High definition also referred to as HD then Standard Definition receivers, then those that have a PVR (Personal video Recorder) and those that do not have the PVR Functionality. What does a PVR allow me to do? All PVR receivers allow you to connect an external USB hard drive to your FTA Receiver and schedule recordings directly from the EPG (Programming Guide) so you can pre record your favorite shows, PVR's also allow you to pause and play live TV, so if the phone rings you can Pause LIVE TV and at a later time play back from the point you paused it, the unit starts recording when you pause and when you finish your phone conversion you hit play it plays the recorded portion and continues recording what's actually playing Live, so you can continue to watch your show without further interruptions. It basically allows you to pause and play live tv. Free to Air Receivers have become so much more powerful and versatile over the years and the stiff competition to be number one in FTA.
Firstly you need to decide if you want a High Definition Receiver or a standard definition Receiver, if you currently don't own a HD TV then its easy all you need is a standard definition receiver it is pointless to purchase a HD Receiver, if you are considering a HDTV (high definition television) in the near future and want to purchase a HD receiver then consider the Viewsat 9000 HD as it allows playback using the RCA cables( Yellow Audio, Red and white Video), the Sonicview 8000 HD only plays using the HDMI output and does not even use the RCA cables. If you have a HD TV you can consider either a High Definition receiver or a standard definition Receiver depending on your budget. All Standard Definition (SD) receivers do not give justice to a newer widescreen LCD or plasma TV. Anyone that has a FTA receiver running on an older tube type TV when buying a HD TV is sometimes shocked as to why the picture looks amazing on the older TV but awful on the new top of the line TV.
Top Sellers by Manufacturer not by Brand
There is so much choice in FTA receivers, some have had their day and disappeared some have not even taken off, we are very selective in which receivers we carry, one philosophy we have learned from is that if a company looks after not only the dealers but the consumer and stands behind their product then its a good sign. Once a company have been doing this for many years which is a lifetime in this hobby then you know and feel very confident in selling and supporting that product. We used to carry pansat for example and we have dropped them due to the slower demand due to better receivers with more richer features. We also dropped Coolsat in early 2007 as we were very unhappy with their false warranty and service! No one can predict with certainty what the future holds but currently the top 3 sellers by brand are as follows:-
High Definition Receivers.
If you are considering a HD Receiver then the choices are either the Viewsat 9000 HD or the Sonicview 8000 HD. Both these receivers give an amazing picture quality for HD broadcasted TV. As most of the programming is still in Standard Definition it is also worth looking at how good the picture quailty is on these receivers for Standard definition broadcasts. The Sonicview 8000 HD actually gives a far superior picture quality on standard definition broadcasts then the Viewsat 9000 HD. But the viewsat 9000 has 2 USB ports and the sonicview 8000 only on on the front. Also the both come with a 2 year warranty but Viewsat Allows us to exchange the unit directly and sonicview insist that all authorized dealers ask the customer to deal with them directly which means the customer ships back the sonicview directly and waits 4 - 6 weeks for a repair or replacement. For this reason as a dealer we prefer to look after our customers directly promptly and in a timely manner. This makes our choice the Viewsat as a dealer that likes to take care of our valuable customers. Although we do admit that the sonicview 8000 HD is a better unit then the viewsat 9000 HD. The defective rate is very small but when you spend your hard earned money and if something does go wrong then Viewsat is a clear winner. Either way we have thousands of very satisfied customers using both the Viewsat and the Sonicvew for all their Satellite HD. Both the Viewsat 9000 HD and the Sonicview 8000 HD are able to be used as a PVR if an external USB hard drive is attached to the receivers USB Port, which is a very nice bonus.
PVR Free to Air Receivers come in 2 different standards either a Single Tuner PVR or a Dual Tuner PVR. When looking at standard cable television providers they provide you with a cable directly to your home which contains all the TV channels in that one line, you can split this as many times to various televisions and watch any channel that is provided to you. With Satellite when you change a channel or access the guide you are communicating with the LNB on the dish and only channels from that transponder are coming down the cable to your receiver so you can watch that channel. Hence a single tuner PVR when recording a channel from a particular transponder will only allow you to record or watch another program that is on the same Transponder which is a 1 in 30 chance of that channel being the one you want to watch while recording another. So it is best to say with a single tuner PVR unit you can only record one show at a time on the same timeline and only watch what you are recording. However with a dual tuner PVR you have two tuners and if you connect your receiver to both tuners using a separate connection from your dish or switch to each tuner then you can record one show and watch another or record two shows at the same time. Viewsat and sonicview make PVR receivers. Viewsat and Sonicview have choices as a single tuner or a dual tuner receiver.
The following are Single Tuner Receivers.
The following receivers are Dual Tuner PVR's
For those that don't really care for a PVR FTA after all you still need to purchase or have on hand an external USB hard drive to operate any of the PVR Free to air receivers as a PVR.
The following is a list of non PVR Receivers.
The Viewsat Ultra is our Number one selling receiver , it has a Front USB port for firmware updates and it has the winning viewsat EPG (Electronic Program Guide), a newer addition the the Viewsat Line up is the Viewsat Ultra Lite, which is based on the ever popular viewsat Ultra with a slightly slower processor ,3 day guide instead of 7 day, no component out video and no built in card reader, at a very affordable price with a USB port. The viewsat Platinum lite is the only viewsat left that has no USB port but a great value and a very affordable viewsat.
The Sonicview brand of receivers seem to have a slightly better picture quality then the viewsat, not noticeable on a tube type tv, more noticeable on a flat panel HD type TV. But the warranty from viewsat is second to none, both have a two year warranty but viewsat allow us to exchange bad units directly with us for our customers but sonicview is always a ship back by the customer to California and a long wait which makes our number one choice of receiver Viewsat.
Currently our top selling Receivers listed below in order of sales
Viewsat VS2000 Ultra V2
Sonicview 360 Premier
Viewsat 9000 HD
Sonicview 360 Elite
Sonicview 8000 HD
Viewsat Ultra Lite