With the explosion in home entertainment options over recent years, the line between computer equipment and television has become increasingly blurred. The result being that consumers now have the ability to conveniently receive, record and store digital television programming. The combination of a Freeview DVB-T receiver and a hard disk drive is the logical conclusion of this trend, allowing the consumer to maximise the potential of their home entertainment system, bringing real benefits in terms of convenience and ease of use. However, as with much modern technology, there are pitfalls waiting to trap the unwary who venture into this field without sufficient prior preparation. The costs involved in installing a hard disk receiver are moderate, but without adequate planning, the consumer risks making some expensive errors. For this reason, it is important to understand how to install a hard disk receiver correctly. One needs to know what components are required for the installation, as well as any possible drawbacks before proceeding with the installation.
Having taken the decision to install a hard disk receiver, the question inevitably arises as to where to source the necessary components. This is no small matter, as prices for the same equipment can vary considerably, depending on where the purchase is made. eBay offers a varied selection and great deals on hard disk receivers and other setup components.
The Benefits of Hard Disk Receivers
A hard disk receiver can offer many advantages. First and foremost, the hard disk receiver allows the recording of high quality digital television programming. Movies, TV episodes, and sporting events can then be stored and played back and enjoyed at the viewer's leisure. Combined with features like the EPG, or 'electronic programming guide', the hard disk receiver allows the user to easily set up a recording schedule, so that they never miss any of their favourite digital programming. Other benefits include support for multiple media formats and recording options, as well large memory capacity for capturing and storing a variety of programmes.
A further benefit of a hard disk receiver is its ability to work with multiple formats, including high quality MPEG4 and H.264 video, MP3 music, and JPEG photo formats. Therefore, users can playback not just their favourite digital programming but also their favourite media libraries, consisting of digital photos, and music, stored on any compatible storage device, like a music player or flash drive.
Multiple Recording Options
A hard disk receiver also offers several options for recording, including storing the data captured on the hard disk drive, or channelling it into a USB drive or SD card. This allows the user to extend the device's functionality and storage capacity.
A typical hard disk receiver comes with a hard drive capacity of 350 to 500 GB,, which is likely to be large enough for almost any user However, there are set-top boxes that come with storage capacities of 1 terabyte or even more. This is more than enough space to store hundreds of hours of digital programming.
Requirements for Installing a Hard Disk Receiver
The hard disk receiver has two separate functions. One is to receive satellite programming, the other is to record this programming and then playback the recorded content. The setup requires a satellite receiver, playback equipment, and cables to connect all the various components. For a high-definition setup, HDMI cables are essential.
The hard disk receiver needs to receive signals from a satellite dish. Therefore, this guide assumes that a satellite dish has been installed and is now functioning.
The hard disk receiver is the integral part of the home entertainment system. This device works in conjunction with a digital television that is satellite-ready.
The installation of a hard disk receiver requires that it be connected to the satellite dish and TV using various cables. The choice of interconnects comes down to formats and compatibility. The options include HDMI, SCART, and Component Video cables. However, SCART is the cable format used with analogue setups. The advent of digital requires that most setups today requires the use of HDMI cables, as this connector ensures the highest picture and audio quality.
The Basics of the Installation Process
Installing the hard disk receiver is not difficult, and the software setup should be no more challenging than using the Hardware Wizard on a PC. The important point to remember when setting up a hard disk receiver is to check the compatibility of the components prior to attempting the installation. For example the latest standard in digital broadcasting is DVB-S2. One should ensure that all components of the system are capable of supporting this new format. One should ensure that the television, hard disk receiver and satellite feed are capable of working with one another, and share compatible cable sockets. Providing this is the case, everything should run smoothly.
The installation begins with the the hard disk receiver unplugged from mains power socket. The precise installation process depend on the make and model of hard disk receiver being installed. The procedure below is therefore a general guide only, and it is important that the manual for the particular receiver being installed is consulted and followed carefully.
The installation process is in three stages. First, the hard disk receiver must be connected to the satellite dish. It is then connected to the television. The installation is complete when the necessary software is loaded onto the device.
Connecting to the Satellite Dish
Ideally there should be two cables from the same satellite dish, with both being connected to sockets at the rear of the hard disk receiver. It may be possible to connect the receiver and the dish using just a single cable, but this is likely to reduce the functionality of the setup.
Connecting to the Television
As mentioned above, the ideal connection here is via HDMI, which is an all-digital connection capable of transmitting quality image and audio signals using just one cable. If the setup includes an HDMI cable, the television may then need to be set to the correct input channel for HDMI. If HDMI is not available, use one of the other compatible cable types.
Performing the Software Installation
Now that the physical connections have been made, it is time to plug the hard disk receiver into the mains and switch it on. Depending on the unit, an installation screen then appears on the television screen. This installation screen takes the user through the software setup procedures appropriate for that particular unit. The elements of the software installation are likely to include establishing user settings, Freesat detection, and channel selection.
Finding a Hard Disk Receiver on eBay
It is easy to find a hard disk receiver on eBay. First, enter 'hard disk receiver' into the search bar on the eBay homepage. You should also consider a search phrase like 'hard disk recorder'. Both queries brings up hundreds listings for satellite receiver set-top boxes. The next step is to narrow down the listings to a more manageable amount. You do this by sorting the listings. On the results page you will find various search filters. You can filter the listings on the results page based on criteria like the type of receiver (HD, standard digital, or analogue), the brand of receiver, the condition of the box, which can range from new to used to refurbished, and the hard drive capacity.
As you may not be familiar with all the technical specifics in the item descriptions, if there is something you don't understand, you should contact the seller for clarification. To make contact with the seller, click on their username in the item description, go into their profile page, and then click on the contact link. You can also learn more about the seller's reputation on eBay by noting the seller's feedback score and the feedback comments left by previous buyers.
A hard disk receiver can bring many benefits to a home entertainment system. The device provides flexibility and convenience by allowing the user to record and retrieve high-quality digital programming. Buying and installing a hard disk receiver requires both forethought and planning, in order to ensure that the buyer chooses a compatible model that can communicate with the other components in the user's existing home entertainment system, including the TV and the satellite dish.
Providing that care is taken in selection of the cables to connect all the components and all compatibility issues have been addressed before attempting the installation, installing the hard disk recorder is not difficult. A buyer should consider buying the best cables they can afford. They should also consider the hard disk's capacity to avoid running out of room for recorded content.
Whether it's a TV, a hard disk receiver or a satellite dish and all its ancillary components, a buyer will find all they need to create a home entertainment system on eBay. The site boasts an easy to use search platform that makes searching for home entertainment devices a breeze. The buyer also has access to a community of other eBay members who can help a buyer come to a well-informed purchasing decision.