Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Digital Satellite Receiver

 

Features

  • Subscription Free TV in HD Over 150 free TV & radio channels from freesat, with six TV channels in amazing HD
  • With On Demand TV including, BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, you can catch up with the best of the week's TV, at a time that suits you
  • Easily create up to eight lists of your favourite channels, then use them to filter the Programme Guide, so you only see the ones you want to
  • If over 150 freesat channels are not enough, you can automatically add hundreds more non-freesat channels, and combine them with freesat channels on the same favourites lists
  • The Plaza HD-S2 even helps save you money thanks to its extremely low power consumption (less than 1/2W in standby), and comes recommended by the Energy Saving Trust

The Good

  • Very small compact design.
  • Simple setup.
  • Fantastic picture quality for both SD and HD.
  • Comes with batteries and HDMI cable.
  • Great quality for the price.

The Bad

  • The remote control quality is not great.

 

Customer Comments

I was viewing the setup of this box with some trepidation as I've never had anything to do with Freesat, Sky or anything other than terrestrial tv. I had an existing satellite dish which I had never used before and a cable into a bedroom where I wanted to use the box. I had to put an F connecter on the cable which was easy to do and then somewhat nervously started the Manhattan setup.

This turned out to be amazingly simple and within 5 minutes I was flicking through the Freesat EPG. Setting up the non Freesat channels was just as easy and switching from one to the other was dead easy using the well thought out interface. The Plaza's display was phenomenal, the HD channels were stunning and the SD ones were as good, easily the equal of the new Freeview HD on the new Samsung tv in the living room. The box is small, neat and unobtrusive and performs amazingly well considering its the cheapest on the market.

My only grumbles would be that the remote is rather small and a bit rubbery and the Freesat channels cannot be organised into an order that suits me, ie, emulating the terrestrial channels, however I understand that this is a Freesat issue and not Manhattans. I cannot recommend this receiver highly enough, its great, I've already ordered its bigger brother the Plaza HDR-S with HDD recording facilities for my living room tv.

♦ ♦ ♦

Compact and basic, but in its own way quite pleasing. I'm currently running this side by side with the double the price Humax HB1000s to compare and here are a few observations for any fellow budget Freesat-ers.

The Plaza HD-S2 has fantastic picture quality, nothing remotely budget about that, even the Standard Def stuff on several normal channels upscales so nicely that it's hard to tell you're not in HD on smaller screens, watching an old black and white movie, it knocked freeview and even the Hummy into a cocked hat. Deep and rich.

It's very easy to set up and comes with everything you need, batteries, HDMI cable, etc. Tunes in quickly and easily and pulls in just about every channel you need. The interface is a little dated, blocky and bright on the eyes, especially compared to "<free time>" boxes, but if that doesn't bother you, it is also very easy to sort and scan through, lots of info on the screen at the same time, the ability to create your own guides/favourites mixed from freesat and non freesat channels is a very nice option, well done Manhattan!

Where it fails to impress for me is in the full EPG guide screen, there is no thumbnail of the current program and not even sound, just silence whenever you bring up the EPG, more annoying than you may imagine if you're used to ambient noise. I found the remote a little too cheap, fiddly with some hard to find buttons, especially in the evening/night, often used buttons hard to stab in low light movie watching conditions. Would have happily paid and extra £10 to have a similar remote to the Plaza HDR-S, perhaps there is an all in one out there that can replace it.

You have to keep in mind it's a £50 box though, with stunning picture quality and small dimensions, the User interface seems last generation at just the wrong time but the actual performance is good.