351 of 354 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent FreeSat+HD PVR with remote internet viewing included. Beats Sky Go hands-down!
[UPDATE November 2013: Be aware... This box is no longer supported and there is no compatible 'SlingPlayer for Tablet' app that supports this box - however SlingPlayer for Android phones does, though it's not officially supported. I have just lost £9.99 buying the app from Google Play. I only discovered that this box is not supported by the app outside of Google's 15...
Published on 25 July 2011 by The Fat Monk
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great piece of Freesat slingbox kit ...
Quick feedback and attempt to add a few points not mentioned so far...
I was particularly attracted to this product by the slingbox functionality, to be able to watch Freesat channels on my iPhone/iPad while travelling.
Our sat dish has multiple LNBs and we have a multiswitch which supports up to eight receivers.
This was a problem for the...
Published on 9 July 2011 by Douglas Shaw
Most Helpful First | Newest First
351 of 354 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent FreeSat+HD PVR with remote internet viewing included. Beats Sky Go hands-down!,
This review is from: EchoStar HDS-600RS SlingLoaded TV Anywhere Freesat+ HD digital TV recorder (Electronics)
[UPDATE November 2013: Be aware... This box is no longer supported and there is no compatible 'SlingPlayer for Tablet' app that supports this box - however SlingPlayer for Android phones does, though it's not officially supported. I have just lost £9.99 buying the app from Google Play. I only discovered that this box is not supported by the app outside of Google's 15 minute refund window and Sling are claiming that they are unable to refund the purchase (as per Google Play's terms outside of the window you are to contact the App developer for refunds). I have included a transcript of the very frustrating conversation with Sling's USA support in the comments to this review]
[UPDATE August 2013: For about the last six months or so I've been having an issue whereby I lose the BBC HD channels. All other HD channels are fine, as are the other BBC channels and a system reset of the box brings them back for a couple of days. Then a couple of days later they report no signal again. Signal level and quality is good and the reset fixes things so it doesn't seem like a dish alignment issue. Very odd.]
[UPDATE June 2012: The box is still going strong with no reliability problems - that's 12 months of solid use with no major problems.]
[IMPORTANT UPDATE (Feb 2012): As of firmware version 121R this device now supports DiSEqC - see below]
First of all, this is a great piece of kit. Feature-wise it is absolutely superb, I've yet to find it lacking in any feature I would want - and that's after about a month of using it.
It's not without it's faults, though - hence the four stars. I'll get to the faults later as there are many positives to mention first.
This is a FreeSat HD receiver and PVR. That is, it receives free to air satellite services (no subscription required) on the Freesat system in the UK including HD services and allows you to record them directly on the box (no external recorder like a VCR required. This means that it is the Freesat equivalent of Sky+, or Sky+HD to be more accurate.
In addition to this receiver / PVR functionality, this box also has the SlingMedia / SlingBox system built in. This system allows you to 'watch your own TV' anywhere you have internet access. This is different to Sky's "Sky Go" system which a allows you to watch over the internet some of the same services you have subscribed. The Sky system, I believe, streams the programmes from Sky to your browser, whereas the Sling system actually streams the programmes from your own Sling box - in this case the Echostar HDS-600RS.
This Sling functionality means that not only can you watch all of the TV channels that you can watch on the box at home over the internet, but you can also watch your recording over the internet. What's more, you actually get the full EPG and system menus etc. in your browser window - it really is as though you were sat in front of your TV at home. Well, almost. The quality of the picture you get on your PC - including the on-screen menus and EPG - depend very much on the 'uplink' speed of your home internet connection (remember most ISP give you a reasonable download speed, but a tiny fraction of that speed for uploading!). Therefore on-screen text can be pretty difficult to read, but it is still usable, and in most cases it's not the text/menus you are watching - still it will be something to consider for some people.
You'll gather from the above that in order to use the SlingBox functionality in the HDS-600RS you are going to need a broadband connection - that will be obvious to some, but maybe not to everyone looking for a FreeSat receiver so I figured it's better to mention it. Network connectivity is wired only, no wireless I'm afraid. Home plug adapters such as the TP-Link TL-PA211KIT 200Mbps Mini Powerline Ethernet Adapter - Twin Pack work fine if you intend to place this box nowhere near your broadband connection.
In the pictures the box looks pretty ugly - that's Sling styling for you, all sling boxes are that funny wedge shape. I guess it's branding, but it's not particularly nice, and coupled with the shiny in places plastic case I thought this box was going to look awful. When I opened the box it didn't look great, and the red flash down the sides just looks cheap. However, when hidden away under the telly it actually doesn't look awful - the red lights on the front buttons are a bit on the bright side though, especially in a darkened room.
AS A FREESAT RECEIVER
This box scores very highly as a Freesat HD receiver. It has twin-tuners so you can record one programme and watch another at the same time, or even record two programmes at the same time so long as you are not trying to watch a third).
Picture quality is excellent in both SD and HD, and surround sound is supported on both the S/PDIF optical digital audio output and the HDMI connection.
The programme guide is nice and clean, and nice and fast - this is quite often the let down in any set top box, but Echostar have done well here. O pressing the 'Guide' button you are presented with a list of categories of channel. You can, of course, just select all channels to view the lot, but the groupings are pretty sensible so can speed up finding the channel you want. There is also an option for 'On demand' services which include the BBC's iPlayer and other 'catch-up' services to launch soon.
One feature that I really like is the fact that the SCART output remains live when an HD output is set on the HDMI output. This is useful when, for example, you have an HD capable projector with HDMI connectivity and a CRT TV without. Many set-top-boxes and BluRay players, for example, disable the SCART output whenever an HD output is selected on any output due to the fact that they don't have down-conversion capability. This is a very welcome feature in this box as it allows the box to feed a CRT TV (or 'second TV') in SD for regular viewing, and the big telly in HD via the HDMI connection for big viewing.
The choice of channels available is down to FreeSat, not this box, so I won't go into that here. If you want to know what is available head over to the FreeSat website for the latest channel line-up.
AS A PVR
Recording a future programme is simply a case of pressing the record button on the remote while that programme is selected in the guide. Pretty standard stuff, so good to see it hasn't been messed with. Series linking is also supported, with the option of recording a single programme or a whole series popping up when appropriate when you press that record button. Of course manual recording times can also be set [UPDATE: It ses that in version 121R the ability to setup manual recordings has disappeared. There has been no explanation why from Echostar yet, but I will update this review if I hear anything].
A library is kept of your recordings which can be accessed by hitting the 'lib' button on the remote. Oddly the manual record function is not available this way, to get to that you have to choose the 'library' option on the main menu (accessed by hitting the sling logo button in the middle of the remote).
Recording seems pretty robust with both individual recording and series linked recording working reliably. You may want to tweak the over-time record settings though as the default has cut off credits on a couple of my recordings... a few more minutes would be safer.
The Sling functionality works well. I didn't have any problems setting this up, just head to watch.slingbox.com with your favourite web-browser and follow the prompts. You should do this from your home network first to make sure everything's working, then when you want to connect from a remote network for the first time make sure you have your slingbox id (found in the main menus under the slingbox settings) handy as you'll probably need that in order for the sling systems to find your box.
As previously mentioned you control the box exactly the same way you would sat in front of the TV (even with an exact replica virtual remote on screen). The quality will more than likely depend on your uplink speed from home to the internet, unless you are using a mobile / netbook / iPad / whatever to view over a 3G network or something slower / flakier (yes, there are mobile applications for apple, android and WM6.5 and 7 for viewing your Slingbox!!!). One other thing to note is that services such as iPlayer are not available through the slinging - this is probably a rights issue as it would potentially circumvent the BBC's iPlayer restrictions on only being able to view iPlayer content in the UK (actually a content owners restriction placed on the BBC rather than the BBC themselves).
If you have an existing Sky installation with a spare LNB output (that's the plugs on the bottom of the bit sticking out of the dish) - or preferably two spare - then setting up this box is simply a case of plugging this box into the LNB output(s), into your network (homeplug network interfaces are a good option, and you don't need to go to the expense of buying the Sling branded ones), plugging in the mains, switching on and following the on-screen prompts. If you only have one spare LNB output the box will still work, though you'll only be able to record/watch one channel - you need two LNB connections to record one while watching another (or record two channels simultaneously).
Network-wise the box will look for a DHCP server by default, and this works seamlessly so you'll probably just leave that alone unless you have specific network requirements in which case there's a menu for setting your network parameters. Pretty basic, but it should be enough.
One thing to note is that you don't seem to be able to do anything at all with the box without an LNB connection. Everything here is presented as a satellite service even the BBC iPlayer so you can't just hook up the box to the network and fiddle with that. Not that you are likely to want to, but I was still setting my dish up and wanted to have a look at the menus - not possible until you've got some services/channels loaded into the box's database.
When you first power on the box it will look for the default FreeSat transponder. I couldn't find a way of getting to any setup menus at this point as I've mentioned, but once the box is tuned and up and running a quick dig around in the setup menus reveals an option to switch the box out of FreeSat mode. This means that this box can actually be used as a free-to-air satellite receiver for any DVB satellite network. If anyone knows how to access this menu before having tuned into FreeSat services, feel free to post a comment to ths review as it may help someone out.
The box comes with a 500GB hard drive which the manufacturers claim is good for around 300hrs of SD recording and 100hrs of Full HD recording - the use of 'Full HD' being a little misleading here as there are currently no 'Full HD' (ie 1080p) broadcasts in the UK. That said, 500GB should get you around the 100hrs of HD recording as broadcast here in the UK at present.
Should that not be enough for you, however, it looks like upgrading the box's storage may be quite a simple affair. The HDD in the unit is a standard Hitachi 500GB SATA model which should be easily swappable by anyone with a bit of home PC maintenance experience. The box's firmware may not recognise any expanded storage, and you may need to do a raw disk clone if Echostar have done anything fancy to the disk and I haven't actually tried this, but in theory at least it's physically very straight-forward.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
Well we've had the good but ugly, so what's the bad?
When I opened the packaging, this receiver rattled - never a good sign. On closer inspection I spotted a loose screw rattling around inside the unit - it was visible through the fan vent at the back. Alas it wasn't possible to shake the screw free as the unit is pretty well sealed. Even loosening a few of the case screws wouldn't free it due to the loose screw being inside the shielding case inside - ie rattling around with the components, circuit board and mains!
So, off came the warranty sticker and I delved right in. It turned out that the screw was one of the Hard Drive mounting screws that had come completely out - but that wasn't all that was wrong. (I've taken photos and uploaded them as user images shown with the Amazon product photos - take a look). Another HDD mounting screw was very loose and almost out, the SATA power cable was disconnected (how did it pass QC with this connected?!), and one of the fascia mounting pins had been fitted incorrectly.
Putting these things right was a simple job - though my warranty is now defunct! - but the fact that a unit in this state could pass Echostar's quality control is rather worrying.
Build quality concerns aside, there is another worrying little problem that I have seen reported here by another user as well. Remote control of the box dies every so often. This is not a problem with the remote, it is a problem with the box - a hard reset of the Echostar box itself fixes it every time. Ths hard reset loses all of your saved settings and any scheduled recordings (though not any previous recordings, they stay in your library). I haven't been able to track this problem down to a definite cause, but I have a couple of prime suspects at the moment. It could be down to HDMI 'hot-plugging' (or more accurately the switching off and on of display devices connected to the Echostar's HDMI port - my amp for example has an HDMI switch built in which effectively disconnects from the Echostar when I switch to another source) or it could be down to using other non-related remotes in the vicinity of the box. Either way, I just hope Echostar track the problem down and fix it with a firmware update as hard resetting is a bit of a pain.
[Update on remote control issue: I am now 99% convinced that this is a problem with the power on/off button on my Amp remote. If I power the amp on or off in the vicinity of the Echostar box, often the Echostar stops responding to it's own remote.]
[Further UPDATE on the remote issue (October 2013): Mr. N. D. Withyman has posted a permanent solution to this issue in the comments to this review. It IS specific to Yamaha amplifier remotes (not just the model quoted below), it would seem, and I'm copying the solution here for easy access. Thanks Mr. Withyman.
"Well, some months have passed now since we last discussed the problems 'peculiar' to the combined operations of the Echostar and Yamaha RXV373 amp, a subject which I also raised on one of the AV fora but quite out of the blue, someone has posted a very useful reply there which is copied below-
" I now have the complete solution from Echostar.
Every time you press the power button on the Yamaha remote, the Yamaha remote sends out a pairing address command (address 126). This sets the Echostar STB pairing to 126 also. As the Echostar remote is most likely set to a different pairing it no longer responds.
Reprogram the Echostar remote with same address as the Yamaha:
Do the following on the HDS600 remote:
1) press and hold the left and right arrow keys for five seconds (until LED stays on)
2) Using the numeric keypad, enter digits 1 2 6 (LED blinks three times)
3) While pointing the HDS600 remote at the STB, press and hold the right arrow and OK keys for five seconds (until LED blinks 2 times)..."]
DISEQC SUPPORT NOW ADDED
One criticism of this box has been that it does not support DiSEqc - well now it does.
As of firmware version 121R the HDS-600RS supports DiSEqC 1.1 (and is compatible with DiSEqc 1.0 as well). This means that the box can be used with multi-dish systems and with DiSEqC switches. So now this box can be used in complex installations as well as simple Sky replacement type installations.
When you upgrade to 121R your box will retain it's normal setup so if you want to switch over to a DiSEqC / non-FreeSat setup you will need to do a hardware reset on the box (you won't lose your recordings, but you will lose scheduled recodings and settings). There is now a new menu option when setting up the box - you can choose standard setup by hitting 'OK' as before, or hit the yellow button for a DiSEqC type setup. Documentation is available for download from the EchoStar website.
All in all this is a very good box. If it weren't for the build quality issues I had and the dying remote then this box would get a resounding 5 stars. It wouldn't be right for me to ignore these problems, however, so only four stars I'm afraid - and that is a really great shame for a box with so very many good points.
With the added functionality of 121R and the fact that this box is clearly being actively developed and the devlopers seem to be listening to users, this really is a superb product. I can only assume I was unlucky with the build quality problem with my box as I've only seen one other similar comment.
[As well as the review, I've uploaded the photos of the faults with my box and a general view of the box's innards for anyone that might be interested - they are up the top of the Amazon listing as user images along with the official pictures]
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important. Ignore early reviews.,
This review is from: EchoStar HDS-600RS SlingLoaded TV Anywhere Freesat+ HD digital TV recorder (Electronics)
Just a quick update for anyone considering buying one now. I would ignore early reviews as software updates have made them redundant. The latest software is v121R (only available via internet at time of writing as its new).
1. It has never missed a recording.
2. No harder to use than when you first got your Sky+ (remember?)
3. The remote is fine (although I use "Logitech Harmony 600" for controlling everything).
4. Sling works very well.
5. It will only get better as Echostar release future updates.
6. Unusual design, but looks fine under my TV. (lights can now be dimmed and it can be made silent in standby)
7. Read the manual as most of the things people have issues with can be changed in the settings!
8. Would I buy it all over again, Yes. At £179.99 there is just nothing to compete. Humax old/outdated/more expensive. Samsung more expensive/not as good.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Satellite Recorder which works well in Standard definition.,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: EchoStar HDS-600RS SlingLoaded TV Anywhere Freesat+ HD digital TV recorder (Electronics)
Finding it hard to persuade my wife to get an HD Television, I decided to add to our existing Talk Talk IPTV/Freeview PVR with an HD capable model and hopefully convince her later to add an HD TV to watch the HD channels that Freesat provides. Consequently, this review will cover how well the HDS-600RS works with an SD TV. I will add to this review as and when my wife is persuaded to go HD!
The unit arrived well-packaged from Amazon with all the leads required for HD, as was to be expected, but no SCART lead for SD connection. Having leads of all types in a box under the bed this was no problem, but bear this in mind if you are buying to connect to an SD TV.
Once all the leads were connected I plugged the unit in and it ran through the connection wizard. Including a satellite download of the latest firmware (121R), this took about 15 minutes. All channels having been found, the picture proved to be excellent, as I was getting a good signal from the satellite feeds. On screen text in the programme guide and the information bar can be difficult to read as it is designed for HD, but there is some adjustment that can be made to text size if required.
Recordings are indistinguishable from the broadcast pictures and you can still watch and record HD channels with an SD television. Presumably, there is some sort of downscaling going on, as the picture is not cropped in any way. Nothing is mentioned in the manual regarding this. I am going to record films in HD so they can be viewed in their full HD glory at a later date.
The auto recording setting seemed to work quite well in my test recordings, with only a late-night programme having the beginning missed. To be safe, as I hate to miss part of programmes, I have used a timed recording to add minutes to the beginning and end of scheduled recordings. This seems to work intelligently even when recording 2 programmes on 2 channels back-to-back. Each programme was complete with no overlap, so the unit presumably took the broadcast end 'signal' of the first programme to tell it where to put the break, ignoring my minutes added in that situation. This worked okay even on BBC1 with no large gap between programmes for adverts.
According to forums I have read, there was a manual recording function that has been removed from the latest firmware - I won't really miss it, but you might. As Freesat+ is supposed to work with an EPG and provide series linking, this probably won't be a problem for most users. When recording some programmes the Echostar also advised of similar programmes that I might like to watch! Where this is a programme you were going to record anyway, it is a time-saver. If the programme doesnt appeal to you, then you can just ignore the suggestion.
Non-Freesat mode is present and works, but it is awkward to set-up and use. I expect most people wouldn't even bother. You have to add each frequency separately and any channels that have a presence on Freesat aren't added, so you can't just keep the box in Non-Freesat mode and access all Free to Air channels. You need to change modes via the menu system. I suspect this is a requirement of the Freesat specifications - you don't want to charge channels for inclusion on the EPG and then find the box treats all channels equally.
The sling function also works well, especially inside your house, directly accessing your home network. It willwork via Wi-fi and 3G, but obviously you are then restricted by the speed of the upload provided by your internet provider. Using the browser or the Android app (I couldn't test the iphone app) you basically have access to all the functionality you would have sat in front of the TV with the remote control. In a browser, the website installs a small extension that gives you a full remote control overlay. This make it simple to use. This works well in Google Chrome, giving you access to everything. I would imagine it works the same way in other browsers. You can access the EPG, play or delete recordings or even schedule programmes to record - useful if you remember something you want to record and are out and about. In the Android app, the functions are accessed via several menus giving screen overlays. This is slightly more complicated, but necessary for a smaller screen. All this completely takes over the box so nobody in the house can use it. Not a problem for me, as I work nights and can access the box when my wife is asleep!
Lastly, a quick mention of Echostar Customer Support, who have been excellent. I had two minor problems when I set up the unit. Firstly, when I put the unit into standby, the broadcast continued for several seconds and then the picture froze. Not a problem if turning off the TV, but odd nonetheless. Secondly, the LIB button which gives access to your recordings library, also increased the Treble on my TV, so I would have to reset it. You can access the Library via the menus, but the single button is obviously quicker. I emailed Echostar after 8pm and the fixes for both problems were in my inbox the next morning. A factory reset - required because of the firmware update - resolved the standby issue (it now stops all output to the TV as expected) and I was given a procedure to change the 'address' of the remote so it no longer clashed with the TV remote's settings. Excellent customer service and a much faster response than I have ever got from any electronics company. Well done Echostar!
In conclusion, I would say that the Echostar is an excellent Freesat PVR and I look forward to trying out the HD functionality in due course. I will update this review when that happens.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great replacement for Sky+!,
Bought this with some trepidation as it is relatively new on the market. However, I needn't have worried. Set up is dead easy as is recording, and picture quality on both SD and HD is excellent. I cannot comment on reliability as I have only had it a short while but I am very satisfied so far and would recommend it wholeheartedly.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is _so_ easy to use!!!,
I own a Humax Freesat box myself, but recommended the Echostar to a technophobic relative so that I could log in using Sling to help them use the box.
They haven't needed any help at all!!! It is far far easier to use than our Humax. Here's what I've spotted so far:
1) The menus look nice, and seem really well designed.
2) When the box is asking you something (e.g. "would you like to record this in HD?" or "the programme you are trying to record clashes with one you have already set, would you like to record it on ITV+1 instead?" etc) it asks in plain simple English which anyone can understand.
3) The remote control is programmable (i.e. it's a learning remote), _and_ comes pre-programmed with codes for 10000s of TVs. A bit like Sky's remote (and unlike Humax's) it has _dedicated_ buttons for the TV's power button, volume buttons, mute button and AV select buttons. This means you don't have to worry about selecting the right function or mode to get the TV volume to work.
4) It's faster to use than the Humax. Especially the guide (EPG) and the library (list of recordings) are much faster to appear.
Main criticisms are the size of the writing on the remote control (the buttons themselves are small too, but because the space between them is good, this doesn't seem to matter, even with large fingers!), and the fact there's no RF modulator output for feeding really old TVs. It's clearly not meant for people with really old TVs (the menus look great on an HDTV!), but I bought an RF modulator separately and plugged it into one of the SCART sockets so my relative could watch the STB in the kitchen too.
I'll have to wait and see if my relative finds it 100% reliable before I can say I'd like one myself. Until the recent software update, I found the Humax 100% reliable, so would never have swapped. Now I've seen how slick a modern box can be, and seen some frustrations with the Humax on the latest software, I think I might be temped - and that's without considering the Sling functionality (which I don't need myself as I already own a Sling box!).
The Echostar is £50 more expensive than the Humax, but when you're spending this much money already, it's probably worth it to avoid the life-shortening frustrations of using a lesser box!
P.S. the five star rating is from my relative, who is utterly delighted with it - she tells me this every time I speak to her! Previously she had seven analogue channels (really, seven: two different ITVs and BBC Ones) and a complicated DVD-R that she rarely used. The Echostar STB is a revelation.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Echostar HDS-600RS an excellent freesat pvr.,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have never left a review on Amazon before but i think this product is so good i couldn't not leave one.
I have tried out almost every Freesat PVR out there except the Samsung SMT-S7800 because it has had way to may problems since launch and still has as of 22-07-2011, and have to say the HDS-600RS is easily the best. The Echostar just works so well it is just so simple and easy to use, the menus look fantastic and are very fast and well laid out. It does everything a freesat pvr should do and more, it has all the usual features like recording two channels at once, pausing and rewinding live tv, it can record from the buffer whereas some cant, it has dedicated buttons for skipping through adverts, it puts all your series link recordings into folders, and it also has a dedicated button for scrolling up and down whereas some don't. The unit itself runs very quiet and it also looks very fresh and modern, not like the boring old square black boxes most of us have under our tv's these days. It also has BBC iPlayer and is also ready for ITV Player once ITV release it to the freesat market.
I also like it that you can unplug the mains lead from the back of the unit, it makes it much easier when I am moving the box about or when i feed it through the cable management system on my cantilever tv stand, most manufacturers cut costs and hard wire the mains lead into the box so if you need to feed the mains lead through anything you have to cut the plug off.
The remote is a little bit on the small side but i very well laid out with all the buttons in the right places in a very logical order, it is surprisingly easy to hold considering is triangular shape. It also has some dedicated buttons for controlling some functions on the tv, like controlling the tv's volume, turning the tv on and off, and switching av inputs. the remote is a learning remote so it can learn functions from your existing remote, for instance i programmed one of the buttons to switch the aspect ratio on the tv.
I have not even tried out the sling feature yet so i still have something to look forward to.
I had the Humax Foxsat HDR before this and have to say the Echostar is better in every way and makes the Humax seem very old and out dated now. I find the picture quality on the Echostar is far better than the Humax as well.
Anyone thinking of buying a Freesat box should really give this a try, i don't think you will be disappointed. This is a fairly new box to the market and Echostar are going to be adding more features over the coming months so it will just keep getting better, this is certainly a box for the future. The customer service from Echostar is second to none, they really do welcome feedback on the box so if you think of ways of improving it further let them know as they really do listen, i have never known a manufacturer to be so helpful and friendly, im quite amazed.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY GREAT!,
Simplicity,ease of use and functionality are three good reasons for buying this machine. I was expecting it to be rather flashy and obtrusive but found that the opposite is true - The front display is quite dim and the machine is silent in use. I previously owned a Humax and I find the EchoStar HDS-600RS much more responsive and logical to control when using the remote. Initial installation and set-up couldn't be easier assuming you have a dual satellite feed and a decent tv to plug it into! Just switch on and follow the on-screen instructions. From then on it will just sit with your tv and do what you tell it to do,recording or replaying your favourite programmes,pausing live tv etc. The SlingLoaded aspect of this pvr is well worth a mention. Connect it to your home broadband network and you will be able to view and control it from virtually anywhere! My son has recently spent some time in China and he was easily able to view programmes on it from Beijing! I can think of no better recommendation than that. On the negative side, you can't use it for storing your photos or videos and you can't transfer recorded programmes from it. But used as a satellite pvr that will receive and record Freesat transmissions in standard and high definition and that you can watch and control from anywhere via broadband it is simply great!
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EchoStar HDS-600RS review,
Thought I would write something as I could not find any reviews or feedback on this product anywhere, apologies if too long.
Firstly the reasons that made me consider this product were primarily for the slingbox functionality, as I currently owned a slingbox pro which I had connected to various boxes in UK which I stream to Tokyo. However for whatever reason I was only able to stream between 500-800kbs in Tokyo even though I had a much faster upload in the UK. After exhausting everything else I could think of, I thought changing my slingbox might be worth trying. I also wanted to be able to stream to ipad, which isn't possible from slingbox pro, but is from this box (and or the slingbox pro HD). Finally as originally I found set up difficult for slingbox pro, I thought as this was an all in one slingbox and PVR freesat box it should be easier to set up. Overall this sounded like the perfect solution, and made me wonder why it hadn't been done before.
In terms of setup it simply required a cable from spare LNB ports on sky dish, together with Ethernet cable to router and HDMI cable to the TV. Set up was very straightforward apart from a slight problem adding this slingbox to my sling account which gave an error of unsupported device, this was got around though by choosing to create a new account with the same email as existing account, after which it automatically added to my existing account. The box automatically installed numerous updates and was instantly ready to go.
In terms of the freesat PVR/tuner, I am no expert but it seems quite impressive. It has a twin HD tuner which allows you to record two different channels at same time, includes HD channels, which produces in my view an excellent picture on both SD and HD channels, it has a very quick, easy and intuitive EPG which allows you to save favorites etc. The HDD is a large 500gb and allows you to record simply by pressing record and offers the option to series record or one off record, so is very simple and quick to use. It also contains the functionality to pause live TV, rewind or fast forward within the 1hour buffer similar to sky+ box. You can also watch BBC iplayer and ITV player from the box which I find very useful, although you cannot stream iplayer over the slingbox unfortunately. In addition even though it has twin tuners, unfortunately if you are using the slingbox to stream over the internet, you have to watch the same channel locally too, although I believe you can still record a separate channel, these restrictions I understand are required in order for it to get around the potential rights issues. Also to note the box appears reasonably quiet and in my opinion looks better in the flesh than pictures suggest. The remote is fine although some people could find the buttons a little small, it also allows you to program in some functions such as TV volume, mute, AV, and standbye
In terms of the slingbox functionality, once set up, I immediately saw significant improvements over the performance from my slingbox pro, with streaming increasing to roughly 1.2mbs-1.8mbs (from 0.5-0.8 previously), so basically more than double the streaming speed from 30mins earlier with the same internet connections at both ends. With this improvement I found the picture on my 40inch TV in Tokyo, via slingcatcher to be basically comparable to normal TV, although I have not tested sports viewing which may be different of course. It also allows me to stream to iphone and ipad now. As a result my main reason for getting the box had been satisfied straight away. In addition as the pvr is built in and it also uses basically the same remote as the slingcatcher, it means from the slingcatcher remote it is very easy to use most of the functions without any setup required.
In terms of negatives, from what I can see you are not able to connect other sources to stream via slingbox, only the built in Freesat channels. So worth bearing in mind if you need to be able to stream more than one device I guess you have to go for the Slingbox pro HD in that case. Not being able to stream iplayer or stream a different channel to being viewed locally was also a disappointment, but unavoidable I guess. Also fyi I have only had this set up for a few days so cannot comment yet on the long term reliability etc.
So in summary I think this box has a great HD freesat box together with a very good slingbox which is vastly superior in terms of performance to a slingbox pro (cannot comment on Slingbox pro HD though which I imagine will also be superior to slingbox pro). So very happy with the purchase so far, would recommend to anyone looking for a slingbox (assuming streaming just freesat is sufficient) or a premium HD freesat pvr.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy customer!,
I decided to buy this after doing quite a bit of research - it was either Humax or Echostar, I ditched Sky HD and this replaced it. I went for echostar because it's a new product which means better roadmap for development and also liked the idea of the sling feature - to be able to watch tv over the net on a laptop or smart phone.
This was a straight swap for the sky box, just disconnected the two coax connections and replaced with the echostar.
Have to say I'm very impressed, it worked straight out of the box, it took about 10mins to get it up and running and automatically downloaded the latest firmware image over the Sat link without any issues.
The box is a LOT quieter than the Sky amstrad box, it's very responsive and the picture quality is superb. The menu and EPG is easy to get around.
I have not had a single failed recording to date, nor have I missed the start or end of anything (something the humax is known for).
The sling functionality worked straight away (I used power adapters as my broadband router is upstairs), although I had to set up a user account but that took no more than 5 mins. I like the idea that you see an image of the remote control on your PC and it's like you're in the room controlling it, you can also watch recordings from the library which is pretty neat.
BBCi Player works OK although it can be quite slow to respond, once you're actually watching something it's fine - obviously depends on the speed of your broadband.
I would definitely recommend echostar if your'e in the market for a new sat pvr.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A star performer.,
If you want a fast, quiet PVR that is very easy to use and most importantly of all has stunning picture quality then I can thoroughly recommend the Echostar HRS-600RS.
Installation took about 15 minutes from first switching on as the receiver wanted to update the software (117R). Once this was done I was up and running.
The EPG loads instantly, changing channels takes less than a second, and it runs almost silently. Picture quality is excellent in both HD and SD formats (via HDMI). All the usual PVR functions are available including live rewind and recording from the buffer. Pressing the "Lib" button takes you to your library of recordings. To date there have been no failed recordings. I have not yet tried out the Sling features yet, but BBC Iplayer works fine.
I am so far very happy with my purchase.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
EchoStar HDS-600RS SlingLoaded TV Anywhere Freesat+ HD digital TV recorder by EchoStar Software Ltd
Used & New from: £148.74