With the digital switch-over in full swing, now has never been a better time for manufacturers to unveil the latest in set-top box technology.
In August we had a look at some of the market’s best options for those who hadn’t made the step-up to digital television yet, with the Boxee Box – a hub allowing you to watch content from your computer – leading the way in innovation.
But now John Lewis has announced that they’re putting on sale the Digital Stream DPS-1000 Catch-Up TV player, at a price of £89.50.
The box’s selling point is all about watching catch-up television (BBC’s iPlayer etc.) without the need to connect to a computer. Yes, that’s right – missed that episode of The Apprentice? Well you don’t need to get up, find your laptop and load up your browser anymore. Simply connect the set-top box to your Internet connection and your TV and away you go.
It also lets you connect to streaming outlets such as YouTube, CNN Daily Video and Delicious TV – but we’re left wondering if the first of three is the only one of real use.
One of the more redeeming features here however is social networking connectivity, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter on hand – although older devices like Microsoft’s XBOX 360 foreshadowed this some time ago.
One glaring drawback of the Catch-Up Player is its lack of wireless ability, meaning that you’ll have to have the box near enough to phone-line access to connect the Ethernet cable to – no Sunday morning catch-up of Doctor Who in the cosy loft then.
Compared to the other set-top boxes and digital television delights we looked at – including integrated Freeview HD – the Digital Stream Catch-Up TV player seems quite like the Emmerdale of set-top boxes. It’s got good intentions, but with strong competition, it doesn’t quite cut it.