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May 27 2014

Freesat confirms long-term partner Manhattan to develop Freetime set top boxesFreesat, the subscription free TV service, has announced that long term partner Manhattan Technology intends to manufacture a new line of Freetime set top boxes, building on Freesat’s award-winning and top-selling range.

Manhattan, the largest UK-owned manufacturer of set-top boxes, supplies thousands of independent retailers via its sister company Eurosat, as well as all the major retailers and supermarkets, including Dixons, Argos, John Lewis, Amazon and Tesco.

Owners of the new Manhattan Freetime range will be able to use Freetime to roll back the TV guide for the past seven days, access all the major On Demand services including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, and Demand 5, and watch Showcase, Freesat’s great programme recommendation service. The Freesat mobile companion app will also work in conjunction with the Manhattan Freetime set-top boxes, offering the ability to plan, record and manage programmes to watch and directly control the TV.

Freesat’s connected TV service Freetime has consistently delivered strong growth since its launch in 2012. The latest quarterly figures highlight that it now accounts for 41% of all Freesat set top box sales, and sales of Freetime boxes more than doubled year on year.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, commented:

We’re delighted to confirm that we are working with another Freetime manufacturing partner, following the recent Freetime announcements with Panasonic and Vestel. Having worked with Manhattan for five years now, they are an important partner for us and it’s great to see our Freetime service proving so popular amongst both industry and consumers alike.

Abbas Arbab-Zadeh, Chairman and CEO at Manhattan Technology Ltd, commented:

Freesat’s Freetime technology provides a world class TV experience, with access to a roll back guide and multitude of On Demand services, so we’re delighted to confirm this news today. Freetime puts Manhattan at the cutting edge of the UK television industry and we look forward to releasing a full range of high-performance Freetime receivers and recorders, all with integrated Wi-Fi.

23 Responses to “Freesat confirms long-term partner Manhattan to develop Freetime set top boxes”

  1. danceswithhorses Says:

    About time too, although no details forthcoming so far about when this box will be available.

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  2. admin Says:

    danceswithhorses said:
    About time too, although no details forthcoming so far about when this box will be available.

    Have asked Manhattan who follow this website to comment, providing they can do so at this stage of course.

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  3. James Blair Says:

    Didn’t Manhattan suffer because Freesat changed their R N D contract and this set their launch back?

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  4. Dave W Says:

    Excellent news. I used to have an HD-S and it was a brilliant wee box, with a really useful Favourites function – are you listening, Humax? ;)

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  5. Michael Says:

    Dave W said:
    Excellent news. I used to have an HD-S and it was a brilliant wee box, with a really useful Favourites function – are you listening, Humax?

    Nowt to do with Humax, freetime UI is all down to Freesat so I’d assume the Manhattan boxes UI will be exactly the same as the Humax freetime boxes.

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  6. lawrence pearce Says:

    This is good news indeed. Will be interesting to see if they go head to head with Humax, or whether they will offer a slightly lower spec / lower cost alternative. I am at least hoping that Manhattan will be able to offer a less ugly equivalent to the HDR-1000S!

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  7. lawrence pearce Says:

    Just noticed in the quote that the new Manhattan machines will all have integrated wi-fi. So I’ve probably answered my own question in that it appears these machines will have a better spec than the Humax ones offer, hopefully at similar prices.

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  8. Alex Manhattan Says:

    Hi everyone,

    All models will come with integrated Wi-Fi and be priced extremely competitively… certainly the PVR models will be significantly less than Humax. They will be extremely compact, much like our current HDR-S model, using 2.5″ hard disks and come in 500GB and 1TB versions. Expect the 500GB to retail somewhere between the HDR-S and Humax’s 500GB Freetime model.

    The UI is indeed dictated by Freesat so don’t expect much difference in terms of functionality, though I expect our UI to be somewhat quicker than theirs.

    I should be able to confirm expected release dates in July.

    All the best,

    Alex

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  9. Neil Says:

    All very welcome news, should be good to see these new Freetime Manhatten’s once they are launched. It will also be good to see a bit of healthy competition for Humax as they’ve pretty much got free run of the Freetime market at the moment.

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  10. soldierboy001 Says:

    Alex Manhattan said:
    Hi everyone,
    All models will come with integrated Wi-Fi and be priced extremely competitively… certainly the PVR models will be significantly less than Humax. They will be extremely compact, much like our current HDR-S model, using 2.5″ hard disks and come in 500GB and 1TB versions. Expect the 500GB to retail somewhere between the HDR-S and Humax’s 500GB Freetime model.
    The UI is indeed dictated by Freesat so don’t expect much difference in terms of functionality, though I expect our UI to be somewhat quicker than theirs.
    I should be able to confirm expected release dates in July.
    All the best,
    Alex

    Yes July that’s 2 months away so why tell us now is that to stop us buying a Humax for the time being, don’t forget that over 90% of buyers don’t even follow threads like this.

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  11. @theplayandratel Says:

    I for one consider this great news.
    This is what I’ve been waiting for, been attempting to update my Dad’s Humax over the weekend which ended in success after 2 USB re-formats and 2 software versions.
    O.T.A? Forget it.
    An alternative with Freetime not only challenges Humax and offers us a choice, but also is another contender to Youview, and don’t get me started on my talktalk version of that..

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  12. @theplayandratel Says:

    Can I also add this site is the authority on Freesat and anyone considering the service should most certainly be directed to its services.

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  13. Alex Manhattan Says:

    Hi soldierboy,

    Sorry I’m not trying to be difficult, I just don’t want to promise something I’m not sure we can deliver yet. We’d love to make 4Q.

    Best,

    Alex

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  14. Glaswegian-boy Says:

    Hi

    How about a Manhattan box with usb record. This would also allow you to pause live TV.

    Glaswegian-boy

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  15. Clem Dye Says:

    I just hope that the hardware and/or software is more robust that that of the current Manhattan Freesat PVR. A great box let down by a slow remote and a lack of stability. I chose a Manhattan over Humax, but because the box was so flaky it went back and I ended-up with a Humax anyway. Do your stuff this time, Manhattan!

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  16. Mark Groeneveld Says:

    Really good news. Do prefer Manhattan products over humax (when they get it right). Please make more use of the usb connection. Would be my critic of Manhattan.
    A Q4 release is gonna feel really like watching paint dry. I hope Alex can give,us updates/pics/specs as time goes on.

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  17. pollensa1946 Says:

    Alex Manhattan said:
    …The UI is indeed dictated by Freesat so don’t expect much difference in terms of functionality…

    I guess that means it will have the same stupid, irritating design points and bugs as set out at length by users on this site. So far not corrected or commented on by Freesat.

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  18. pollensa1946 Says:

    pollensa1946 said: I guess that means it will have the same stupid, irritating design points and bugs as set out at length by users on this site.So far not corrected or commented on by Freesat.

    I forgot to add I am a potential customer for another 3 boxes, but no sale until the UI shows big improvement.

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  19. Alex Manhattan Says:

    Hi Clem,

    I apologise for your difficulties with the HDR-S but we did a software update earlier this year that has really made the product bullet-proof. We learned a hell of a lot from that project (particularly to do with PVR!) that we are applying to our developments going forward.

    Pollensa – I can’t promise anything but if you would like to highlight the specific bugs and design points that irritate you with Freetime I will bring them up with them!

    All the best,

    Alex

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  20. pollensa1946 Says:

    Alex Manhattan said:
    Pollensa – I can’t promise anything but if you would like to highlight the specific bugs and design points that irritate you with Freetime I will bring them up with them!
    All the best,
    Alex

    Check it out with Admin here as he compiled a long list of user complaints and submitted them to Freesat…

    http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/improving-the-freetime-user-interface/

    …feedback promised but none as yet.

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  21. Alex Says:

    Hi Pollensa, I will see what I can do!

    Best,

    Alex

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  22. grandad Says:

    I have had a manhatten plaza DS 100 for 2+ years and have
    Lost my service on two occassions through loss of signal.
    Once for 4+ months in 2013 and this time sinse Feb 2014 I
    Have gone through the set up to try getting the signal back
    butt it doesn’t recognise my postcode, its getting very annoying and am seriously thinking of going back to free view
    Can anyone give me any pointers as to what to do now.
    Many thanks Grandad.

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  23. Mark Groeneveld Says:

    Any updates on this…?

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