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Nov 17 2009

Harvard International today released version 1.8.1 of their software for the Bush, Grundig and Goodmans Freesat HD receivers; curing the problems from the previous software release.

It took Harvard International a few weeks originally to acknowledge the problem, followed by a large scale process of collecting and replacing customers receivers; and now finally a software update has been made available for download (OTA) which seems to resolve the original problems in just 5 minutes!

We managed to obtain a couple of units suffering from the initial update of which the Bush has now been updated and appears to be working fine. We will report back on how the Grundig fairs shortly.

So if anyone is still in posession of one of these faulty units, set it back up and providing it will operate for a short time, make sure the software update option is set to automatic within the menu, then return to standby; the download should automatically happen within a few minutes.

Let us know your results.

84 Responses to “Harvard Release Software Update Cure”

  1. Lee B Says:

    Does the last 2 updates offer anything new apart from breaking and then fixing the box?


  2. stuartA Says:

    theres humax boxes and theres others
    say no more.


  3. Dan M Says:


    The Technisat box is also fantastic… The humax has got its own software update issues.


  4. MJ Says:


    I thought the last Humax update messed up many boxes….

    Read this thread:



  5. Wayne Slater Says:

    I have had 2 new goodmans boxes to replace faulty, but the new software download keeps failing on both. is it supposed to?


  6. mh Says:

    My Goodmans HD box keeps trying to download this new software but always fails. Is it a faulty box? It was a replacement by Harvard for the Bush HD box I originally had.


  7. Richard Smith Says:

    I also have a Goodmans box (replaced for a Bush one) and the download keeps failing. I have to turn the unit off and start again as when the download failure menu appears i can’t get off it! Get the courier on standby!!!!!!!!


  8. C Ellison Says:

    Seems to be working with my Grundig box!


  9. shane Says:


    I have a humax box that refuses to work correctly since the upgrade this week. Ive email humax no reply. I have a bush hd box that has always worked, even after the last upgrade….


  10. Nigel Says:

    My goodmans box is failing to download ,I have put it into manual download only so I can get a picture.


  11. Harry Says:

    “also have a Goodmans box (replaced for a Bush one) and the download keeps failing. I have to turn the unit off and start again as when the download failure menu appears i can’t get off it! Get the courier on standby!!!!!!!!”

    I second this emotion!!!


  12. MickeyL Says:

    My Bush box downloaded and installed the software fine when I left in in standby all day yesterday and it appears to have fixed the problems.

    For those of you with download failures, does you box work enough to check you signal strength? If that is fine, you could just unplug the box, let it cool down, turn it back on – in standby – and just leave it alone for a few hours. Mine didn’t heat up as much in standby mode.


  13. Dan M Says:


    Tried the above many times.

    It keeps showing as download failed no matter which mode its in, it doesn’t even attempt to download, it just says download failed straight away. Goodmans too.


  14. admin Says:

    Bare in mind that this software release is to cure problems with the previous update; it could be that the download is only working on affected boxes, so if yours is working fine, don’t worry about the update.


  15. Dan M Says:

    It worries me that future updates will also not be received. It means that only the broken boxes will get the new menu graphics and improvments….which is just bad.


  16. Denis Says:

    My Goodmans box was not effected by the faulty download but downloaded yesterdays update which was fine and has updated the programme planner and graphics.


  17. Dan M Says:

    Maybe its a problem with people using a certain software version.

    Mine is curently at 1.4.33 and can’t download the new update.


  18. gaz s Says:

    my bush hd downloaded it fine


  19. Wanda Says:

    I also had a new goodmans box after the download in October. same as others download fails.


  20. Degs Says:

    Because my Bush box was always set to manual update I never had the original problem. When things looked good yesterday I tried the update that the box was indicating was now ready. It failed twice. Reminds me of the early TomTom days


  21. MickeyL Says:

    Now mine’s finally working I’ve set the update to “Manual” and it’s staying that way!

    What a shambles…


  22. Rob Says:

    I have a Goodmans box, a replacement for a Bush in the last fiasco and, guess what?
    Download fails everytime.
    Currently at 1.4.33 as received from the factory.


  23. Mike Says:

    Hi, just spokent to product support.

    The problem seems very simple – yet another basic error. All the Goodmans boxes they sent out as replacements for the failed boxes seem to be on SW version 1.4.33. This was already well out of date before the “fatal” downoload of October. It seems the new download will only work on top of the previous “latest” software. I’m now waiting for a call back to tell me how to fix this. Nice one!

    BTW – leaving your box in manual upgrade probably means you’re never going to be able to catch up and some of the future upgrades may be vital.

    I still couldn’t do without Freesat, though. Freeview is rubbish where I live.


  24. Dan M Says:

    So everybody with a replacment box is going to get screwed again… Well done harvard, not exactly the best way to keep your customers.


  25. Rob Says:

    Well done Mike!

    Save us all bombarding them with calls. Lets hope its a simple fix (doubt it!)


  26. James Rogers Says:

    Bush freesat HD box ,received a message saying leave the box on while new software downloading .Retuned to box it had switched itself off .,and will not now switch back on . Tried all the usuak tricks ,ie powering off and leaving ,but still unable to switch on . 2 calls to Bush helpline ,now awaiting call back .
    Typicaly box is 3 weeks out of warranty


  27. Degs Says:

    Taken note about the manual update but harking back to the early TomTom satnav days. Those people who did not upgrade the software ended up with working units while those who did upgrade ended up with dead units. Looking at the forums recently… things are more or less the same.


  28. JPB Says:

    Got a `fried` Grundig replaced by an apparantly new Goodmans with software of 1 . 4.33. Current update fails repeatedly,so after un plugging and re plugging several times I`ve managed to reset to `manual upgrade` where it will stay until I can afford a Humax


  29. Dan M Says:

    It looks like everybody with 1.4.33 will be frozen out of future updates then…..

    Why can’t harvard do software updates properly? Its taken them weeks to get a new one out, you would have thought it would have been properly tested. obviously not.


  30. Bernie Says:

    Buy yourselves a quality product i.e. Technisat and all your problems will vanish!


  31. Andyc Says:

    Slightly different topic, my Panasonic DMR-BS750EB picked up version 1.1 of its software from the internet last night. Seemed to go in cleanly.
    The Panasonic site says that the update is for ‘Stability of Timer recording function.’ The on air update is shown as starting today 18/11/2009.


  32. Degs Says:

    Pure incompetence! But hey! Nothing’s impossible! Harvard will have to spend a bit of cash and employ some competent software guys to sort it. No problem at all! In the meantime.. enjoy your free HD. Its got to be better than paying Sky. Just you wait it’ll be sorted soon!


  33. Richard Smith Says:

    Posted last night that the download keeps failing and can’t get off the download menu.Have been able to change channels via using the remote with number changes but if I use the main menu button and change channels then the download failure page comes up again! Have changed to manual updates and all is fine. So, do I stay happy with no more updates and new channels or do I bring those couriers on and make then some money?


  34. Degs Says:

    It’s not a case of no more updates. Harvard have got to sort this and soon.


  35. Degs Says:

    Trouble is ” mud sticks ” and people will get fed up of “freesat” if things like this continue for long


  36. emma Says:

    Having same problem.Already had to have one box changed, Not going through that again.It is becomeing a joke.You pay for the privalage sort it out.After all the advert says how simple it is, a one off payment and then nothing but missery.


  37. Nigel Says:

    This is my second Goodman’s HD box (1st one replaced) ,now I have to run with manual downloads.As Harvard replaced the first one are they now responsible for a full cash refund if I require one.Because when all is said and done this product is no longer fit for purpose.


  38. Penn Says:

    I recieved a new Goodmans box to replace my fryed old one and the sorfware version is 1.4.33. Hence the new down load fails, it not only fails but locks the controls as well. Surely if the only problem is that they are trying to upgrade from the wrong level this should be detected immeadiately and the appropriate message displayed not locking the box.

    So if the problem is just a wrong previous level then it would seem that what is required is to transmit a correcting download with a level number between 1.4.33 and 1.8 and then in a couple of weeks re-transmit 18 again.


  39. Rob Says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if these companies, when they make a cock up like this would just come out and say something like “Whoops, we didn’t realise the problem and this is what we are doing to sort it”.
    Instead they leave it for days or weeks before they officially announce what is happening.
    When did they say that this update would fix the last update problem? If Id have known, I would probably have kept my last Bush as the problem caused were relatively minor, and now I would have a fully working and up to date box. Instead now I have a Goodmans box that I cant update and making me annoyed all over again!
    Think I’m going to ring them and give them some grief over the phone!


  40. pmb Says:

    Seem to be conflicting reports about this upgrade. My father obtained a new box from a retailer not direct from Harvard. I left it in manual and noticed it too had 1.4.33 However on tuesday he switched it to auto but it didn’t upgrade for whatever reason and is still on that software and working.


  41. Rob Says:

    Anyone got the 02392 number for Harvard? I cant find it anywhere and don’t want to use the 0871 number . . .


  42. Nigel Says:

    Harvard phone no is –0208 2387650 (see website


  43. mike Says:

    recived my second replacment yesturday it is loaded with software version 1.8.1
    all working ok picture is very sharp 100% better.


  44. robbo Says:

    My BushHD box came set at 1.44,after several attempts to download I did it again showed download failed I pressed ok and bingo it started download I am now on 1.8


  45. Niall Says:


    Im using my box in Dublin, so returning to anywhere here was never an option as the boxes are not supported outside of the UK. My Goodmans HD failed in the initial “batch” but im glad to say now that it seems to be working ok again 1.8.1 software.


  46. Rob Says:

    My Goodmans has software version 1.4.33 and it keeps failing to update also and continues to lock up. What a load of ******* ******* these companies are. And before you tell me to go and get a Humax, have been there and done that, 3 of their boxes were **** also.


  47. Kevin McFarlane Says:

    From what I’ve skimmed from various posts here and elsewhere pretty much all software updates for all boxes have problems for many customers. The recent Humax updates have not been blemish-free either (I have a Humax and the update was OK for me but not for others). However, they don’t seem to be as severe as the Harvard ones and are often easily correctable by factory resetting.

    The Harvard situation is a nightmare.


  48. Mike Says:

    I think there are 2 of us using this name! Mine’s the one with the capital M :-)

    Had it confirmed by someone who sounded like he knew what he was talking about – Harvard boxes with 1.4.33 will no longer update over the air but later vesions should. Unfortunately (sic) Relpacement Goodmans boxes were all sent out with this version (obviously been sitting in a warehouse for some time). So, box picked up today and should be back Monday.

    He greed setting to manual upgrade was a temporary cure but not a great idea as we would then miss out on “all the great upgrades that are in the pipeline such as capability to run with BBC iPlayer” Makes sense but I think you’ll need nerves of steel!!


  49. Dan M Says:


    Who did you ring / speak to to arrange a box collection?

    Its a bit strange that they are willing to re-collect the replaced boxes.


  50. Degs Says:

    Ha! Do you really believe this is the last time an update will cock up you box? And why would you want to tie up your lovely big telly with iPlayer. Shortly you will be updating your Laptop/PC with a new one with Windows7 and HDMI and then you can watch all the on demand services on your shiny new monitor. Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring!!!!!!!!!


  51. Mike Says:

    @Dan and Degs.
    Agree, no need to panic. Just keep a sense of humour – the technology is evolving faster and faster. I’m just acing a w/e with uncertain terrestrial reception.
    I called the number on the info screen – got the call centre after about 5 mins who were very helpful and seemed to understand the problem. They passed it on to the next level of technical team who called back in about 3 hours, confirmed my predicament and got the pick-up arranged for the next day.
    As before, recovery is good but we never should have been here in the first place.


  52. Wanda Says:

    Thanks Mike for the info – saying that I find it unbelievable that all of us that had replacement goodmans boxes now have to go through the same process again – collection and another delivery! Last time it took 4 days for the courier driver to find me – despite having full details of where I am and my phone number (not Harvard’s fault but I did have to make numerous phone calls at my cost).
    I feel that Harvard themselves should contact all of those people that have had replacements – why should we have to do the running on this, they have all of our details. I am not panicing – just starting to lose my sense of humour!


  53. Degs Says:

    I wonder….. if admin is reading this thread would they know if it is possible to update the software by other means than over the air?


  54. Steve Says:

    Sigh… the replacement Goodmans box started the download of the 1.8 software and it too keeps failing.

    From the previous posts it seems this too will be a courier job.


  55. Denis Says:

    Touch wood so far I have had no problems with my Goodmans HD box. Currently 1.8 software. For info I purchased my box within the first month that they went on sale.


  56. Frank Dale Says:

    The two Goodman HD boxes that replaced my Grundig units have both failed to accept the download of 1.8 software.

    Mark on the Freesat helpline says it is possible to be “talked through” the loading process, if you are experiencing any problems. The manufacturers are supposed to contact me next Monday (23/11). Has anyone already tried this and if it worked can they tell the rest of us how to do it?


  57. Jock Says:

    The DTG web site says that Harvard are ceasing the 1.8.1 ODA today, Friday 20th. Does that mean that everything fixable is fixed, or that the repair is proving more trouble than it’s worth? At least they are stopping it – Humax are still killing HD boxes.


  58. Steve Says:

    Just talked to Harvard and they say to try again after 6pm this evening.


  59. Dan M Says:

    @steve whats so special about 6pm? are they submitting a working one


  60. Dan M Says:

    The update has been pulled due to people having trouble with the download.


  61. Luke Says:

    Took long enough for a fix! Why didn’t they send out another update to downgrade boxes to the previous firmware as soon as they found out there was an issue?

    I through away my Bush HD box after the update about a month ago (or whenever it was) basically broke it.

    I bought a Humax Foxsat HD box to replace it and couldn’t be happier. So much better than the Bush box in everyway!


  62. Degs Says:

    OK..lets be serious about all this for a moment. The sad thing about this….the really sad thing is when you consider the people…….near to genius… who designed the technology to launch the satellites, designed the circuitry and the electronic microchips within all the apparatus concerned with beaming pictures to space and back…have all been let down by a crew of incompetent people who after completely messing up peoples lives (who have payed good money for the privilege) seem to be unable or unwilling to use simple problem solving skills to resolve this issue simply by reviewing the monumental software errors which have now become apparent


  63. Kevin Says:

    @ Degs
    I understand your argument, but I think this can be seen from another prospective. Satellites are very expensive technology therefore it is in the interest of the industry to get it lauched and in operation without hitches. In contrast the receivers are generally very cheap and seen not to be critical.

    Even so there are many instances when satellites have failed for example a launch has gone wrong and it is destroyed or there is a technical glitch with the satellite itself.

    However the receivers are in their own right complex devices and to further complicate matters the specifications or components are frequently changed. No wonder it is difficult to test for all combinations of equipment. Humax have also had difficulties with software updates. I only had to pay £68 for my Bush Freesat receiver and up to now have had no real problems, however had it gone wrong Harvard would have fix it. I gather they are better than Sky!


  64. Degs Says:

    @ Kevin
    OK I read your comments with interest. Let me put it very simply. What ever service you sell….whatever you manufacture… respect to all those people who have given their very best…..DO NOT ever involve the paying public until you are 100% certain it works. DO NOT involve the man in the street in testing your product……it causes stress and anxiety whether its a paper clip or a freesat box


  65. fluffy Says:

    There are still people talking about whether their box is under warranty or not. It doesn’t matter. If it is out of warranty the it is possible for the vendor to say that a defect is down to wear and tear. That does not apply in the case where the manufacturer has caused boxes to fail due to sending them a bad software update.


  66. geoff Says:

    Grundig crashed October. Picked up and Goodmans delivered back, took a week. Crashed last Tuesday, picked up Thursday, pm not am as promised. Should be back tommorrow – we’ll see!…and will it be ok then
    Tried 0208 2387650 but they seem to have switched that to a fax no so you have to ring instruction manual no and talk to phone call centre who then say Harvard’s will contact you. Haven’t heard from them yet though.


  67. Degs Says:

    Oh Dear….Oh Dear..Oh Dear..! Come on Harvard. You can do it! Just write and transmit new code to fix all known problems. You might have to shell out a bob or two but come on guys….you can do it!


  68. Kevin Says:

    But my point is that the technology is not simple. Come to think of it life is not simple. If you had studied maths and computing for as long as me you would realise that most things are a compromise. If a company tested a product until it reached 100% reliabilty that product would take a lifetime to produce by which time the technology would be obsolete.

    In fact it is not possible to truly test a product in a lab because it is impossible to replicate real life situations. For example some years back one of the train companie C2C carried out extensive tests on their Electrostar electric trains before entering passenger service and thought they had ironed out all the software bugs. As soon as the trains started in service the electic doors frequently failed. What they had not predicted is that passengers would hold back the doors when they were closing and this registered as a door fault. It took the manufacturers many attempts to rewrite the software to overcome the problem.

    Getting back to satellite receivers, they will be used in many kinds of environments and configured in a variety of combination of TVs, recorders, sound sytems etc. Last of all people will manage to do things to the receiver that could not be predicted.


  69. Degs Says:

    @ Kevin
    I only studied Maths to A level. However I find it a little presumptuous of you to dismiss my 27 years in the Software and Hardware industry without a little further research. I have heard all your excuses many times over the years and have never knowingly accepted them. I wouldn’t have employed you for long! I found your tale about the train doors typical. Asked to make a list of passenger interaction, the fact that they do all manner of things to interfere with the doors must have come very near the top…….you’re fired!


  70. Mark I Says:

    Well after reading all your comments my problem since the last update is a small one, I have lost the Sports Multi screen on page 3001 ! Everything else seems to work, anyone else got this problem?
    Oh and yes Havard are going to get back to me.


  71. Rob Says:

    Ok folks, we are getting a bit off topic here. Does anyone know the definitive answer to the problem, ie what do all of us with the replaced boxes and early firmware do now? Is this a back to the factory again, or will they modify the update to accept the earlier firmware??



  72. Jock Says:

    Admin got hold of Bush and Goodmans boxes in order to test the upgrade repair process. What’s the answer?


  73. Dan M Says:


    it worked to fix the broken boxes (with 1.7 software), but failed to download continuously on the replacement boxes harvard sent out due to the original dodgy upgrade… thats why its been pulled so quickly.


  74. Kevin Says:

    Looks like I hit a raw nerve! If you don’t want people questioning your comments you should not make sweeping comments. Oh, but I forgot you must have checked your comment to make sure it was 100% certain to work!

    I could describe yourself as being persumptuous, expecting me to know about your 27 years in the Software and Hardware industry. However that does not make my remarks any less valid.

    There is no way that Harvard could test the software for receivers to the level you demand for the price they charge for the boxes. It is a trade off and errors will occur. Hopefully they will have learnt lessons however in my experiance lessons are often forgotten over time.

    By the way if you did employ me, I doubt you would have any cause to sack me as I am a perfectionist and like to get things 100% right.


  75. admin Says:


    Both the units we upgraded with the new software brought them back to life and have been fine since.


  76. Degs Says:

    @ Kevin
    Hang on a sec. Why are you still here? I’ve told you once…YOU’RE FIRED!!!!!!


  77. Kevin Says:

    You can’t fire people you don’t employ!

    Proof if any that you are deluded.


  78. Norman Says:

    Downloaded the update – everything now works perfectly on my Grundig receuver


  79. Dil Says:

    Bought a Bush BFSAT01 HD yesterday in Argos , now down to £60. Seems to be ok but voice sync a bit iffy on some channels. I have also checked the software and its 1.4.33 oh no!!.
    Called tech support number on the inst manual and have been told that the problems with that software is now sorted and that is why I havent been instructed to upgrade my SV. I did sort of tell him that the 1.8 version is supposed to have changed other things aswel, but he insisted that my box is now ok. How is this going to affect the bbc iplayer and itv plr when these come on then.
    Do I keep or take back to argos? no point in having something if I can`t upgrade the software. Anyone advise please. Thanks


  80. Dan M Says:

    @Dil The guy probably didnt understand you mate.


  81. Dil Says:

    Hi Dan, the thing has been running now for over 24hrs, on standby overnight . No messages to upgrade software. Called support back again, sounded the same indian chap I had before. Again explained that the software was dated around 2008 and surely it needed updating. Again said that problem was sorted and that i basically had everything I should have and it was the same as having the 1.8.1 software installed. I think I will return it to argos tomorrow and re-connect the skybox. I am paying to call them and they don`t seem to understand the problem. Its like talking to the old AOL broadband support…..doh!!


  82. Dan M Says:

    @ Dil

    The 1.8.1 download has been pulled because of its lack of compatability.

    I would recommend waiting until the next download is available before getting rid of the box. You can check the availability of freesat software downloads here: (the hardvard HD boxes are normally listed as ‘Harvard: BUSH GOODMANS GRUNGIG HD”, the harvard SD boxes are normally listed as “Alba: SD ZAPPER & LOWCOST SD ZAPPER”).


  83. Dil Says:

    Thanks Dan for the info. I have decided to keep the box and hope there will be a proper update soon, bearing in mind someone did say that if you have 1.4.33 installed you wont be able to update?.
    Also, as I still have the sky box in place I am going to get one of those switches from maplin and connect both to that. That way I can either use the Sky box or the Freesat ( not at the same time-I know)


  84. arw Says:

    I downloaded 1.8.1 with no problem a day or two ago, did it on manual.
    I was getting lipsync problems but now It seems to be better.
    Not sure what the previous software was though.
    Does anyone else notice an improvement?


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