EchoStar HDS-600RS review
While the Sling Box made it possible to access your PVR over the internet, setting up an extra box and hooking up the IR transmitter created an extra set of cables that had to sit underneath your TV. Now that Slingmedia has been bought by PVR maker EchoStar, the HDS-600RS Freesat HD recorder is the first product that we've seen to have Slingbox technology integrated, known as SlingLoaded.
It's quite exciting as a concept and considerably neater, as you only have a single box and don’t need the IR transmitter. We were quite taken with the look of the HDS-600RS, which retains the Toblerone-shape of the original Slingbox. Touch buttons on the front light up when the box is turned on, adding to the HDS-600RS's good looks.
Setting the box up is easy. All you have to do is connect two cables from your satellite dish (a Sky dish, if installed will do the job), hook up the HDMI output to your TV (there's also SCART if you don't have an HD TV) and power the box on. A simple setup wizard automatically scans for channels, which takes just a few minutes to complete.
From this point, it's incredibly simple to use. We found the Guide very quick to access. You can view every channel or browse channels by category, including Entertainment, Sports and Music. By default you can hear the programme you're watching, but the setup menu lets you turn all menus transparent, so that you can see what's going on in the background. It's not quite as neat as having a preview window, but certainly the next best thing.
Two and a half hours of programmes are shown on screen, plus eight channels in the list. Hitting OK on a programme switches to watch it, if it's currently on, but otherwise sets a reminder. Alternatively, hitting Record lets you record a show with the option for series link for every show in a series.