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Teufel MediaStation 6 review

Jim Martin
11 Jul 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
269
inc VAT

The Teufel MediaStation 6 may be packed with features and have great format support, but the sheer number of flaws and limitations mean it’s one to avoid

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Specifications

Teufel is better known for making top-notch speaker systems, so we were intrigued to find out what the company’s combined media streamer and Freeview PVR was capable of.

The list of formats it supports is longer than your arm, but there's more to a good streamer than the ability to play anything you throw at it. About the size of a large hardback book, the MediaStation crams in a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard disk to store TV recordings and your media. HDMI, component and composite mean you can hook it up to any TV.

Teufel MediaStation 6 side

There are two versions of the MediaStation: one with wired networking and one with Wi-Fi. You save £20 if you opt for the former, and you get a USB Wi-Fi dongle with the latter. This sticks awkwardly out of the right-hand side, where you’ll find a second USB port for connecting extra storage, an SDHC card reader, plus a male type B USB port for direct connection to a PC.

PVR

In the past we’ve found that media streamers with built-in TV tuners aren’t much good at replacing a dedicated PVR. It's the same story here. For a start, there’s only one tuner (and it doesn’t support HD channels) so you can record only one programme at a time.

When recording, you can watch a previously recorded show, or use any of the MediaStation’s other features. What’s annoying, however, is that you can’t browse any other channels in the EPG while watching a recording, so you can’t schedule any recordings until the current one has finished. The reason for this is that the thumbnail preview window shows the audio and video for the channel you’re browsing - it doesn't remain on the channel you're watching.

Teufel MediaStation 6 back

The guide itself is woeful. Instead of the usual multi-channel view, you see a list of six upcoming programmes for a single channel. It’s easy to see what’s on that channel for the next six days, but browsing other channels takes time as the tuner has to switch to that channel, and it’s particularly slow at doing so, taking around 10 seconds. If you attempt to schedule two recordings at the same time, a terse ‘Recording conflict’ message appears, but it doesn't give you a simple way to choose which programme to record. Strangely, programmes are saved in a folder named after the channel, not the programme - so you have to remember which channel it was on before you’ll be able to find it.

A ‘Permanent Timeshift’ option records everything, even when you change channels, so you can rewind back to a previous programme on a different channel if you switched over afterwards. If you disable this, you have to press the Time Shift button on the remote control to allow you to pause and rewind live TV.

Another quirk is that the MediaStation doesn’t use the real channel numbers, so if you’d prefer to press 80 on the remote control to watch BBC News, you’ll actually get BBC Radio 2. BBC News is instead found on channel 39. There’s no support for the ‘Red button’ interactive services, which is another blow.

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