Bush DFTA1 £70
30th Apr 2005 | 23:00
It takes more than a stylish box to compete
This Bush Freeview box, the DFTA1, is a stylish slimline affair, with rounded corners, a silver exterior and a blue fascia piquing interest.
Other than that, it's business as usual, with an RGB Scart providing a clear output to the TV and a normal video-based Scart connecting to the VCR. If you're a little more antiquated in your recording methods then thankfully there's also an RF loopthrough, so you can output digital channels to a separate TV (perhaps in the kitchen).
There are also analogue L/R audio outputs,so you can output directly to an amp or receiver and allow it to process Dolby Pro-Logic II surround sound. Thankfully, the package includes most of the cables you'll need to get started, including RGB compatible Scart and RF loopthrough.
Perhaps thanks to the amount of time that digital receivers have had to refine their services, the Bush DFTA1 is very easy to use and set up. Like most digiboxes, you can change the output between fullscreen and widescreen, although if you choose the latter and the programme is natively 4:3, you'll see it preserved in the original ratio in the centre of the screen.
You can also lock specific channels - handy if you've got kids. It also allows you to select a 'Favourites' list, so you can cut out QVC and Sky Travel.
If the remote control's advantage is that it is remarkably simple to use, it also serves as a disadvantage - it can't control any other devices and it could have come from any generic Freeview box I'd care to mention. Tellingly, it doesn't even boast the Bush brand name on it.
While not boasting any recording facilities, the receiver has clearly been created in the era of the DVD recorder, as you can set the box to give you a reminder when a certain programme is due to be broadcast, or the box will even change channel automatically.
However, this feature is more or less rendered useless thanks to the lack of seven-day EPG compatibility, so you can't go on holiday and be safe in the knowledge that you'll have everything recorded automatically.
However, the EPG is set up so that you can immediately see what is showing now and next, in addition to a programme preview and a detailed programme synopsis all on one screen.
The navigation also shows you how strong the signal is for each particular channel - a useful piece of information to have, but in this respect the DFTA1 fairs averagely. It certainly isn't as good as Humax and DigiFusion boxes at picking up weak signals, but certainly it's not as dreadful as the myriad of cheap boxes that are currently doing the rounds.
The Bush DFTA1 is a fairly average box that looks the part but fails in a couple of key areas. If you're looking for something to simply pick up signals and nothing more then it might be a bargain purchase, but DigiFusion's FRT101 packs in better functionality and features for a little more cost.