Goodmans GFSAT100SD £69.99
9th Jul 2008 | 14:40
Underwhelming on the outside, but this receiver has some tricks up its sleeve
The external design shares relatively little with the competition - a grey plastic front panel has a 'cluster' of control keys at the right-hand end (rather than the line of buttons), and there's no chromed stripe across this model. But that's about it. Inside, the story is just the same and functionally the Goodmans GFSAT100SD is just the same.
There's another bigger difference. This receiver costs more than other budget receivers, for no extra facilities or performance. The connections on the back panel are the same - with a single LNB input, plus loopthrough output, two Scarts (one with RGB), digital and analogue audio outputs and the RS23 and Ethernet for expansion.
Frustrating channel lists
It's the same area-restricted, slow-scanning setup too. Finding the channel that you want to watch is as difficult with this receiver as the others if it is far down the list.
The GFSAT100SD's menus are all very single-tasking - that is, you cannot, say, change channel while the information banner is displayed. You have to exit that before the Channel Up/Down or number keys will be recognised. It's not a vast problem but it makes using the receiver less intuitive and a little clumsy.
The information banner, which is displayed when you change channel, is also a little slow to register the now-and-next programme info (but that is probably the fault of Freesat or the broadcasters rather than the GFSAT100SD).
This information banner is the only way to tell if you're tuned to a radio station (which appear in the same channel list as the TV channels with no separate radio button or even a radio section of the EPG) - there's nothing displayed onscreen, no 'screensaver' type image, although the information banner stays up indefinitely.
The Freesat EPG is one of the easier functions of the receiver to use and splits the channels up into content categories (like Sky's EPG). It clearly displays the programmes on eight consecutive channels for more than two hours.
A nice touch is the moving line that shows the current time position, and the details of the highlighted show are also displayed and a future programme can be booked for viewing or recording.
The performance of the GFSAT100SD is good, with similar, somewhat harsh output from RGB and very good composite video. The sound is feeble at times but better than you can really expect from a budget receiver.
The Goodmans GFSAT100SD has its foibles and is far from overflowing with convenience features, but it performs well enough and for a basic introduction to satellite TV it is excellent value.