Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

In a world seemingly dominated by streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, there are nonetheless lots of people that favor to look at terrestrial TV. The issue is that the majority Freeview bins are frustratingly gradual, complicated to make use of or are only a bit ‘dumb’ in comparison with sensible media streamers just like the Roku Streaming Stick+ and Nvidia Protect. Manhattan is seeking to change that with the discharge of the Manhattan T3-R, providing a premium Freeview Play expertise with out the month-to-month subscription you’ll get from the likes of Sky and Virgin Media.  

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

Providing the flexibility to pause and file dwell TV, watch a set of on-demand content material from UK broadcasters together with BBC, ITV, Channel four and Channel 5 and the cleanest person interface I’ve seen in a very long time, the Manhattan T3-R provides an excellent TV-watching expertise.  

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

Design and construct 

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

The Manhattan T3-R is a pretty nondescript set-top field, however that’s not essentially a nasty factor given you’ll in all probability need it to mix into your TV setup, moderately than draw consideration to itself. It’s a mix of shiny and matte black, with rounded corners and a single front-facing LED to point the present standing of the field. At 265mm x 207mm x 53mm, it’s definitely not the largest set-top field I’ve ever seen, and it ought to match snugly into most TV setups.  

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

On the rear, you’ll discover Aerial in, Loop Out (to make use of an inside TV tuner), Ethernet, HDMI, Optical and USB ports, however the latter is just for offline software program updates and energy, so it received’t play content material from your reminiscence stick.  

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play 4K Sensible Recorder Assessment

It ought to come as no shock that the T3-R comes bundled with a distant, however what’s helpful in regards to the distant – other than the shortcuts to numerous sensible features of the field – is its capacity to manage your TV’s energy and audio system too. It means you’ll solely want a single distant in your TV setup, moderately than switching between two relying on what you need to do.   

In relation to Freeview set-top bins, the UIs are normally sluggish, unintuitive and customarily irritating to make use of, however that may’t be mentioned of the T3-R. The Freeview Play interface provides fast entry to most of the core features of the field, like your watchlists, TV information, on-demand content material and recorded content material, and the EPG is each simple to navigate (as much as seven days previously and future) and packed filled with helpful details about what’s on TV. 

There’s not a touch of stutter both, a refreshing change from my Philips Ambilight TV’s built-in (and frustratingly gradual) EPG.  

Options and efficiency 

The Manhattan T3-R helps 4K, however don’t anticipate to get 4K when watching previous episodes of Prime Gear on Dave. There are 85 channels presently out there by way of Freeview, however solely 15 are HD – the bulk are output in normal definition. That’s not a grievance of the set-top field although; it’s a limitation of Freeview basically, and with out 4K on premium TV companies, that received’t be altering on the free-to-view service anytime quickly.  

So, the place does the 4K HDR content material come from? It’s primarily out there by way of on-demand apps like YouTube and BBC iPlayer the place out there, though with out devoted Netflix and Amazon Prime Video apps, there’s a gaping gap within the T3-R’s 4K providing.  

However with that being mentioned, the Freeview Play set-top field does supply a wide array of UK catch-up apps. In actual fact, with BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5, UKTV Play, BBC Information & Sports activities, CBS Catch-up, YouTube Youngsters and Horror Bites, it provides complete protection of UK-focused content material.  

That is the principle energy of the Freeview Play system, because the choice of on-demand apps permits you to return as much as seven days in the T3-R’s rolling TV information and use the streaming companies to catch-up on reveals you would possibly’ve missed. Choosing an out there BBC program will open the present in iPlayer, for instance. You’ll be able to even create customized watchlists comprised of on-demand content material from the varied on-demand apps, and that’s a characteristic not provided by another Freeview Play field in the marketplace proper now.  

In addition to the suite of catch-up companies, you’ve additionally bought the choice of recording your individual content material from TV – consider it like Sky Q with out the month-to-month subscription – and is ideal for these reveals not out there on UK streaming companies. 

In addition to having the ability to pause and rewind dwell TV, you’ll be capable of file reveals on two channels concurrently whilst you’re watching a 3rd following an OTA replace in September. Manhattan is additionally trying into providing three-channel recording capabilities, however within the meantime, the field is sensible sufficient to recommend different broadcasts to make recording content material from greater than two channels doable.

The set-top field is out there in 500GB and 1TB configurations, providing 300 and 600 hours of SD seize respectively. It’s greater than possible that you just’ll be capturing SD footage with the ratio of SD and HD channels out there by way of Freeview, but it surely’s price noting that it’ll be captured in no matter high quality the supply is, so in case you’ve bought a selection of recording BBC1 or BBC1 HD, I’d go along with the latter.  

HD channels are sharp and artefact-free, matching broadcast high quality, whereas SD channels don’t fairly supply the identical stage of element – however once more, it’s what was proven on TV, so it’s not technically a fault of the T3-R.  

Decision output ranges from 720p to 2160p, and the system provides a Match Body Price setting to ensure you’re having fun with the unique 24, 30 or 60 frames per second of the content material being proven. It ought to assist keep away from stuttering, particularly with regards to greater body fee content material.  

On the audio entrance, you’ll discover help for Dolby Digital Plus and stereo sound, which needs to be effective for many, but it surely is probably not sufficient to entice cinema followers.  

It might appear apparent, but it surely’s price noting you’ll want an lively web connection nicely as an aerial connection to utilize each the Freeview and on-demand TV of the Manhattan T3-R, with the previous out there by way of Wi-Fi and a wired Ethernet connection. Wi-Fi appears steady sufficient to stream on-demand content material in my testing, however relying in your setup, you might must go for an Ethernet connection.  

Value and availability 

You’ll be able to decide up the Manhattan T3-R at £169.99 for the 500GB mannequin from Amazon and Currys, whereas those who need the bigger 1TB mannequin can head to Amazon and decide it up for £199. It’s costlier than many Freeview bins in the marketplace, however with premium options like pausing and recording dwell TV, it’s a worthy buy in case you watch lots of TV. It boasts an analogous set of options to Sky and Virgin Media, though there’s a rather more restricted choice when it comes to channels in comparison with the premium choices. 

If that’s a bit of an excessive amount of in your finances, have a look at our choice of the finest media streamers for extra inspiration.  


The Manhattan T3-R is a superb 4K PVR with out the necessity for a month-to-month subscription, and it’s slick in operation too. It provides the total Freeview catalogue of 85 channels, with 15 HD channels included, and because of the inclusion of a set of UK-focused on-demand apps, you’ll be capable of scroll again as much as 7 days in your EPG make amends for reveals you would possibly’ve missed. There isn’t any Netflix or Amazon Prime Video although, the one gap in an in any other case near-perfect providing of streaming apps.  

Should you can’t discover the TV present you need to watch by way of on-demand apps, you’ve additionally bought the choice of recording it dwell, and you may file two channels concurrently whereas watching a 3rd, good for TV fanatics. The Freeview Play interface is a pleasure to make use of, and there’s not a touch of stutter wherever.  

Primarily, in case you’re seeking to improve from the usual Freeview expertise to one thing a bit of smarter, the Manhattan T3-R is a powerful contender.  

Manhattan T3-R: Specs

265 x 207 x 53mm
Aerial in
Loop Out
USB (for energy)
Freeview Play
85 Freeview channels
Pause, rewind and file dwell TV
File as much as two channels without delay whereas watching a 3rd
BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5, UKTV Play, YouTube & YouTube Youngsters apps
500GB or 1TB storage


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