First Look: The New Manhattan T4-R Freeview Recorder

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The Manhattan T4 and T4-R, two exciting new Freeview boxes, will launch in the UK this year – and we have an exclusive first look at these successors to the popular T3 and T3-R Freeview devices.

The T4-R, which is going to be more powerful (and even snappier) than its predecessor, will bring with it several long-requested features, such as global EPG search, while the T4 promises to be a compact Freeview Play device with new features and a competitive price.

The two brand-new Freeview boxes are expected to launch around July August October 2023, and while the pricing hasn’t been officially announced yet, it’s expected to be similar to that of the T3 and T3-R.

Manhattan’s T3-R Freeview recorder has long been our Editor’s Choice in our list of the best Freeview Boxes, combining excellent features at an affordable price, with the T3 Freeview Play box being an excellent mid-range option as well.

However, updates to these two older devices have gotten a little sparse in the past year, in part due to the global chip shortage during 2020’s lockdowns, which made it harder to manufacture more T3s and T3-Rs.

Manhattan t3-r
The Manhattan T3-R

Therefore, the T3 was discontinued a couple of years ago – and the T3-R has been recently discontinued as well. We’re told, however, that once the T4 series is released – support for the T3 series will continue, with some new features potentially coming from the T4-R to the T3-R as well.

Manhattan’s Freeview History

UK-based Manhattan was founded back in 1992, first as a manufacturer of Satellite TV receivers.

In 2010, two years after the birth of Freesat, Manhattan launched its first Freesat box, the Manhattan DS-100, followed by several other Freesat boxes (they still sell the popular Manhattan SX Freesat receiver).

Eventually, the company started making Freeview boxes – first the T1, and then, in 2019, the T3-R was launched – a 4K Freeview Play recorder with 500GB/1TB storage space that can record up to 600 hours (depending on the model) – see my full Manhattan T3-R review.

Manhattan t3-r box

In 2022, Freeview stopped allowing manufacturers to produce official Freeview boxes without support for Freeview Play (Freeview’s broadband-connected tier that combines standard Freeview with streaming apps like BBC iPlayer).

When that happened, Manhattan’s T1 and T2-R (the Freeview recorder that didn’t support Freeview Play) were also officially retired.

Therefore, the flagship T3-R was the only model still being manufactured. That has recently ended as well – but its replacement is on its way.

Manhattan T4 and T4-R: First Look

While I wasn’t able to do an actual hands-on review of the new T4-series boxes just yet, Manhattan were kind enough to give us a few exclusive details about the upcoming boxes and some of their new features and hardware.

Manhattan T4 freeview box
Manhattan T4

As with the 3 series, the T4 will be a Freeview Play box without recording capabilities, while the T4-R will be the recording version – meaning you will be able to record hundreds of hours of HD programming from Freeview.

Freeview Over Broadband?

As is usually the case with Freeview, customers will still need an aerial for the T4 and T4-R boxes to deliver Freeview channels over the air.

Despite several pay-TV companies already offering Freeview-over-broadband, such as with Sky Glass, Sky Stream and Virgin Media Stream, Everyone.TV (formerly Digital UK – the company that develops Freeview) doesn’t provide a full streaming version of Freeview yet.

Sky Glass TV Guide
Freeview On Sky Glass

There has been some talk of that, with the concept of Freeview IP-fallback (that is – switching to streaming a channel over broadband if aerial reception is unavailable), but no confirmed timelines have been set yet.

The T4 and T4-R, however, will support the required technology for Freeview-over-broadband. Therefore, if and when Freeview decides to implement it and start streaming channels over broadband – the T4 and T4-R boxes will be ready for it.

The T4 and T4-R will also support Channel List Management, a newer Freeview function that enables HD-swapping of channels.

That means that, on supported channels (such as some of the BBC’s channels), HD channels will automatically become the prominent channels on supported devices (so BBC One HD will move to Channel 1, for example, instead of being on Channel 101).

T4 and T4-R Streaming Apps

As with any Freeview Play device, both boxes will support a long list of streaming apps – BBC iPlayer, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Legend, STV Player, POP Player, PBS American and BBC Sounds, along with a YouTube app.

New Freeview Play 2022 mockup

And what about ITVX, ITV’s new streaming app which replaced ITV Hub, many readers will ask?

Several older Freeview boxes – including the once-popular Humax FVP-5000T, never received ITVX support, and even Manhattan’s own T3 and T3-R don’t have the ITVX app yet (though we’re told it’s coming to those boxes in April).

We can confirm, however, that the T4 and T4-R will include the ITVX app from Day 1.

ITVX watching TV mockup

EPG Search Is Coming

One feature that’s been sorely missing on the 3 series was global EPG search, something that’s been available on other Freeview boxes.

On the 3 series, you could search for the name of a programme or film, and see results for it on the catch-up apps listings – that is, whether it’s available on BBC iPlayer, All4, etc.

However, it wasn’t possible to search within the regular EPG guide itself – to find out, for example, when a specific show is on and on which over-the-air channel.

This (rather fundamental, I have to say) feature will finally be available on the T4 and T4-R, so the search will finally be global – type in the name of a show, and you’ll see whether it’s available on any free-to-air channels, on your recordings, or on any of the streaming apps.

There’s also some good news for T3 and T3-R users – although this feature was promised a couple of years ago (and never arrived) – it is still in the cards for a future 3-series software update.

No Smartphone App – Yet

One sad piece of news is that an accompanying smartphone app for the 4-series won’t be coming at this point.

That’s something many were hoping for – especially for the ability to set recordings remotely (via the app), or even the ability to stream recordings from the box to your smartphone.

However, we understand there’s certainly still a possibility an app for the T4-R will be developed at a later date.

T4 And T4-R Hardware

In my reviews of the T3 and T3-R, I pointed out how snappy and easy to use they were. Well, that’s going to get even better on the T4 and T4-R, with new, even more powerful processors.

Despite the new features, the new boxes will actually be smaller than their predecessors, with the T4, in particular, being considerably smaller than the T3, so you could easily place it in any room or even take it with you when travelling.

Manhattan T4-R remote official
Manhattan T4-R

As you can see in the picture, the T4-R will also be getting another long-requested feature – a recording LED indicator. So when the box is recording something from Freeview – a dedicated LED will notify you of that (in addition to the standby/on LED indicator, which is still there as well).

When Are The T4 And T4-R Boxes Coming?

At the moment, the new Freeview boxes from Manhattan are expected to launch around October 2023 (although it was originally July, and then August, but has now been pushed back again).

Keep in mind, there could still be additional last-minute delays due to tests and certifications that are always necessary with new devices.

Meanwhile, Manhattan is promising more exciting news about the 4-series’ features and hardware in the coming weeks – so stay tuned for more.

To be the first to hear about those updates, and get more Freeview and TV news – be sure to Subscribe to our free newsletter.

45 thoughts on “First Look: The New Manhattan T4-R Freeview Recorder”

  1. I’ve been using the T3-R for a few years now and it works great for normal free to air TV but it’s fundamental flaw was that didn’t support Netflix, a ridiculous oversight in my opinion. I would upgrade to the T4. But it must have ALL the main apps including Netflix, Now, Disney + and even Apple TV+. I think only then will it tear people away from Sky and Firesticks etc.

    • Manhattan are now actively advertising the T4R,,,,,,, ‘availability to be announced’ (I’m pretty sure I’ve heard something like that,,, somewhere !).

      I won’t be going back to Humax.
      After being spoiled by the fabulous Topfield, I bought a 4000T from Currys when it first came out.
      It lasted about 6/8 weeks and needed returning. I was without the machine for over 3 weeks (OK, that wouldn’t bother lots of you readers, but I am a disabled pensioner, and need to set up my recorders for a full week).
      When it was returned, it was, what they called “a used replacement” !
      When I say “used”,,,, it was DAMN used, scratched and battered.
      My first argument was, I paid for a new machine,,,, and wanted a new machine – I won’t bore you with well heeled arguments from both sides, suffice it to say I had to keep their crap.
      Next, the remote packed up, for the first of several times, & I ended up buying 3 replacements.
      In the meantime, my Aunt bought me a new recorder for my birthday – guess what – another 4000T (I know, ‘almost’ laughable).
      It was installed in the lounge, whilst the other garbage was put in my sick room.
      The unit seems ok, but again I have had to replace the remotes, to the sum of 8 so far, and 3 psu’s, with their dodgy live pin placements.
      Luckily, I’m now in sheltered living for a while, with no recorders at all,,,,,, but I can’t wait much longer for this mob.

      In the back of my mind, is they are crap at working with a business plan (as far as availability is concerned [at the moment]), what will they be like with returns, faults, supports etc (rhet).

      Happier New Year to you all

  2. Will only get the new Manhattan box if we can also have Apps from Amazon Prime, Netflix and Now TV, I want a box that puts it all on the one device.

    Otherwise I’ll just keep on flicking between live TV and my Amazon fire cube.

    • Thats potentially the issue. The boxes run Linux and the apps will have to be compatible with the version of linux they are running. Cannot imagine that any of the streaming providers would develop custom versions unless you are a big player in the market like Sky or BT. The new boxes are supposed to support IPTV as well as various other streaming services and this could be a stumbling block and the reason for the delays.

  3. I’ve been very happy with my T3-R for three years now and it still works well with excellent response times. Yes, it locks up occasionally, but is on the whole very good. But the promised guide search and app to arrange recordings have never materialised. Now I find that I’ll have to buy a new box, the T4-R, if those promised facilities are to be realised – and the app is not on the cards in any case.

  4. Far from giving uk viewers support I think this whole issue is farcical, if you search buy new freeview recorder your choices are limited, I have seen “new” t2r’s on the amazon web site, ,for sale at over £300. I do feel this is a further sign of the times, what with constant freeview returning, and the long delay for itv x to work on my t3r, I can’t help but feel there’s no real appetite uk tv support at the moment and all the uncertainty regards future broadcast format, and,what with catch up, and the increase in freeview play devices,the need for a tv recorder may be becoming redundant, yes I know not all channels are available via catchup but even so, makes me think.

    • We still use the pause function for live TV a lot, we also record stuff that yes I agree is on catchup, but there is nothing easier than pausing to make a cuppa or a call of nature and a quick switch to recorded programs to view something recorded. Much quicker than trawling through catchup services.

      Extremely disappointed with the delays here as so much was promised.

  5. Gave up waiting and brought a reconditioned T3-R a couple of months ago, glad I did now with delay after delay and let’s face it, R&D is not what it use to be, most new products come with niggles these days.

    • I don’t understand how this company is surviving if at all. They withdrew a flagship product with the promise of a replacement and nothing but delays. Cant see this ever appearing on the market. I returned my T3-R due to constant freezes and was willing to take the plunge on the new one, but now I’m not so sure.

    • They’ll be out of date by the time they eventually push ’em out.

      This was going to my first go at the brand, but I’m already getting an idea of what to expect.

      • If they want us to carry on waiting, they ought to give us something,,,,, anything !

        They can’t think much of us,,,, they don’t seem to care if we go elsewhere or not.

        I haven’t used this brand before, so this is giving me an idea of how they work.

        • I bought their T3-R and was was initially very impressed but the unit started to constantly freeze. Support were sort of helpful and sent a new remote even though I had proved the remote was not at fault. In the end I returned it for a refund as it became unusable. I’ve established that the version of Linux they use was quite old and the cause of some of the issues when they tried to add additional features through updates.

          I liked the device it was quick and easy to use and liked how if you pressed record halfway through a program, as long as you had not changed channel it would record the whole program from the playback buffer.

          I’m going to give the new unit a try (Assuming we ever see it) as this will support lots of new features and I hope will be more stable.

      • The release date has now moved from August to September – it could change again, of course, but that’s currently the plan as far as I’m aware.

  6. My T3-R box is excellent. But I would happily replace it with the T4-R if it has more than 2 tuners. Being able to record more than two programmes whilst watching live TV would be a great upgrade.

  7. Hope they replace their remote with one with built in codes for TV. We have an LG tv and the remote doesn’t use IR. Thankfully we had an old LG TV remote which we used to program the Manhattan remote, but without it we would have had to use 2 remotes, a PITA.

  8. I have the Humax 5000T which I’m looking to replace. Navigation is soooo slow and it’s never been that reliable at recording. I also have some HDMI-CEC issues with it which seems to break other HDMI devices on the TV. Was thinking about the T3-R, but the T4-R is now top of my list to replace it.

  9. I would imagine the new box will have teething problems that will require a few software updates this seems to be the norm these days use the public as guinea pigs/ lab rats, ( new Arris freesat box one example ) that said after reading cordbuster reviews have purchased Manhattan t3r and Manhattan freesat box and first impressions suggest the new t4 box will be another winner so will be watching this space with interest .

  10. I’m considering getting a t4-r (or two) to replace my rubbish Humax t4000’s. The boxes were passable, but the service & remotes are atrocious. I’ve needed 9 remotes so far. I’ve not had Manhattan b4, so have no idea what their support is like. A rough idea of price would be nice whilst I’m waiting.

    • I’ve emailed a support question quite late in the evening and got a reply to a minor issue within minutes. My t3 box has been great. I just wish they’d bring out a remote recording app for they old and new boxes

    • Netflix, Amazon & Disney are American companies that want scale first so probably won’t allow their apps on devices intended only for the British market, britbox is available on the T3&t3-r following a software update
      While ITVX is a free streaming service first and foremost (with adverts), it also has an optional Premium tier that removes all the adverts – and also gives you access to most of the content from BritBox.

      In addition, ITVX recently added Studio Canal Presents to its Premium tier – with 400+ films and TV shows.

      ITVX Premium costs £5.99/month or £59.99/year.

  11. Will be getting one of the T4r’s, my T3r will then go to the bedroom, it’s been a cracking little box, I wonder what the storage will be like, similar or better than the previous model.


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