Freeview Upgrade: Manhattan T4-R Recorder Coming In April

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With Freeview recorders becoming increasingly hard to find, Brits have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Manhattan T4-R recorders for quite some time.

However, following several delays that have tested consumers’ patience, there’s finally some encouraging news on the horizon for the next generation of Freeview boxes.

The much-anticipated Manhattan T4 and T4-R Freeview devices are now set to launch around late April 2024, promising to bring a significant upgrade to the Freeview viewing and recording experience.

The journey towards the release of the T4 and T4-R models has been fraught with challenges, but the BBC certification – which was one of the reasons for the delay – has finally been granted (see more details below).

Manhattan T4-R official

 

This news comes as a relief to many, especially in the wake of the discontinuation of the Manhattan T3-R, which left a notable void in the market for  Freeview recorders. 

Moreover, amidst this backdrop of anticipation, there’s also curiosity about how these new devices will align with the evolving Freeview landscape, particularly with the upcoming launch of Freely, the broadband-based successor to Freeview and Freesat.

Freeview Boxes Becoming Rare

The anticipation surrounding the release of the Manhattan T4 and T4-R Freeview boxes is rooted in a combination of market demand and technological evolution.

With the discontinuation of the Manhattan T3-R in early 2023, a void was created in the Freeview recorder market, leaving consumers with limited options.

Manhattan T3-R
Manhattan T3-R

The T3-R, known for its advanced recording features, excellent picture quality, and user-friendly interface, had set a high standard for what users expected from a Freeview box – but it was, of course, getting a bit long in the tooth.

The scarcity of Freeview recorders has been a growing concern for viewers. The T3-R’s discontinuation left consumers scrambling to find suitable alternatives, with the Humax Aura being the only other new(ish) Freeview recorder available.

Moreover, the delays in the release of the T4 and T4-R have only heightened the sense of anticipation.

Originally slated for a July 2023 launch date, the repeated postponements have created a pent-up demand among Freeview users.

Manhattan T4-R Next to TV
Manhattan T4-R Freeview Recorder

The promise of enhanced features, improved performance, and a user-centric design has kept potential buyers keenly interested, despite the wait – but many have been left without a Freeview recorder at all (and may then discover that streaming is enough).

New Freeview Boxes Finally Coming In April?

One of the primary challenges faced in bringing the T4 and T4-R to market has been the rigorous testing and certification process required by key broadcasters, notably the BBC.

These processes are important for ensuring that new devices meet the high standards expected for Freeview playback and recording, including compatibility with current broadcasting technologies and BBC iPlayer.

While these steps are essential for maintaining the integrity and quality of the Freeview service and official Freeview boxes, they have inevitably extended the timeline for the T4 and T4-R’s release.

BBC iPlayer loading on TV

However, a major breakthrough was achieved with the final licensing and approval from the BBC, a development that marks a turning point in the T4 and T4-R’s journey towards release.

With the factory now scheduled to commence production of the T4 and T4-R after the Chinese New Year holiday ends, the timeline for their arrival in the UK market is now more concrete.

At this point, expectations are set for a late April 2024 release.

 

Of course, as we’ve seen before, delays could happen again – but at least there’s some concrete progress.

What To Expect From The T4 And T4-R

The upcoming launch of the Manhattan T4 and T4-R Freeview boxes aims to enhance the Freeview viewing experience. These devices are not just successors to the beloved T3-R model, they are a step forward in technology and user experience.

Let’s delve into the details of what consumers can expect from the new models.

Enhanced Performance and Power

Equipped with a quad-core processor, the T4-R promises ultra-fast responsiveness, making navigating through menus and accessing content quicker than ever before.

This boost in processing power is important for supporting the device’s advanced features, including Ultra HD (4k) HDR, which offers superior picture quality, and dual-band Wi-Fi for stable and speedy internet connections.

Manhattan T4-R back ports
Manhattan T4-R

The emphasis on performance extends to energy efficiency, with the T4-R featuring ultra-low power consumption and a quick wake-up function, ensuring that users can enjoy a responsive device without a significant impact on their energy bills.

New Electronic Program Guide (EPG) And Global Search

A significant update is the introduction of a global Electronic Program Guide (EPG) search across the T4 and T4-R models.

This feature allows users to search for specific shows across all free-to-air channels, recordings, and various streaming apps, aiming to streamline the content discovery process.

The global EPG search addresses a common request for more integrated search capabilities within Freeview devices.

The updated EPG will also include flexible filtering options. The new Genre view, for example, will let viewers list programmes by type rather than channel, alongside a Channel view for a deep dive into a single channel’s offerings.

Manhattan T4-R T4 genre view
Genre View

The addition of filtering options for subtitles, audio descriptions, and sign language accessibility marks a significant step forward in inclusive viewing.

Recording Capabilities

The T4-R enhances recording functionality with options for 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB of storage, translating to 300, 600, and 1,200 hours of recording capacity, respectively.

It supports recording two programmes simultaneously while watching a third, a feature carried over from the T3-R model. A new addition is the recording LED indicator, designed to notify users when content is being recorded and provide a clear visual cue.

Design and Usability

Both the T4 and T4-R models boast a compact and modern design. The T4-R measures 272 mm (W) x 197 mm (D) x 46 mm (H), while the T4 is notably smaller, enhancing portability and flexibility in placement.

Manhattan T4 Official
The Manhattan T4

The devices come with a learning remote that can control the TV’s volume, aiming to simplify the user interface and reduce the need for multiple remotes.

Pricing

The T4 Freeview Play box is set to retail at £69.99, while the T4-R Freeview Play Recorder will start from £169.99, depending on the chosen storage size.

Manhattan T4-R And Freely

As the free-to-watch landscape in the UK continues to evolve, the introduction of Freely, a new service expected to serve as the heir to Freeview and Freesat, signifies a significant shift towards a broadband-based Freeview model.

Freely is set to launch initially on new TVs, later this year, focusing on delivering channels via broadband, a move that aligns with the industry’s gradual shift towards streaming and internet-based content delivery.

Freely on a TV

The Manhattan T4-R, while not supporting Freely at launch, possesses the technical capabilities for Freeview-over-broadband, suggesting a foundation that could potentially accommodate Freely in the future.

The absence of Freely support at the T4-R’s launch is primarily due to Freely’s initial rollout strategy, which targets integrated TV experiences before expanding to set-top boxes and external devices.

But the T4-R’s existing infrastructure positions it as a candidate for future updates that could potentially integrate Freely.

However, while Freely did confirm that set-top box support is planned at a later stage – there’s no way of knowing, at this point, whether they’ll choose to add the T4-R to its list of supported boxes.

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32 thoughts on “Freeview Upgrade: Manhattan T4-R Recorder Coming In April”

      • Do you think the manufacturers (Humax, Manhattan etc) have been tipped off by Everyone TV that they will pull the plug (!) on Freeview and Freesat soon, so the life expectancy of any new boxes would be not long enough to justify a launch of the T4R. Also new sales of Aura might expose manufacturers to legal cases if the basis for their use was axed.
        I can see that the broadcasters who rely on advertising revenue might be putting pressure on Everyone TV to find a way of stopping people skipping over adverts, which is fairly easy with Freeview and Freesat recordings but impossible (is that right?) on streaming services like Freely.
        I always feel a bit guilty skipping over the 4 mins breaks on ITV and Channel 5 recordings but actually it enables me to watch an hour long program in 40 mins!!! Especially easy on my ancient Panasonic recorder. 4 presses of the “1 min skip” button and you are straight onto the next part of the program.

        Reply
        • haha I still have one of those Panny’s; I know exactly what you mean – I call it the ‘magic button’! Noisy as hell device because mine has an integrated blu ray recorder that insists on starting up whenever I want to power it on for anything, but it still records and plays back ok and picture quality is acceptable. Works better than the T4-R right now, that’s for sure.

          Talking of which, I’m expecting their next date change shortly: ‘Launching Summer 2024’ anyone?

          Reply
        • Skipping the ads is nothing to feel guilty about – I hate the damn things and never watch commercial channels live because of them. I also own a couple of Panasonic recorders and happily hit the 1-min advance button a few times to jump to the next part of the programme. If it’s a programme I want to archive, I’ll edit the breaks out before transferring to disc. If only Panasonic hadn’t ditched the remote recording facility last year! 😫

          Reply
          • Yes I definitely feel guilty from a moral standpoint because, after all, it is the ads that pay for the channel and the program creation. I defend my action by thinking that I would never be influenced by the adverts (! ? !) and in some cases be definitely turned off the product or service. Maybe wishful thinking as they probably have a subliminal effect. :-). To a certain extent also I often would like a pee-break or tea-break in a long advertless proram on BBC channels. 🙂

        • I don’t feel guilty about skipping ads. They are almost universally dire. There used to be the odd half decent ad but I haven’t seen one for a long time. None of the products advertised are of any interest to me whatsoever so why should I waste my life away watching this dross.

          Reply
    • I’m looking into winning tonight’s lottery but it aint going to happen. Until they have a specific date they should shut up, this farce has been going on for nearly a year now. Their website says early 2024 , that vague timescale has almost passed already

      Reply
    • I guessed as much in my comment on here from mid February…they truly are the Masters of Date Moving.

      You just know that when it gets near to May, it’ll become the vague ‘Summer 2024’.

      Same as last year. Same as it ever was with this company and this product.

      Reply
    • Hi John,

      The Aura is bugged – and has been a nightmare for many. Take a look at https://myhumax.org/forum/forum/aura-uhd to see various problems. Some resovled by regualr factory resets. The Aura is a great box for about a year in my experience then a nigthmare. Reboots randomly mid programme when streaming or recording are amongst the fun! General suspicions is that the Android operating system doesnt get updates, whilst apps (iplayer etc) get updated and this leads to incompatabilities. Witht he above announcmeents of late April I’ll be getting a T4-R as soon as it hits the shelves.

      Reply
      • I couldn’t wait any longer so bought myself a humax Aura, that was a mistake, keeps on freezing up so have to reboot it all the time, only had it 2 months now it’s missing the ITV HD channels, it’s not the aerial because I brought down my T3r from the bedroom, that works flawlessly, so sorry I bought the Aura, should have waited until the T4r gets released.

        Reply
      • Yes, I think I’ll wait, but the T4-R could still have its own bugs? Actually my original T3-R was OK for watching TV on WiFi, it just stopped recording. Surely a computer engineer could have fixed a hard disc bug. However that was not offered so I lost it altogether.
        The post above says it will be May before T4-R appears, hope not!

        Reply
  1. I had a T3-R that worked fine until I retuned it when it failed to record. Something wrong with hard disc? I took it back to shop and got a two year voucher but not money back. I should have kept it to watch, pause and catchup, as now I have nothing and my replace voucher will soon expire before T4-R appears in the shop, and
    no alternatives available.

    Reply
  2. So now it’s late April?!

    Nah. Cried wolf too many times. We get to April and what’s the betting it then becomes ‘Summer 2024’.

    I’m off to buy a Humax. Been messed around long enough over this box.

    Reply
      • Multiple retailers are stating that more stock of the Aura is coming by mid March, so it’s not quite dead yet.

        And by virtue of actually existing, it’s certainly more alive than the T4-R anyway!

        Reply
        • ……Aura now back in stock, have ordered before it disappears again.

          Saga of this vapourware is over for me now, good luck to all of you still waiting. I hope they manage to deliver it for you one day!

          Reply
  3. I wonder whether the Manhatton will have a skip feature on recordings. I guess the advert financed streamers and linear are all against this. Its the main reason I record ITV and channel 4 programs on my humble Panasonic SD recorder. It takes an hour to watch on streaming for just 44 mins of program material.

    Reply
  4. Frustrated with yet another delay with the T4R! I’ve not had recording or pause live TV function since my second Humax box died nearly two years ago – their poor quality product is why I won’t buy another Humax!

    I know it’s supposed to be a British box, albeit built in China, but I’ll probably get my holiday to Manhattan, NY, in late May before I get my hands on a Manhattan T4R 😳

    Reply
  5. I have the Manhatton T3R the Blue text on Black background is hard to read – why blue on black? – I did not see that the T4R is able to remotly record – I did not see the T4R will aloow favourit channels to be moved to where the user wants them. MY LG TV has a great EPG and it is 10 years old why have others not looked at what users may want and incorporate the technology – whe should be able to pick our own screen colours text font etc etc etc and remotly record as basic

    Reply
  6. So the age of Internet provision for the television has finally been enforced upon you. Well let’s see how the current infrastructure copes with all the service’s it has to cope with. Surely we have all tried to connect just one to many devices to the home system and watched the family fall apart with anguish and venomous voice that there world is falling apart because the screen just stops for a quick cup of tea while the data buffers away slowly trickling down to the screen. Well now the clever people in the television world want us all to be unable to watch the news at ten but don’t worry you can catch up in the early hours of the morning while the world sleeps and the internoodle is less crowded or maybe just disconnect the kettle fridge washer lightbulb from your home network and see if that helps. New systems need a strong platform to work and grow. The UK does not and will never have this (in the near future). Please leave the current systems alone until the infrastructure is set up for the damned future. It’s like watching Electric cars being promoted and then realising we forgot to fit a plug socket to make the whole thing viable. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Kind Regards SteveJ.

    Reply
  7. Hmm I’ve been using a BT/EE Pro box for the past year or so and that lets me record four things at once. I want to ditch my BT subscription once my 2yr deal ends, but going back to just twin recording seems to be a backwards step.

    Reply
  8. Record two, watch a third? What planet are they on? Need record four, watch a fifth. Was hoping to be at least the same or better than the Aura.

    Reply
  9. I’ve got the Humax 4000t which is great if getting a long in the tooth and my favourite feature is the programmable “jump” or skip. It means that I can avoid the ad breaks, I wonder if the new Manhattan will have the same function? I hope so.

    Reply
  10. I’ve waited and waited for it’s release, but after pushing it back further and further I gave up, I joined the dark side and bought an Humax Aura, I’ll probably still get the T4R, but only after saving up again, my Aura is ok, but has little faults and niggles, records ok, streams ok, so just ok, no Netflix or NOW unless you cast it to the Aura, I’ve been spoiled really by the T3R which has been excellent, have got it in my bedroom so I can record stuff that only I watch (the mrs likes her soaps and reality tv) I’ve not had any problems at all with it, so when I do upgrade to the T4R it’ll be back on my main tv (LG C165inch), so am hoping it definitely gets released in April.

    Reply

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