The Manhattan T3 Freeview Play box is no longer being manufactured, due in part to the global chip shortage that’s been affecting device manufacturers worldwide.
While the T3 might return once the crisis is over – there are no date estimates at this point, with the current chip shortage expected to last well into 2022.
The Manhattan T-3 has long been our recommended Freeview Play set-top box for people who don’t need a Freeview Recorder (since it doesn’t have a hard drive).
As I said in my full review of the Manhattan T3, it’s aimed at people who are just looking for an improved Freeview Play experience, with a fast and easy to use interface, great picture quality (depending on your reception and aerial), and most of the major UK catch-up apps, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and more.
However, the T3 was kind of “stuck in the middle” in terms of its pricing and value for money, since without recording capabilities, it supplied what most Smart TVs already have today – Freeview reception and streaming catch-up apps (though without major apps like Netflix, Prime Video and the like).
“The T3 Is Taking A Break”
Earlier this year, buyers were beginning to notice shortages of the T3, both with retailers and on Manhattan’s official website.
Eventually, Manhattan posted a notice on its site, explaining why the T3 is no longer available.
“If you’ve tried to buy a T3 recently”, the message begins, “you may have noticed they are listed on our website and our main retail partners as being out of stock. Sadly, this isn’t by choice.”
The message then goes on to explain that due to the global chip shortage, difficult decisions had to be made.
The shortage, which has been plaguing the industry since 2020, was caused due to the global pandemic, the workforce issues it brought with it, as well as the rush of people who were buying equipment for their new work-from-home setups.
While things have started to improve in some countries, the chip shortage still exists, with some devices (the PS5 console comes to mind) still being very hard to purchase. Some say the issue won’t be completely resolved until mid-2022.
And, as “an independent British business”, the shortage had an impact on Manhattan’s ability to source the chipsets they need:
“Based on our estimated supply levels, we couldn’t guarantee getting enough chips to keep the T3 and T3-R on sale throughout 2021.
“While we explored a range of alternatives, we were unable to come up with a suitable alternative in the necessary timeframe. So we had to make a tough choice about which box we wanted to guarantee a steady supply of.
And based on sales data and customer feedback, we decided to prioritise a steady pipeline of T3-R boxes – which means we won’t be manufacturing any more T3s for the foreseeable future.
According to Manhattan, they’re hoping to bring the T3 back at some point – once they can obtain suitable chips.
The other Manhattan boxes are not set to be affected at this point, as long as the global crisis doesn’t get worse.
Finally, while the Manhattan T3-R has received several software updates this year (including the 2.04 update this week), existing owners of the T3 are still waiting for updates, and in particular, one that would bring the BritBox app to the device (it’s already available on the T3-R).
Manhattan says ongoing support for the T3 will continue, with software updates – including the BritBox one – still expected to arrive throughout the year.
Alternatives To The Manhattan T3
First, it’s worth mentioning that you can still find the T3 on some retailers’ websites, since they have remaining stock.
Be mindful of the price, though – as we’ve seen higher-than-normal pricing of the T3 on some websites where supply is scarce.
If you’re just looking for a Freeview box (and don’t need the streaming catch-up apps that come with Freeview Play), then the Manhattan T1 is a good, affordable choice.
If you’re looking to go a step up, and want to add Freeview Play as well as recording capabilities, then the Manhattan T3-R is our current Editor’s Choice.
And if you want to step up even further in terms of features (and the price) – you can take a look at the Humax Aura, which combines a Freeview recorder with an Android TV streaming device.
Either way, there’s no simple replacement for the T3 – a box that only has Freeview Play, and is therefore cheaper than the recording boxes. If that’s what you’re after – you might have to wait until a similar box arrives.