Exclusive: The popular Manhattan T3-R Freeview recording box is being discontinued, with a new, advanced model – the T4-R – coming later this year.
The Manhattan 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.
For the past few weeks, many of our readers have noticed that the T3-R box has been almost impossible to find, with stocks disappearing from most online retail stores.
We can now confirm this is due to the T3-R reaching the end of its lifecycle – with Manhattan planning to launch two new Freeview boxes in July (see more details about the T4-R here).
Until then, we’re told one last batch of the T3-R will reach Argos in April – therefore buyers who still want to snag the box at its current price will be able to do so.
It’s also possible some high-street stores still have stocks available, and there’s always e-bay – but be careful, as when official stocks run out, unauthorised or second-hand sellers sometimes jack up the prices.
It’s important to note that the Manhattan T3-R is still being supported, and software updates will still be made available for it.
In fact, ITVX support for the T3-R is finally expected to arrive in April.
- May 2023 Update: ITVX Is Finally Coming To The T3 and T3-R
Manhattan T3-R: A Brief 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).
I was – and still am, a big fan of the T3-R, as it combines advanced recording features with excellent picture quality and a snappy interface (see my full Manhattan T3-R review).
Over the years, Manhattan kept pushing out software updates with new features and apps, and more updates are expected in the future.
In fact, many T3-R owners have been upset since November, with the device not supporting ITV’s new streaming service – ITVX. But we’re told that despite the delays so far, an update that will add ITVX support is expected in April.
In 2021, Manhattan’s T3 boxes – its Freeview Play device that came without recording capabilities – was suspended and ultimately discontinued due to the global chip shortage.
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 retired (even though you can still find them here and there).
Therefore, the flagship T3-R was the only model still being manufactured – and now, the popular box is coming to the end of its retail life.
What’s Next For Manhattan’s Freeview Boxes?
Freeview is still quite popular, despite all the streaming services we’re all now used to – as it provides 80+ channels without any monthly fees (except for the TV Licence fee).
With the T3-R going away, however, there’s now a big gap in the market. Humax’s once-popular FVP-5000t Freeview Recorder is quite old by now, therefore its interface is pretty slow. Furthermore, the FVP-5000t doesn’t support ITVX (ITV’s replacement for ITV Hub), and probably never will.
Humax also sells the Aura – which is an advanced Freeview recorder that’s combined with an Android TV streaming device – but starting at £249.00, the Humax Aura is rather expensive.
Netgem also sells a Freeview Play device – the Netgem Netbox 4K, but it doesn’t have a built-in hard-drive, so it’s not a full-fledged recorder.
Therefore, customers who are looking to ditch Sky or Virgin Media and switch to Freeview in order to save some money – are currently finding themselves without a reasonably-priced Freeview recorder available to purchase.
However, fear not, as there’s good news on the horizon – we can now reveal Manhattan is planning to launch two brand new Freeview boxes this year:
The Manhattan T4 Freeview Play box, which will replace the T3, and the Manhattan T4-R, which will replace the T3-R.
The two devices will be major upgrades over the previous models, in many ways – and we’ll be able to tell you more about them in the near future.
The T4 and T4-R boxes are expected to launch around
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