Manhattan T4 / T4-R: Freeview’s Next-Gen Boxes Are Here

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The wait is finally over for eager Freeview fans in the UK: Manhattan has officially announced that its much-anticipated T4 and T4-R Freeview boxes are now on their way to retailers – though the actual delivery dates may depend on who you buy from.

That being said, there are still stock issues with some of the retailers (though you can currently order all 4 models from Currys).

  • June Update: Please see below for new stock and availability updates.

The T4 and T4-R aim to fill the void left by the discontinuation of the popular Manhattan T3-R in early 2023, which had been a staple in the Freeview recorder market.

But the road to the T4 and T4-R’s release has been long and winding, with several delays testing the patience of Freeview enthusiasts. 

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

Furthermore, the launch comes at a time when the very future of Freeview – and Freeview recorders in particular – is in question.

Freely, the broadband-based replacement for Freeview and Freesat (from Everyone TV – the people behind those services), has already launched – without any immediate plans for recording capabilities. 

It’s worth noting that the T4 and T4-R boxes will not support Freely at launch, as Freely is only focusing on brand-new TVs for now.

Set-top boxes such as the T4 and T4-R may get Freely support in the future (they do have the technical capabilities for that) – but there are no guarantees at this point.

Meanwhile, Ofcom has recently published a report on the future of Freeview, saying that in its current form, it might be unsustainable and will, therefore, have to undergo major changes in the coming years (and possibly even a phaseout and a switch to streaming channels).

But we’re not there yet – and Manhattan’s T4 Freeview player and T4-R Freeview recorder may prove to be the swan song of Freeview devices.

With the devices finally available to order, let’s recap everything we know about these highly-anticipated devices.

Manhattan T4 and T4-R Freeview Boxes: What To Expect

The Manhattan T4 and T4-R promise a significant upgrade to the Freeview viewing and recording experience (see my full T3-R vs T4-R comparison).

Manhattan T4-R in the box
Manhattan T4-R

Both models are equipped with a quad-core processor, ensuring fast responsiveness when navigating menus and accessing content.

The boost in processing power brings with it Ultra HD (4k) HDR support for superior picture quality (though it’s mostly relevant on BBC iPlayer and YouTube, for now), and the boxes feature dual-band Wi-Fi for stable and speedy internet connectivity.

Energy efficiency is also a priority, with the T4-R boasting ultra-low power consumption and a quick wake-up function.

Remember that these are Freeview boxes, so you still need an aerial and good reception in your area for them to work.

As for streaming apps – both the T4 and T4-R are Freeview Play boxes, so you get the relevant apps – such as BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4, etc.

However, don’t expect to see apps for the major streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video or Disney+. Manhattan’s boxes aim to serve mainly as Freeview solutions, and not replace your streaming stick or Smart TV.

Improved EPG and Search Capabilities

One of the standout features of the T4 and T4-R is the new global Electronic Program Guide (EPG) search.

Manhattan T4-R T4 genre view
Genre View

This allows users to search for specific shows across all free-to-air channels, recordings, and various streaming apps, greatly enhancing content discovery.

The updated EPG also includes a new Genre view, which enables viewers to browse and filter programmes by type alongside the traditional Channel view.

Advanced filtering options for subtitles, audio descriptions, and sign language further improve accessibility.

Recording and Storage

The T4-R offers expanded recording capabilities, with options for 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB of storage, providing up to 1,200 hours of recording capacity.

Manhattan T4-R remote official
Manhattan T4-R

Users can record two programmes simultaneously while watching a third, a feature carried over from the T3-R (many were hoping for an increase here – which, sadly, we won’t be getting).

A new recording LED indicator provides a clear visual cue when content is being recorded.

Design

Both the T4 and T4-R sport a compact, modern design.

Manhattan T4 Official
The Manhattan T4

The T4-R measures 272 mm (W) x 197 mm (D) x 46 mm (H), while the T4 is even smaller, enhancing portability and placement flexibility.

The devices come with a learning remote capable of controlling the TV’s volume, streamlining the user experience.

Pricing And Availability

The T4 Freeview Play box is priced at £69.99, while the T4-R Freeview Play Recorder starts from £169.99 for the 500GB model.

The 1TB model, which gives you more room for recordings, costs £199, and the 2TB model is £229.

Manhattan T4-R and T4

 

June 7 Stock Update

Many of our readers have noticed that there are still some stock issues with the new Manhattan boxes.

Manhattan says that because it’s been so long since new Freeview boxes (from them) were sold, the retailers have placed cautious initial orders and are now being caught unaware by the strong demand – therefore, some have already depleted their initial stock.

Currys have all the models in stock, as of this writing:

Argos have been selling the T4 and T4-R, but the T4-R is currently showing as out of stock online.

They’ve confirmed (to Manhattan) that they do have stock (at least in some of the areas) and so are looking into why this is happening, but we’ve heard from readers who did manage to buy (and get) these from Argos.

Richer Sounds sold out of their initial stock, which is why they’re now showing availability for the end of June.

John Lewis delayed receiving their orders until June 18.

Amazon has possibly sold out of the initial stock – but more should be added soon.

You can check availability on Amazon via these links – just note that at the moment, the “official” stock comes and goes, and orders are sometimes available from 3rd party sellers at “un-official” prices, so you’re better off buying when there’s a “Sold by Amazon” stock:

I plan to start reviewing the new boxes soon – to stay updated, Subscribe to our free newsletter.

45 thoughts on “Manhattan T4 / T4-R: Freeview’s Next-Gen Boxes Are Here”

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing a few more opinions from owners of the new T4-R but I’ve been told that the models with the larger hard discs are more difficult to source then the 500gb version. And they are quite a bit more expensive.

    Would I be right in thinking that the 500gb could be easily upgraded – by opening up the case and swapping out the hard disc and fitting a bigger one? Presumably the operating system will more or less automatically format or otherwise prepare the hard disc for use?

    Reply
    • That’s usually the case with most of these upgrades. It will, of course, invalidate your warranty if you do that. Also, the disks have gone up in price, so it may not be the saving you’re hoping for.

      Yes, I’d like to hear objective reviews, too.

      Reply
  2. Manhattan T4 delivered this morning – from Currys. I found the setting-up to be highly confusing. However – programme reminders can now be set WITH ‘clashing’ programmes. This is a much appreciated improvement on the (now old) ‘box’.
    The ‘reminder’ facility is the only reason I have the (now) T4. My old Panasonic TV had this facility built in – the new Panasonic TV (expensive enough) does not, hence the T4.
    [When will Currys, Argos etc., realise the term – ‘set-top’ box’ no longer applies (if ever) ].

    Reply
  3. Ordered the T4-R 500GB from Argos over the weekend for in store collection, with collection due today (Wed 5th) from 9am. Argos emailed this morning to say there is a delay to my click and collect, but didn’t provide any further details. Spoke to them on live chat and they say the item is ‘being transferred from the warehouse to the collection point’, but no ETA available… it’s promising that some people have got theirs via Argos, so hopefully not too much longer to wait…

    Reply
    • Update – collected the box and set it up this morning after it ran a software update. Clunkier and slow to use than I’d hoped. Learning remote would learn volume up for my Samsung TV but not volume down or TV off. Edit channels only seems to let you remove or hide channels not renumber/replace. For example we get a good BBC London HD signal and only SD BBC East – there’s no way to replace the pointless channel 7 local one with the SD BBC. I’ll give it a bit longer but this may be going back. If Freely already did the Freeview Play trick of going back in time on the guide it would be an easy choice to get the low end cheap Bush TV for the kitchen.

      Reply
    • Not Richer Sounds fault, but the product was listed on there long enough advertising this week delivery for them to grab a load of pre-orders, no doubt.

      And Manhattan will have caused hassle for everyone because RS will now have to process refunds for those who want them, update their inventory systems etc etc.

      Argos at the weekend were taking pre-orders too, with promises of collections as early as tomorrow….yeah, let’s see how that goes.

      You’ve got to try and laugh really, it’s so absurd at this point.

      Reply
      • Given it was originally slated for July 2023 and after missing all the new monthly deadlines by Q4 they moved the messaging to ‘Early 2024’ (which was still there days ago!) it’s quite ironic. I’d much rather they’d waited until supliers were actually receiving stock before they raised hopes again…. at this rate it will be ‘Early 2025’ next…. !

        Reply
        • I’ve ordered mine through Argos and, as far as I know, I’ll still be able to collect it tomorrow morning. We’ll see.

          I did notice that it went from being available to deliver AND collect, to only available to collect.

          I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

          Reply
          • If I was a betting man I’d say you’ll be dissappointed, but then again, at this point who knows.. certainly the Richer Sounds website stock estimates seems to point to more delays. I took the Amazon dates as a speculative punt (who can blame them from being extra cautious) so I’ve preordered through Amazon [direct] anyway (ignoring the reseller link that claimed to have stock of the 1TB machine and a huge delivery cost on top)… at this point I’m so used to workarounds it’s not a biggy to wait until Xmas (2024)….

          • Yeah, I did notice that Amazon were selling some of the boxes, but they were through a 3rd Party Reseller called ‘DragonSat’, or something like that…but they were way more expensive and a huge lead time.

            I’m not holding out much hope, and I also expect delays, but we’ll see. I’ve still got the Aura (FWIW) running, so I’m not desperate.

          • Just for a bit of a heads up, I did actually pick up my new Manhattan T4-R 1TB box this morning.

            Plugged it in, and everything just works as I would hope.

            Now, just how buggy a version 1 is going to be remains to be seen. But at least I have it!

          • Looked at Amazon and Richer Sounds but ended up going to collection from Argos. Received yesterday (Wednesday), set-up last night, so far looking good.

          • Got mine from Argos yesterday, returned for refund today!

            Maybe I was expecting too much, but it just doesn’t move the game forward at all. I don’t need the Freeview Play apps because I can access them directly from the TV or cast from my phone….and as a simple HDD the interface is just too cluttered from all the aforementioned.

            My old Panny never misses a recording, never crashes or glitches (not saying this will, but let’s see) and I don’t have the screen covered with garish Freeview Play stuff.

            Additionally, the box feels very plasticky and cheap, same with the remote.

            It’ll serve a purpose of course, namely for recording OTA stuff and being able to watch back as required and skip breaks….but as for the rest, can’t see who would use it when every TV going has it all built-in now, and with casting as another option too. Might have been different couple of years ago.

            At least it didn’t crash on me in the day I had it, although the CEC isn’t exactly great. Yes, it turns the TV on if it’s off, but it’s much less flexible in terms of switching inputs on certain button presses rather than just ‘turn on, switch’.

            Anyway, I take perverse delight in being probably one of the first consumers to buy it, and return it! Argos refund already processed.

            Enjoy it though if it works for you!

  4. So all the hype & delay with this recorder, & it only records 2 programmes at the same time! I will stick with my BT YouView recorder, 1TB, records 4 programmes at once in HD, cost £120 on eBay. What a shame they are so difficult to find now.

    Reply
    • Hey Jim,

      I actually bought the Aura about 7 months ago and am now looking to swap it out for the T4-R. In principal, the Aura is a much better box, given that it’s GoogleTV and do a lot of things that the T4 series simply can’t do.

      It’s a nicer, and more intuitive user interface, and has most of the on-demand streaming services you could ask for (no Netflix though, fyi).

      However, what you gain in these areas, you just lose when it comes to how buggy the Aura is. Despite being set to not entering deep sleep, it will still do it. You can be watching a show, and all of a sudden the box will reboot. Oftentimes, the streaming apps you might be either trying to open, or currently watching a show through will just crash for no reason.

      It’s just…frustrating to say the least!

      Humax have not issues firmware updates for at least 2 years (they DID release a security patch in the last couple of weeks).

      All in all, it’s left me feeling VERY underwhelmed and, hence, looking to take a backward step into a less-featured box, but opting for stability instead.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • I second this. I’m currently an Aura user and am eagerly awaiting the T4-R. The Aura was a great box – very fully featured – but nowadays the delay in menu response is horrific and the OS / features haven’t been updated for a very long time now. i.e. it’s no longer supported

        Reply
  5. Amazon now quoting “15th August – 8th December” for their own stock!!

    And if they’re saying that, then I don’t put much weight on the promises of the marketplace sellers and random webtailers either. Wouldn’t risk an order with them, soon as they had the order they’d be promising delivery and not giving refunds.

    The saga continues.

    Reply
    • That’s common on Amazon when they don’t have the actual stock yet, but it doesn’t say much about the actual date.

      Richer Sounds are currently estimating stock coming in on June 6.

      Reply
      • I hope you’re right. Only, the ‘cried wolf’ fable comes to mind with this company and this product re launch dates. At least Richer Sounds are reputable enough to give refunds for people who want to risk pre-ordering at this point.

        I’ll believe it when I see your review on here!

        Reply
  6. How long does it take for these to ship to retailers? Has Evri delivered them to the wrong house like they usually do – and then took a picture of someone else’s shop?

    Reply
  7. I’ve waited so long for a recorder, I can wait a lilonger to hear about bugs and issues with the T-4R.
    My Humax 5000-T has its problems, and this new machine needs to be better.

    Reply
  8. This product already feels out of date and will not sell well without streaming services from commercial providers like Netflix, Prime, or Disney. Manhattan needs to bring to market a freely box.

    Reply
    • Most modern TV’s have got the streaming apps as well. Why does it have to be in the box as well? It may affect sales a bit but it wouldn’t be fatal.

      Reply
      • That’s a good point. I suppose it is because individuals don’t want to keep switching remotes, apps, boxes, etc., to watch their favourite programmes. The technology has moved on, and I suspect freely will appear on other televisions retroactively—or perhaps STB. Who knows!

        Reply
        • It costs manufacturers money to support third party apps and is expensive to keep licenses and updates going. Manhattan is a small British company and this is probably prohibitively expensive for what is now likely considered a ‘niche’ device in the grand scheme of things!

          Freely seems to be what will – eventually – replace Freeview Play. However, as Freeview Play is quite heavily entrenched in smart TVs from various manufacturers and in multiple operating systems (in-house by manufacturers and Roku, some Android/Google TVs, etc), it will be an uphill struggle for Freeview, so I wouldn’t count on it happening in anyone’s lifetime. It may become another YouView and quietly disappear.

          As for YouView, it seems to be about to disappear, from what I can figure out.

          Reply
  9. Yep waiting for reviews, as much as I loved fast forwarding through the ads in recordings, I could not put up with the sound and vision degradation (reminded me of those painful days with VM) any more from my T3R and had to disconnect it.

    Reply

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