The highly anticipated Manhattan T4 and T4-R Freeview boxes are facing yet another setback.
Initially slated for a July release, the launch was first pushed to August and has now been further delayed to mid-late
For those who’ve been counting down the days to get their hands on these successors to the iconic Manhattan T3 and T3-R models, this news is a letdown.
But don’t tune out just yet; we’ve got the inside scoop on what these next-gen boxes promise, and what this delay means for consumers.
The Legacy Of Manhattan’s Freeview Boxes
Manhattan, a UK-based company founded in 1992, has a long history of manufacturing 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).
The T3-R was particularly well-received, earning the title of “Editor’s Choice” on Cord Busters’ list of the best Freeview Boxes.
The T3-R’s Discontinuation: An End Of An Era
The discontinuation of the Manhattan T3-R Freeview box, earlier this year, marked a significant moment in the company’s history.
Launched in 2019, the T3-R quickly became a favourite among Freeview users, thanks to its advanced recording features, excellent picture quality, and user-friendly interface.
The T3-R was discontinued to make way for Manhattan’s next generation of Freeview boxes, the T4 and T4-R.
For several weeks leading up to the discontinuation, consumers noticed that the T3-R had become increasingly difficult to find in online retail stores. This scarcity was a result of the device reaching the end of its retail life cycle.
At this point, it’s almost impossible to purchase the T3-R, though you can probably find used editions, or scarce existing stock in local shops.
For existing T3-R users, the good news is that Manhattan will continue to support the device with software updates.
In fact, support for ITVX, ITV’s new streaming service, was finally added in May.
This continued support ensures that the T3-R will remain functional and up-to-date for the foreseeable future.
The Manhattan T4 and T4-R: What To Expect
As the successors to the popular T3 and T3-R models, the Manhattan T4 and T4-R Freeview boxes are set to bring a host of new features and improvements that aim to redefine the Freeview experience.
Here’s a detailed look at some of what consumers can expect from these upcoming models:
Power and Performance
The T4-R is expected to be more powerful than its predecessor, the T3-R.
While specific hardware details are yet to be released, Manhattan has hinted at more powerful processors for both the T4 and T4-R. This means users can expect a snappier interface and quicker response times, enhancing the overall user experience.
Global EPG Search
One of the most requested features, a global EPG (Electronic Program Guide) search, will finally make its debut in the T4 (and T4-R) models.
This feature will allow users to search for specific shows across free-to-air channels, recordings, and various streaming apps, making it easier to find and access content.
Freeview Over Broadband
Both the T4 and T4-R will support Freeview-over-broadband technology. This is a future-proof feature that will come in handy if Freeview decides to start streaming channels over broadband.
While Freeview currently requires an aerial for over-the-air channels, the new models will be ready to adapt to any changes in this area.
Channel List Management
The new models will also support Channel List Management, a newer Freeview function that enables HD-swapping of channels.
For example, on supported channels like some of the BBC’s offerings, HD channels will automatically become the prominent channels on supported devices.
This also makes it easier to stream Freeview channels over broadband (as those IP-based channels are then swapped automatically, and put in place of the aerial-based channels on your EPG).
The BBC is already using this technology to stream some of its channels.
ITVX Support from Day 1
ITV’s new streaming app, ITVX, will be supported on both the T4 and T4-R from the get-go.
This is an important upgrade, especially considering that the older T3 and T3-R models had to wait a long while for ITVX support (and some older Freeview boxes – such as the Humax FVP-5000t, do not – and will likely never will – support ITVX).
Streaming App Support
As with any Freeview Play device, both the T4 and T4-R will support a long list of streaming apps.
Those include BBC iPlayer, Channel4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Legend, STV Player, POP Player, PBS American, and BBC Sounds, along with a YouTube app.
Despite the new features and more powerful hardware, the new models are expected to be smaller than their predecessors.
The T4, in particular, will be considerably smaller than the T3, making it easier to place in any room or even take with you when travelling.
Recording LED Indicator
The T4-R will also feature a recording LED indicator, a long-requested feature that will notify users when the box is actively recording content from Freeview.
By offering a blend of new features, improved performance, and future-proof technology, the Manhattan T4 and T4-R are shaping up to be exciting additions to the Freeview landscape.
Manhattan T4 Series Pushed To October
Releasing a new Freeview box is not just about the hardware – some of the broadcasters (the BBC and ITV with its ITVX app, for example) require rigorous testing and certification – and these things take time, and – apparently – can cause delays.
At this point, the boxes are expected to launch sometime in the second half of
September (Update: it has been pushed back again – to October) – though, as before, last-minute delays are still possible.
While the ongoing delay is undoubtedly frustrating for those keen on upgrading their Freeview experience, the new features and improvements in the T4 and T4-R models seem worth the wait (depending on the official price, of course – which we still don’t know).
Manhattan has promised more exciting news about the 4-series’ features and hardware in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for updates.
For more updates on Freeview and TV, be sure to Subscribe to our free newsletter.