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Opinion: Why HTC should make a Freeview HD box

Earlier I posted a quick round up of five of the better Freeview HD recorders we’ve seen recently.

As if picking five warrant such an article wasn’t enough of a task (there’s a lot of Freeview HD boxes out there), keeping a note of the names of all of them was a nightmare. Oh for the days of writing mobile phone comparisons.

Maybe it’s a given that not everyone who buys a Freeview box necessarily cares about branding. After all Freeview is for some, a low-cost solution for people who don’t want (or can’t) spend their bucks on a Sky or Virgin Media subscription.

But on the other end of the scale surely there are those who don’t want a subscription but, now that Freeview HD has launched everywhere (save for Northern Ireland), want a high-quality product. Something that looks sexy and that rolls off the tongue nicely.

Compare this with phones where the middle-range and budget devices will often be called something bland. Case in point, Samsung’s mid-range line up from Mobile World Congress 2012 boasted names and designs that were so interchangeable it was hard to tell them apart at a glance.

But take a look at the higher end. Nobody except for, perhaps 10th Dan black belt devs on XDA and Modaco, calls the Samsung Galaxy S2 by its proper name; i.e the Samsung GT i9000. And neither should they.

Call it what it is: A Sky+HD box or a Thompson DSI8215

The Galaxy S2, GS2 or just plain S2 as most people call it, rolls easily off the tongue. Samsung make PVRs along with phones, tablets; I wish they’d launch a ‘Galaxy’ equivalent of their set-top box products. I’d much rather have a Samsung Galaxy T2 or Galaxy STV than a Samsung BGH-USB i8000 HD Mega+.

Perhaps more to the point, nobody calls a Sky+HD box by its proper name, i.e. the Thompson DSI8215.

And therein lies one of the problems with Freeview as a platform. With so many set-top boxes to choose from, so many of them similar in style and function, it’s no wonder there’s confusion over which one to plump for. As well as making a great product that costs several hundreds of pounds, I’m amazed that no-one has 

Echostar’s Ultra Slim Box is perhaps the best example I’ve seen so far; a great looking standout product with a not totally unpronounceable name. ‘Ultra Slim Box’ sadly abbreviates to ‘USB’ which for obvious reasons won’t be adopted by any marketing team.

Flagships need to roll off the tongue if they’re expected to roll out into living rooms.

Which is kind of why I’d like to see HTC make a Freeview HD box. Based on their tablets and phones, an HTC box would look fantastic as well as being powerful and capable. Not only that, it’d be called HTC One Screen or HTC DesireVision.

They wouldn’t hopefully follow the naming formula of [Manufacturer Name]-[Acronym-Plus-Some-Numbers] and you’d be proud to show it off in the living room next to your Xbox 360 or Blu-ray player.

Aside from the HD Media Link accessory, HTC doesn’t look like it’s making forays into AV-land anytime soon. Even if they don’t, I wish that manufacturers would start thinking about branding their high-end gear a bit more considerately.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Recombu.