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Test Report for WizTech Wiz-224 FTA

WizTech Wiz-224 FTA

Most people have heard of Free to Air satellite before and what it has to offer but there are still some who are new to this concept. Free to Air satellite TV relies on the use of Free to Air satellite TV or FTA satellite receivers which are special receives designed to receive unencrypted satellite transmissions. Free to Air satellite TV means that you are able to get a few channels without paying monthly fees to a satellite TV provider. For getting FTA transmission, WizTech had introduced Wiz-224 FTA receiver. It's a standard free-to-air satellite receiver.

Wiz-224 FTA is also something different; as you'll discover in future issues, the whole range is pretty inexpensive. You'd suspect that this means Wiz-224 FTA has cut corners, but that doesn't seem to be the case; you've got memory for 3,000 channels, a database of 100 C and Ku-band satellites– many of them pre-tuned and DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.2 motor control with USALS auto location. The front panel of Wiz-224 FTA looks very pretty. The back panel is pretty basic, but nothing's missing. All we could ask is that the whole package should be smaller as it's only a free-to-air receiver, but that's not much of a criticism. The remote control is usually an accessory on which budget manufacturers choose to cut corners. But in this case you get a comfortable, lightweight controller. It's well-labelled and has several useful extra function buttons. Several search modes are available: free-to air, scrambled or all channels, and single transponder searching.

There's a network option for using the NIT to add extra transponders, and you can set the receiver to search several satellites consecutively. The search itself is very efficient and quick, searching huge locations like Astra 1 and Hot Bird in minutes. There's also an auto search option, if you already set the antenna setup, you can search by the satellite. Fortunately, the 3,000-channel capacity is well-organised. Channels are automatically listed by satellite, and you can sort them into free and scrambled, or alphabetically (everything or individual letters). There are favourites lists, which can have channels from any satellite, and the thumbnail view means you can easily look at what's on a channel. It's also easy to edit the lists, moving, deleting, and renaming channels, and you can put a PIN-lock on any channel as well. When it comes down to actually watching the channels you'll be pleased, but not overwhelmed.

The Scart picture is noticeably improved in RGB mode over composite PAL, and you can further tweak it with the very unusual Colour Control menu. This allows adjustment of brightness, contrast, and saturation, with preset levels for movie, news and sports. Movie level is a little soft, but news and sport are sharp, enhancing the overall picture. Receiver scanning speed is quite acceptable. It needed 7 minutes to scan Hotbird (FTA+CAS mode) and 12 minutes to scan Hotbird and Astra together (only FTA channels). All DVB-S and DVB-S2 transponders are detected and processed. No matter QPSK or 8PSK. Of course, the receiver supports both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 (H.264/AVC) data streams. SCPC channels starting from 1 Ms/sec are no problem. We successfully tested the receiver with 2.45 Ms/sec signal. There's a full EPG, with a choice of multichannel, all-day or programme detail views, plus the usual now-and-next onscreen banner. Teletext fans can choose between a built-in viewer and using their TV with the VBI-reinserted signal. There's a sleep timer and single event on-off timer, and a pause screen option which can zoom in to enhance detail. There's always a chance of disappointment when you've waited a long time to see something, but there's nothing disappointing about the Wiz-224 FTA, which offers the best value for money we've seen in a receiver for years.



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