Which? warns against buying Alba STB300HD STBWhich? tests reveal faulty Freeview HD boxes

16 November 2010

Alba STB300HD set top box

Alba STB300HD - don't buy this set-top box

Which? tests have revealed serious problems with the Alba STB300HD Freeview HD set-top box, available from high-street retailer Argos.

Three shop-bought samples of this set-top box failed during Which? testing at our Which? labs. Based on our findings, we'd advise you to avoid buying this model.

To find Best Buy Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes that won't let you down see our Which? reviews.

Serious problems revealed

Which? purchased three separate samples of the Alba STB300HD set-top box as part of its regular testing of set-top boxes and A/V equipment. Our out-of-the-box findings discovered serious flaws across all three samples:

  • Sample 1: Failed shortly after testing began.
  • Sample 2: Wouldn't work at all as soon as we got it out of the box.
  • Sample 3: Again failed a few hours after testing began.

Once the STB300HD Freeview HD models had failed, we found that they wouldn't output any picture or sound from the Scart or HDMI sockets or respond to any remote control commands.

All samples were bought from Argos - the only high-street supplier of this £90 set-top box. All the boxes were being tested just as a consumer would use the product, including connecting them up, tuning them in and using the various features - nothing strange or unusual was being done with them.

Contact with Alba

We contacted Alba to share our findings and to see whether it had heard of any similar failures, and Alba told us:

'Thank you for bringing your findings to our attention. To date, no fault trends have been found in our current analysis of this product and customer comments generally relate to signal coverage issues. We have passed the information you have provided on to the company that carried out our analysis for immediate investigation and are waiting on a response that will determine if there is any design/manufacturing issues we are not currently aware of.'

Which? has sent Alba the three faulty samples and the company says it is investigating what has gone wrong with them. Hopefully they will find the faults and ensure that this problem is fixed on future models.

However, in the meantime, we strongly advise you to avoid this product. To find Best Buy Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes that won't let you down see our Which? reviews .

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