Bell TV Receivers
Bell TV satellite receivers are manufactured for Echostar by Sanmina-SCI in Guadalajara, Mexico. Two different high-definition television (HDTV) receivers are currently provided, with either optional or built-in personal video recorder (PVR) capabilities:
The Bell TV 6400 HD Receiver is a single tuner HDTV receiver which decodes MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 signals. It offers both an HDMI and composite video output but removed component video output that was included on the 6131 model connectors for HDTV purposes. It does not include an internal hard disk drive, but can receive PVR capabilities when an external hard disk drive is connected to its USB 2.0 port. The drive stores a one hour data buffer, allowing one to rewind and pause a live TV program for that time period. The iTV button on the 6400's remote has been replaced by a "Movies" button because the receiver does not support iTV.
The Bell TV 9400 HD PVR Plus Receiver (9400) is Bell TV's latest HDTV receiver, released in 2012. It is slim like the 6400 and succeeds the larger 9241. The company claims it is "Canada's best HD PVR" in its advertisements, despite having fewer features than older receivers as well as an internal hard disc drive with less storage than those of competitors. The HD PVR Plus's main advantage is its internal hard drive with 1 TB of storage, enough for up to 500 hours of SDTV or 75 hours of HDTV (upgraded to 150 hours of HDTV with a recent software update due to the switch from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4). Additionally, the receiver's dual tuner allows the user to watch one channel while recording it and/or another.., .
Bell has discontinued older receivers which either only supported standard-definition television (SDTV) or included a series of features that newer receivers no longer offer. Receivers discontinued by Bell include the 4100, Bell's last standard-definition television (SDTV) receiver sold until March 2012. It is compact and provides coaxial cable, composite video, S-Video and TOSLINK outputs. It had no built-in PVR capabilities, requiring an external device such as a videocassette recorder (VCR) or DVD recorder to record shows. Prior to this, Bell discontinued the 5900 single tuner SDTV PVR receiver with a built-in hard drive to record up to 80 hours of programming. Features absent in Bell's current receivers but available in older receivers include picture-in-picture (watching two channels simultaneously on one TV) and a tuner for over-the-air programming (OTA programming) support. Having an OTA tuner can potentially allow access to unavailable or optional channels such as those of American networks.
Current HD receivers support the 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i resolutions. 1080p is not supported, despite claims to the contrary by Bell. To allow backward compatibility with older SDTVs and due to the fact that non-HD receivers are no longer sold, HD receivers are compatible with a composite video or S-Video connection. A separate adapter is required for legacy coaxial cable connections. All three methods only provide a 480i resolution due to technical limitations. The star (*) and PAGE UP buttons of the remote add a zoom, partial zoom, stretch or gray bars. The purpose of the latter is to prevent burn-in on plasma televisions.