I was in the market for a combined DVD and Freeview unit with HD upscaling and HDMI output and the A13JG from Maplin seemed to fit the bill. At time of writing it is on sale at Maplin for just shy of £50.
First impression on unboxing: It is cheap and nasty tat.
Second impression: My first impression was correct.
Despite my having an excellent roof mounted antenna which a Humax Freeview box shows as having 70% signal strength and 100% signal quality, the A13JG failed to maintain a consistent Freeview picture. When it did occasionally manage to display a picture the audio and video were out of sync (even worse when using 60 Hz mode).
The remote control looks and feels cheap (which it is I guess), the controls are complicated and the EPG is totally incomprehensible. I didn’t even get as far as testing out the DVD functions as there was no way I was going to keep it.
Perhaps I should have read the reviews first…
Unusable for freeview. After about 20-25 minutes the picture freezes. Sometimes more often – only seconds after changing channel up/down or power-cycle.
I returned to Maplin the very next day and was fortunately able to persuade them to refund me, although for all they knew I was returning a brick as they didn’t even open the box to check.
In summary, don’t even think about it.