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Sharp preps Freeview HD set-top kit

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Sharp will release the first of two Freeview HD set-top boxes at the end of April. It's also preparing a regular Freeview DVR that uses USB-connected storage to make it a doddle to transfer taped programmes to a PC.

The TU-T1UR sports three USB 2.0 ports on its front, into which you can connect Flash drives, SD card adaptors and external hard drives. The unit works as a typical DVR, complete with eight-day programme guide, with scheduled recordings and live-TV buffers placed on whatever storage device you've connected.

The box connects to both standard-definition and HD TVs through HDMI, Scart and composite-video outputs.

Unfortunately, the unit will not play content loaded onto the storage from a computer, so it can't be used to view movie downloads, for instance. But the lack of built-in storage means the unit's storage capacity can be upgraded and extended at will.

A company spokeswoman told Reg Hardware the unit will be out at the end of this month, though a price has yet to be set.

It will be followed in late April by the TU-T2, a Freeview HD receiver with HDMI output. Early in May, Sharp will ship the TU-T2HR32, a twin-tuner Freeview HD DVR with an on-board 320GB hard drive.

Both drives support Freeview's DVB-T system as well as Freeview HD's DVB-T2, which, despite the name, is entirely incompatible with the older standard.

Again, there's no word yet on pricing. ®

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