The HD500 will also cleverly sense programme trailers and ask if you want to record the shows when they are broadcast. This certainly adds an appropriate Timer to the list, but my only attempt to record a programme this way was confounded by an apparent system crash that downed the box for week. It also ensured none of the Timers triggered during that period. And all the HD channels vanished from the list. Oops.
The EPG is clearly laid out
I'd purposely left the HD500 untouched, so I didn't know about the crash for seven days. This time, leaving it alone was intentional, but what if I'd been on holiday? I'd have come back home and had no shows to watch.
To be fair, I may have an iffy box. Either that or there's work to be done on the firmware. Some early issues, cured with a system reset, don't suggest one or the other. I have to say, I've yet to try a DVR or set-top box that didn't crash as some point, though that doesn't let TVonics off the hook.
The HD500's picture quality isn't bad, and you can use the box to upscale content to match your TV's native screen resolution, or let your telly do the heavy lifting. It's worth trying both, to see which one does the better job. The TVonics box will, by default, output to match your TV.
Timers tracks series - until they disappear from the EPG
I found the HD500's output of standard-definition content to be slightly inferior to that of the Sony Bravia TV I used it with. Compression artefacts were a little more obvious, but if you sit back they shouldn't trouble anyone who isn't looking for them.
Next page: TVonics DTR-HD500 UI Gallery
YouView most unlikely
It's most unlikely - pretty much certainly impossible - that any of the current crop of Freeview HD boxes will be updated for YouView; there are specific requirements for YouView that far exceed the basic presence of the MHEG-IC channel that's included in Freeview HD.
And wireless is, really, just a big heap of headaches for manufacturers. In urban areas, it can be pretty close to unusable at times, due to congestion, and that's before you decide what standard to have, and what encryption to support.
There will be incompatibilities, and configuration issues whatever you do, and people will call the PVR maker's helpline. Who, unsurprisingly, won't have all the details of every brand of crappy old wireless router to hand. End result will likely be punters saying "I called XX and they were useless; couldn't make the wireless work, the product is shit."
Ordinary punters won't care about the technical aspects; they will just consider that they bought a box that said "links to your home network wirelessly" and that it stutters on playback, or doesn't work at all. And they'll blame the PVR maker.
Unless a company's prepared to do a lot of hand holding on support, I really do think they're better off with an ethernet socket, and let the customer plug what they want into them.
I've got a box with wireless support and it's fine, thanks - I live in the middle of N. London surrounded by routers, and have a standard 8Mb BT service (ie 3 at best, usually less). The box drops the connection now and then, but less than it freezes up, refuses to change channel or shows a frozen image over the new channel's sound. It also refuses to series-link, crashes in iPlayer when time-shifting, time-shifts very badly otherwise and oh yes did I mention it freezes and crashes all the time?
Really it's a piece of rubbish - the wireless support is one of the better things about it! It's oneof those £200 Tesco fetchTV jobs. God it's awful. I'm soo glad I kept the old Humax!
"Likewise, feeds from devices connected through the HD500's HDMI inputs weren't as crisp as they are when directly connected to the set, even when input and output resolutions were matched."
A-B double blind test?
If it's an HDMI source selector it can't change the resolution or quality of the other devices selected.
Maybe because they do not have a TV/projector with HDMI sockets on it.
HDMI to SCART conversion
Why would anyone choose to take a high quality (and digital) HDMI signal and have it converted to crappy (analogue) SCART?