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TVonics DTR-HD500

TVonics DTR-HD500 Freeview HD DVR

Designer digital video recording

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Quirks

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.

TVonics DTR-HD500

Designed for shop display stands, not living rooms?

Picture-in-picture works, though not with HD content. And the HD500 has a momentary wobble when you pause and then resume HD broadcasts. This is more noticeable on BBC HD, suggesting it's higher bitrates that the HD500 isn't so happy with. Another such oddity: engaging or disengaging the box's Audio Description support - the on-screen action is read out to those with poor or no vision - momentarily speeds up what's on screen, presumably as the various data streams synchronise. For the target audience, this probably doesn't matter, but it seems unnecessary even so.

A final note: the HD500's 500GB hard drive can be easily accessed through a hatch in the base, so upgrades - while not sanctioned by TVonics; it says such work will bust the warranty - are straightforward. The DVR avoids all reference to drive capacity, using available recording time instead.

Verdict

At £280, the HD500 is cheaper than Humax's rather nice and equally capacious HDR-Fox T2, but also packs in fewer features beyond the DVR basics. TVonics sells direct and is discounting its DVR to £250 and bundling an extra, second year of warranty, which makes up for this. If you need Audio Description, this is an obvious box for you. For the rest of us, the clear lines of its UI and 500GB capacity will win it friends. Only the questions raised by its - not unique; too many DVRs do this - crash stops me scoring it more highly. ®

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TVonics DTR-HD500

TVonics DTR-HD500 Freeview HD DVR

Oddly styled Freeview HD digital video recorder.
Price: £280 (retail) £250 (direct fron TVonics) RRP

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