TVonics DTR-Z500HD Freeview HD DVR

Solid set-top

TVOnics DTR-Z500HD

Review Back in October 2010, Reg Hardware looked at TVonics’ first Freeview HD recorder, the curiously styled DTR-HD500. The DTR-Z500HD is a more conventional 'shoe box' shape, though much smaller than many of the others I’ve looked at, but it once again packs in a good spec.

TVonics DTR-HD500

DTR-Z500HD: a more sober design than the last TVOnics DVR

There’s a 500GB disk drive, Ethernet network connectivity – BBC iPlayer isn’t supported yet, but is in the works, apparently – and twin tuners, so you can watch one channels while recording another, or record two at a time.

The TVonics doesn’t have the network media functionality of Humax's Freeview HD DVRs, such as the HDR-Fox T2, but a look at the back panel reveals a useful extra: three HDMI ports. Two are inputs, and there’s a built in HDMI switch, which will be welcome to those who only have one or two ports on their TV.

There’s also a Scart output, optical S/PDIF, and a rear-facing USB port, as well as one on the front panel. Power comes from a small plug-top PSU.

If you’re hoping for media playback from the USB ports, you’ll be disappointed. They’re strictly for photos and firmware updates, rather than video or audio playback.

TVOnics DTR-Z500HD

No BBC iPlayer on board... yet

The remote can be programmed to work a range of TV sets, but not other devices. At the top a row of buttons allows you to select DTT – the built in tuners – the two HDMI ports, or USB for photos. It’s a fairly well built remote, with a decent feel to it, though a single key is used for ‘back’ and ‘exit’ which may confuse users of some others. There’s a dedicated key for Audio Description, with an on-screen notification to let you know when it’s turned on, too.

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