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Ten... Freeview HD recorders

Timeshifting telly treats

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Triax T2-HD 217 PVR

RH Numbers

Triax is mainly known for satellite dishes but here offers a low-cost 500GB recorder. Despite mid-size dimensions it has various sockets alongside the obligatory HDMI, including twin Scarts and two separate digital audio outputs. However, it won’t convert HE-AAC 5.1 into amp-friendly multichannel sound, and the USB and Ethernet ports both lie dormant.

The on-screen display is uncomplicated and it’s easy to jump around in the programme guide but it drops helpful assets like keyword searching. In every respect this is a run-of-the-mill DVR. The picture quality in standard and high definition is wishy washy and there’s an annoying flashing blue LED during recording. Worst of all was my test sample’s loud, almost incessant fan noise.

Triax T2-HD 217 PVR Freeview HD DVR

Reg Rating 50%
Price £200
More info Triax

TVonics DTR-Z500HD

RH Numbers
RH Recommended Medal

This likeable, compact DVR is one of the easiest to use. Its clear menus now include keyword searching for the programme guide and the handset is straightforward, if rather elongated and top heavy.

It has a 500GB capacity and a network connection, which in August 2011 was updated to add iPlayer (though it’s not perfect and excludes the HD option). There’s no media streaming and the USB port is for photo viewing only. However, one handy feature is its HDMI hub facility and it’s good to find that Freeview HD’s HE-AAC surround sound is transcoded into Dolby Digital 5.1. The picture quality is also generally top-notch.

The UK-based TVonics also supplies the innards for Toshiba’s HDR5010KB recorder, which omits the iPlayer but adds a front panel display. ®

TVonics DTR-Z500HD Freeview HD DVR

Reg Rating 80%
Price £200
More info TVonics

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