Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/24/review_sony_svr_hdt1000_freeview_plus_hd_dvr/

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+ HD DVR

No-nonsense telly recorder with HDD archiving

By Steve May

Posted in Hardware, 24th January 2012 12:10 GMT

Review

At first glance, the Sony SVR-HDT1000 may appear rather unprepossessing. It’s a Freeview HD digital recorder which bucks the trend for ubiquitous Smart-ness and has no integrated Blu-ray player or fancy multi-platform functionality. It does, however, make a virtue of simplicity. Those looking for a no-nonsense, high grade terrestrial DVR are unlikely to be disappointed.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

Record-player: Sony's SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+ HD DVR

The SVR-HDT1000 packs a prodigious 1TB drive, enough for some 600 hours of standard definition TV or 250 hours of HD. A lookalike model with a smaller 500GB drive is also available, the £50 cheaper SVR-HDT500.

The unit itself is impressively small at just 320mm wide, thanks to an outboard power supply, and has a good build quality too. It’s designed to partner Sony’s Monolithic Design BRAVIA TVs. Not only does this DVR appear to be well made, it runs quietly; a whispering fan does not draw undue attention to itself.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

Bare essentials round the back

Rear connectivity is fairly standard. There’s a single HDMI output (no HDMI switching is provided), supported by legacy analogue AV phonos, a digital coaxial audio output, USB and Ethernet. A second USB can be found on the front fascia, concealed beneath a recalcitrant bung.

However, the unit lacks any useful display. Instead of time or channel information, there’s just a glowing white light and a pair of red LED recording lamps; at least you’ll know when it’s timeshifting Masterchef.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

Typical Sony remote holds few surprises

It’s perhaps unfortunate that the SVR-HDT1000 doesn’t plumb into Sony’s IPTV Smart network. Rival boxes from Samsung, LG and Panasonic are all integrated with their respective Smart portals, consequently this DVR offers no access to YouTube, movies on demand services or miscellaneous apps.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

However, as a Freeview HD box it is compatible with the terrestrial service’s slow-moving IPTV machinations. Journey to the distant end of the programme guide and you’ll find streaming ‘net channels in slots 110 to 115. While several of these have yet to be activated, both China 24 (aka CCTV) and Sports Tonight are live.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

Menu options

The BBC iPlayer is also accessible, albeit from the Red Button menu on the standard definition version of BBC One. Although ostensibly a Red Button service, it requires the deck to be on-line to work.

This convolution aside, the deck is a doddle to use. It employs a generic Freeview HD EPG and recordings appear under the Title List tag. Naturally, as the DVR is Freeview HD enabled, any recording request prompts an immediate offer to timeshift in hi-def if the show is available. There’s also provision for series linking.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

Recordings listing

While there’s no video media playback from USB, the deck’s media reader can display JPEGs and play MP3s, albeit without album art. You can also move this content from USB onto the deck’s hard drive, allowing the SVR-HDT1000 to function as a media jukebox.

Once you’ve done this, you can filter hard drive content by category, helpful when you begin to max out drive space. 
 Recorded image quality is true to source; I noted no recording-induced artefacts. Hi-def programmes look beautiful, with plenty of fine detail in evidence.

Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+HD DVR

No frills but fuss-free

Not only can you move music and photo content onto the drive, you can also export recordings off. This ability to archive from the HDD is most welcome. Not only does it guarantee you’ll never run out of room, you can also bank entire seasons of shows on external drives, which could save a few bob on Blu-ray boxsets down the road. There are caveats, of course. Recordings are made using the XFS file system and remain locked to the deck they originally came from.

Verdict


Overall, the SVR-HDT1000 can be considered an accomplished Freeview HD TV+ recorder. It may lack some of the connected frippery and complexity of its rivals, but it’s eminently usable, refreshingly quiet, and pleasingly versatile. ®

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