Home Freeview PVR review
Humax PVR 9300T
For many people who either don't have Sky+ or have the basic Sky subscription and don't want to pay the extra £10 a month for Sky+, a Freeview PVR will provide many of the same digital video recorder functionality without the monthly subscription. We provide PVR reviews of the best and most popular Freeview digital video recorders with HDD (hard disk) below.
Currently there are less channels available on Freeview to choose from and none of the Sky Sports channels are currently included, but if your viewing is largely based around free to air digital channels like the main BBC and ITV channels then a Freeview PVR will be hugely convenient.
Both of the Freeview PVR's featured provide the ability to edit and transfer recordings via a USB cable onto a PC for archiving onto DVD (subject to applicable copyright laws) and come with an easy to use on-screen menu system. Neither box has a HDMI cable or upscaling, so connection to a flat screen TV has to be via a conventional Scart socket.
If you've got a baby or young child then the ability to pause the programme you are watching for up to an hour and then re-start it from where you left off will have massive benefits.
The PVR9300T is the eagerly awaited successor to the Humax 9200T PVR. It comes equipped with an HDMI interface for easy connectivity to LCD and Plasma HDTV's and a generous 320GB hard disk for up to 200 hours of recording time. The twin tuner design allows you to record one programme whilst watching another. The price is £152.
The PVR9150T by Humax is a twin tuner Freeview PVR with advanced functionality, recommended by Which! in their recent product reviews. It offers exceptional performance in areas with a poor Freeview signal and benefits of being able to record one channel whilst watching another. A large 160GB hard disk complements what is one of the best digital video recorders on the market.
The Humax Foxsat HDR is a twin tuner Freesat+ PVR recommended by Which! It connects to an existing Sky satellite dish with twin feeds and is ideal for areas where Freeview reception is poor or not possible. It offers similar functionality to Sky+ HD but without the monthly subscription. A selection of free HD TV channels (currently BBC1 HD, BBC2 HD, ITV1 HD and C4HD) are offered. A huge 1TB hard disk complements what is one of the best Freesat set top boxes on the market.
The Topfield TF5800 and TF5810 PVR's are feature-rich high end digital video recorders with exceptional flexibility which perfectly compliment a high end home entertainment system. They feature an advanced twin tuner design and provide up to 136 hours of digital video recording time. The Topfield PVR also offers customisation through free TAP (Topfield Application programmes), making them the AV enthusiast's choice.
Whilst it's not a PVR as such, the latest Panasonic DVD and Freeview HDD recorders offer time slip playback where a Freeview programme can be recorded and simultaneously played back in time delayed mode whilst it's being recorded. Recordings can be made either onto the 160GB hard disk or directly onto DVD and programme editing is provided. No analogue tuner is provided so you'll need to live in an area with Freeview coverage.