Written on: 24/05/2006 by vincent0 (9 reviews written)
Ease of use compared to a Freeview box + video or DVD recorder (but might be comparable to a video or DVD recorder with a built-in freeview tuner).
Information on what you've recorded is comprehensive. Too much; just give me the title, I don't need a summary every time!
EPG is 14 days.
80Gb drive - could be bigger but acceptable (see Bad Points).
The company does seem to send out automatic, over-the-air updates for this machine and others to upgrade and fix functions/features - I count that as after sales service - a positive point in their favour.
Easy to use basic functions.
Price is relatively low.
Slight fan noise which doesn't go away, even when on standby (not for use in a bedroom I think).
High number of remote button presses needed to get some things done (may be a consequence of the high number of functions and permutations available).
There is no Daily, Weekly, Weekends only, type of repeat record function - a strange omission.
This type of equipment is still in it's infancy, like DVD recorders.
If you're comfortable with opening boxes, you can only upgrade the hard drive to 128Gb due to system limitations. Sounds easy, but you'll destroy your guarantee.
It has a known problem when using the LP and EP modes (to use less space), as they cause the system to wipe off all your recordings at some unspecified and random time in the future, so you're stuck with the standard SP mode (unless you're like me and just go ahead anyway - it's only TV after all).
I am still getting use to my DigiFusion FVRT145 hard drive recorder, so I might change my mind about things later.
I've had it for less than a week, and so far, It has given a good impression.
Records off Freeview nice and easily, and there is no need to set an off or on time when recording, as it gets the information from the EPG (electronic programme guide. TV guide to you and me).
You use this EPG thingy to set the recording usually, ie, go and look at what's on TV now or next, or whatever (it's a 14 day EPG, and it loads the EPG at 3am each night off-air onto the hard drive, so you get an instant reply when you call it up, which is very good. Other units download the information when you ask for it, so they are slow, I hear) and highlight the programme you want, then press a button to set it to record. That's it! It'll start and finish on it's own. There is nothing else for you to do.
The downside is that sometimes, of course, the broadcast will not start bang on time, and it may be a minute or two early or late, in which case you'll miss a bit (what is that function thing, PDC? which gets around this? - it could do with that). You can get around this problem by manually padding out the recording. It does give you an option to make changes like start, finish and recording quality.
There is no mention of the number of recording events you are limited to, but as I'm in my honeymoon period I've been happily setting recordings left right and centre, and I haven't' hit a limit yet (it might be something like 128 times or some other computer significant number like 64?).
I've got a DVD recorder, and this in comparison, is easier to use and more convenient, but I think a lot of that is because the Freeview is integrated into the system, and it is so easy. Maybe I should have bought a Freeview DVD recorder with a hard drive to start off with. Oh yes, they were too expensive, and I didn't know.
1) You can record on two different channels at the same time, as it has two tuners. Plus, you can watch a recorded programme at the same time, and you can even go to the beginning of what you're still recording and watch that.
You can't plug it into two different TV's as it only outputs one tuner at a time.
It doesn't have an RF output, but although there is an RF loop through for it to catch the transmission, it doesn't add the signal to it like your video player does (some people like to pipe the signal around the house and this function would make it easier).
You can get around this by plugging it into a video player via the scart and that will output it out through the aerial cable.
2) You can pause or rewind live TV as it automatically records the TV programme you're watching temporarily. It only does this for 30 minutes, so if you have been watching a programme from the beginning for 30 minutes you could wind back to the beginning, but if it's been 45 minutes, you can only wind back 30 minutes, so you'll lose the first 15 minutes.
I've found the best use for me so far is to repeat what I've just missed seconds ago due to inattention.
3) This buffer is also useful if you've been watching a programme for a while and decide that you want to record it for whatever reason. It will look at it's buffer, look at the EPG, and then it tries to capture as much of the programme that it's missed. Neat!
I like it! It is a bit idiosyncratic in the way that it works. Some would say very idiosyncratic.
It's one of those gadget categories that still needs to mature and get better like DVD recorders.
There is a reported problem with using quality settings other than SP, even once. It starts off as a fault that will delete ALL your stored recordings at some random time in the future (you can get around it by not using these settings or reformatting the drive).
The best thing is it's easy to just record off the TV listings and there's no problem with searching for which video or DVD you've recorded onto, or where the recording is on the tape.
What it needs is the LP / EP fault to be fixed (the picture quality is poor on these settings as is to be expected, but it is acceptable on my 21" TV for time shifting), then it would have 80 hours of recording instead of 40 hours.
There's so much to say, but overall I'm glad I've bought it, and I like it very much so far.
It complements my DVD recorder and video recorder. In fact, I'm certain I'll be using them less.
Another thing. The picture quality of the Freeview seems not to be as good as my Asda own brand or Echostar Freeview boxes; just ever so slightly.
The Asda unit went back as it started to lose channel 5 every time I wanted to record Star Trek a while ago, but it was only Star Trek!! Was it trying to tell me something? :)
I'll be back with more when I think of something else.