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“I bought this model in the sales for £199, which I...”

Written on: 05/01/2007 by Ieuanfawr (68 reviews written)

Good Points
Once setup, easy to use.
Links directly with Sony Freeview STB.
Lots of features, including pausing live TV

Bad Points
Setup not intuitive because of jargon, e.g. Line 3/Decoder or G-Link
Live TV pause has a minimum pause time of about 1 minute
Some actions not as quick as expected - be patient!
Programme guide updated when recorder is switched off.
The absence of a digital Freeview tuner may be important to some users.

General Comments
I bought this model in the sales for £199, which I reckon was a good deal. While some of the features are not immediately obvious, I'm very pleased with it and it does everything I've asked of it.

I've found the quality of the (stereo) sound and picture to be good on my common or garden CRT TV, arguably better than before!

The only cables supplied were the power cord, the "G-link" and a co-ax cable for the UHF link to the TV. In my case, I had all the SCART leads I needed as the DVD recorder was replacing an ancient VHS VCR.

The initial setup took longer than I expected, mostly because of the unclear terminology. The text of user guide ("operating instructions") has a lot of Sony-specific jargon at times, though the diagrams are good. Without the guide, I would have really struggled. If you are considering buying this DVD Recorder (or another Sony), the "operating instructions" can be downloaded from in Adobe PDF format, about 4Mb.

There is also a small remote detector (G-link) which is required to ensure the link between the recorder and a digital Freeview tuner. I have the TV screen set to 4:3 Stretch to fit rather than letter box, and there are times when I prefer it the other way round. It seems it can't be changed while playing a DVD, which has to stopped before the appropriate "system menu" will be activated.

There is no Freeview digital tuner incorporated in this model. So when recording using an external Freeview STB, only the 5 analogue channels are available as the channel on the Freeview STB cannot be changed. However if you have a TV with an inbuilt digital Freeview tuner, this won't be an issue.

About 32 hours of TV can be recorded on the 80Gb HDD - which is 16 episodes of Morse!

Transfer ("dubbing") to DVD disc is straightforward, and there are basic editing, titling and playlist creation facilities. DVDs need to be "finalised" before they can played on other players.

There are S-video and RGB and stereo outputs, as well inputs for cameras and satellite decoders.

As is now fairly common, the remote can be set to change the volume and channel of a range of common TVs.

Remembering to switch the recorder off at night to ensure the TV Guide is fully refreshed is a nuisance, but I have discovered that the always ready EPG of my excellent but now obsolete Sony VTX-D800U can be used to programme the recorder up to a fortnight in advance at the press of a button. The HX525 can also be programmed using VideoPlus, and the VideoPlus numbers can be found on the Radio Time Website.

It is possible to pause live TV and resume it later, but the time between pausing and then restarting the action is at least a minute. So don't expect too much of this - it's really a facility to ensure you miss nothing while completing an errand. It does work OK though.

Once every thing is connected and setup, and the programme guide downloaded, it's straightforward. The title list feature is really good, keeping track of your recordings and enabling you to edit and transfer then to DVD.

Pre-recorded DVDs seem to take a long to "load" on insertion, but after that, the recorder responds quickly when a button on the remote is pressed.

I read elsewhere that the HDD can noisy, but I can't say I've noticed.

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