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back to article TVonics DTR-HD500 Freeview HD DVR

The design is bonkers, of course. TVonics has never favoured the box-like looks preferred by its rivals, of course, but the DTR-HD500, with its oval, upward sloping front-meets-top, owes more to the likes of the Sony PlayStation 3 than other DVRs. TVonics DTR-HD500 TVonics' DTR-HD500: has to go on top That said, even the PS3 …

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FAIL

No wireless?

It's a shame that the Freeview HD standard for set-top boxes doesn't insist on wireless being compulsory as well as a wired Ethernet connection. Since these boxes will mainly go in the lounge and often often in a different room from the main desktop PC and wireless router, then I'd thought wireless is almost a "must have" surely?

Mind you, this TVonics box just seems almost ignore its Ethernet (used for firmware updates [maybe] and "possibly" Youview in the future), so I guess it's no wonder it's not got wireless. I think people are looking more from a box that is capable of going on their home network (streaming to another machine, iPlayer, Sky Player, ITV Player, firmware updates, Youtube, PPV [TV progs, movies, live sports]).

A box that's 250-280 quid had better do *something* more than just record TV programmes and playback a few JPEGs from its USB ports! It's what my Technika 8320HD can do and that's 200 quid...

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YouView most unlikely

It's most unlikely - pretty much certainly impossible - that any of the current crop of Freeview HD boxes will be updated for YouView; there are specific requirements for YouView that far exceed the basic presence of the MHEG-IC channel that's included in Freeview HD.

And wireless is, really, just a big heap of headaches for manufacturers. In urban areas, it can be pretty close to unusable at times, due to congestion, and that's before you decide what standard to have, and what encryption to support.

There will be incompatibilities, and configuration issues whatever you do, and people will call the PVR maker's helpline. Who, unsurprisingly, won't have all the details of every brand of crappy old wireless router to hand. End result will likely be punters saying "I called XX and they were useless; couldn't make the wireless work, the product is shit."

Ordinary punters won't care about the technical aspects; they will just consider that they bought a box that said "links to your home network wirelessly" and that it stutters on playback, or doesn't work at all. And they'll blame the PVR maker.

Unless a company's prepared to do a lot of hand holding on support, I really do think they're better off with an ethernet socket, and let the customer plug what they want into them.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Wireless OK

I've got a box with wireless support and it's fine, thanks - I live in the middle of N. London surrounded by routers, and have a standard 8Mb BT service (ie 3 at best, usually less). The box drops the connection now and then, but less than it freezes up, refuses to change channel or shows a frozen image over the new channel's sound. It also refuses to series-link, crashes in iPlayer when time-shifting, time-shifts very badly otherwise and oh yes did I mention it freezes and crashes all the time?

Really it's a piece of rubbish - the wireless support is one of the better things about it! It's oneof those £200 Tesco fetchTV jobs. God it's awful. I'm soo glad I kept the old Humax!

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What about archive/export?

Any chance you could state when DVR's being tested allow you to archive old recordings off the DVR onto network/usb/whatever? I have a Humax PVR9300, and even taking the drive out, I cannot mount it as any kind of recognised file system elsewhere, and the USB port was never enabled. I won't buy another DVR until I know I can backup my recordings, so it would be a useful noted capability on tested devices, for me at least.

Thanks

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: What about archive/export?

AFAIK, the answer is no. The USB ports are only for sideshowing photos. I took the HDD out, but didn't connect it up to anything.

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MJI
Silver badge

Interesting

I was hoping this was going to be good, knowing the origins of the company. But still likes Humax is in the lead, but this is a LOT cheaper.

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Unusual question

Can you use it as a HDMI - SCART converter? Say hook a blue ray player to one of the HDMI inputs and watch the output over SCART?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Unusual question

Good question, but the box is now unplugged and packaged up, so I'm not going to be the one to answer it.

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WTF?

HDMI to SCART conversion

Why would anyone choose to take a high quality (and digital) HDMI signal and have it converted to crappy (analogue) SCART?

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Why?

Maybe because they do not have a TV/projector with HDMI sockets on it.

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Silver badge

Almost

If it had the ability to stream content from a standard back-end (e.g. Myth) then this would have been a winner. As it is, one is still better off building a box.

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Bronze badge

Transcoding

There was no mention of transcoding of audio to support surround sound broadcasts.

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Silver badge

Unlikely

"Likewise, feeds from devices connected through the HD500's HDMI inputs weren't as crisp as they are when directly connected to the set, even when input and output resolutions were matched."

A-B double blind test?

If it's an HDMI source selector it can't change the resolution or quality of the other devices selected.

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