back to article Sony SVR-HDT1000 Freeview+ HD DVR

IPTV Week logo 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 …

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FAIL

Hobbled.

For a non-geek user, I guess this could be a decent no-frills option, but for the geek-set, it's got FAIL written all over it.

Geeks have been running their own home brew PVR's for years now.

My own home system, which cost the same to setup as this, is running mythTV, along with Boxee, XBMC and whatever else I care to throw onto it - it's Ubuntu underneath.

The svr-hdt1000 is effectively hobbled on delivery - already out of date and outclassed.

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Anonymous Coward

Geek users?

LOL. Some (highly technical and computer literate) people work for a living, and can't be dicking about with patching their TVs when they get home. Or just want something the kids or (computer illiterate) wife can switch on from standby. This box is pretty good at that (I have the 500Mb version). It could do with DNLA or access to the same services that the Sony BD has, but it does the job it does very well.

God I hate people who describe themselves as geeks just because they can load Ubuntu onto a PC and call it a PVR.

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If you just want a decent Freeview HD PVR and you've already got all the other bits, like an Internet-enabled Blu-Ray player, HD TV/projector, surround, etc. then this is actually not a bad product. You don't actually want all the extra IPTV cruft, BR player, etc.

Shame there's no optical SPDIF out.

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FAIL

Are they out of their cost-minds?

What a fucking joke -- £349 are SONY insane?

For 1/2 that I can get an entire Freesat setup, and HUMAX box.

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Exactly what I thought

I can only assume that Sony expect people to believe they'd get better results from something with the word Sony written on it than from something with the word Humax written on it. Which I doubt is true nowadays.

Still, as an avowed cheapskate (spend more than £600 on a TV? Are you kidding?) I'm not exactly the target market.

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80%?

For that kind of price it should include a whole load more features. There was me thinking about £100-£150. The EPG doesn't look that good either.

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MJI
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Freesat for under £175?

Cost me more like £400

Humax box £290

dish and LNB £60

dish adjustment £50 or so

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MJI
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Sony vs Humax

Funny really this is a similar price to the Humax Freeview HD PVR.

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Anonymous Coward

"£349 are SONY insane? For 1/2 that I can get an entire Freesat setup, and HUMAX box"

Can you share the source? Humax Freesat PVR 1TB currently listed as £319 on their site so the Sony "list" price is less than 10% more. I'd pay that for a slightly better UI and remote (the Humax remote is terrible).

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"I noted no recording-induced artefacts"

Nor will there be on any sane Freeview recorder, at least by default. Some have the option to recompress for archival, but AFAIK all pukka Freeview hard-disk recorders store the digital stream directly and replay it "as is".

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Facepalm

Looks like they really splashed out on the UI then!

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MJI
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Some questions

Does sound get transcribed to Dolby Digital?

Who actually made it?

This is not a silly question, TVonics are often made by Sony manufacturing, and the older Sony Freeview boxes were not made by Sony.

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MJI
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Time for the real question

Is it better than the Humax?

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@s.pam please tell me where I can get a full Freesat setup and a Humax box for £175. A HDR-FOXT2 costs £270 on it's own, a FOXSATHD1 is £299?

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FAIL

Doesn't even compare to the PS3

I bought a PS3 for £150 an PlayTV box for £50 and have a significantly better setup than this.

The playTV GUI is the best I've seen on any set top box/ TV plug in thing. Why do they need to reinvent the wheel when they could just integrate together what already works.

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Glad you brought the PS3 up, as it's usually me!

It's hard to justify the price of most external boxes when the PS3 is comparatively cheap and very flexible.

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MJI
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PS3 PVR ?

No thanks

It would mess up my after tea gaming while recording Great British Railway Journeys.

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PS3

Whilst I admit that, on a pure cost basis, the PS3 wins hands down, it isn't exactly living room friendly, is it? It makes one hell of a din and pumps out more heat than a tumble dryer. But it does make you wonder why this costs £350 when the PS3 is £200 cheaper with more expensive components.

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MJI
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PS3 noise

The older phat PS3s are noisy when they get hot, the newer slims are a lot quieter.

Source : Someone who has had a YLOD.

YLOD now the blame for this can be placed on the idiots who forced through lead free solder for non military/non medical equipment. I think the same may be an issue for the RRODs.

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FAIL

small difference

The PS3 setup isn't freeview HD. Unless they finally got around to making a mark 2 playTV anyway. It's anice setup - the interface is way ahead of most PVRs - but without DVB-T2 decoding, it's old tech in the UK.

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Firmware upgraded added usb video playback

Got this for xmas as a pressie and its not disappointed at all. There was a firmware upgrade available that i installed easily via the usb port and i now can play usb videos fine :)

Yes not having a clock or other visual front is a bit strange but i like it.

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FAIL

I would have said cheap and nasty, but it's not cheap

Who have Sony badge-engineered this from?

31watts, with an external wallwart PSU? More hot clunky clutter behind the TV.

No DVD or Blu-ray player, no video media playback from USB?

One HDMI socket, no S-Video or component for a projector?

Archive to an external disk, but locked to the box? That's understandable for pay-TV subscription channels, but unacceptable for Freeview.

And they want £350? I'l pass.

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Boffin

Actually locked recordings are mandatory for Freeview HD

"Archive to an external disk, but locked to the box? That's understandable for pay-TV subscription channels, but unacceptable for Freeview."

It is mandatory for any Freeview HD product to apply copy controls as signalled at least to the HD content. The simple way of doing this that many boxes choose is to encrypt the content with a device specific key. Often they do this with an encrypted partition or taking over the whole disc but they could do it on a file basis. I think many consumers would find it very confusing being able to do some content but not others and the rules aren't completely simple anyway.

"31watts, with an external wallwart PSU? More hot clunky clutter behind the TV."

Also 31W isn't that much for a dual DVB-T2 tuner plus HD decode plus writing two HD streams to disc plus reading one stream from disc which will be the only time that the maximum power is taken. I for one would prefer the wall wart generating the heat behind the TV than it being internal and making the cabinet hotter.

"No DVD or Blu-ray player, no video media playback from USB?."

They have those products if you want them but this isn't it.

"And they want £350? I'l pass."

The price does seem a high at £350 but a quick Google shows that Richer Sounds are selling it at £280 although I would go for the £220 500GB model.

Disclaimer: Ex-Sony Product Planner, didn't work directly on these products but know people who did.

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'It is mandatory for any Freeview HD'

Nope.

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>It is mandatory for any Freeview HD product to apply copy controls as signalled at least to the HD content.

The key phrase there is "as signalled" The BBC asked permission to do it, and Ofcom allowed that, but if the broadcaster doesn't put DRM on the broadcast there is no requirement that the PVR should encrypt the content. If this PVR encrypts everything then it's just taking the lazy way out.

Does your position as "Ex-Sony Product Planner" allow you to respond to my first question, about who makes this for Sony?

Incidentally I'm not anti-Sony, I have an RDR-HX910 HDD-DVD box linked to a Sony TV and am happy with both. In terms of features and connectivity the 910 design is far superior, at least for SD viewing.

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MJI
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RE : Joseph Lord

So can you tell us is it Sony or is it badge engineered like the last PVR?

You are getting people who like Sony stuff getting critical so we need to know.

What you need to know that if in doubt buy Humax, I reckon a large number of people on this thread have a Humax PVR of some form.

As to my worries, I had a 1st generation Wega IDTV, unfortunately it was not DSO compliant, but the picture was superb. It was made in the UK and the tuner section designed in the UK.

Now the nearest thing to a Sony Freeview box (as opposed to IDTV on Ondodgy box) are the TVonics boxes, they are much much more Sony, than the Sony badged Beko ones.

Why?

The original design team are ex Sony engineers, who developed the tuner modules for the Bridgend manufactured Sony Wega IDTVs. And the boxes were made by Sony manufacturing.

The Sony badged boxes were overpriced and made by Beko - a white goods manufacturer.

So is this HD PVR a Sony product or a Beko product. Or do we buy TVonics to get a Sony manufactured device?

Personally I want to get the Humax HD Freeview PVR. simply because it is a safe purchase, as long as its remote does not clash with my Humax HDR.

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Sony is a huge organisation with hundreds (thousands?) of products globally. There is room for great, good and sometimes even bad products (and even policies) in different parts of the organisation. They fundamentally don't have the tight control of Apple to ensure every product is at least good although I believe that this one is.

Some of the old Bridgend people are still in Sony in Basingstoke and while there is no longer much development and design work done by that team they specification and testing work. The Basingstoke team certainly contributed to the development of the Freeview + HD box.

I really can't remember (and even if I could I probably shouldn't say) who is the partner for the Sony Freeview + HD box although I'm sure it wasn't Beko. I'm also not completely clear that the exact manufacturer is critical. Whoever makes it is Sony's responsibility to ensure does it to the requirements of the brand and that it is of good quality before it hits the shelves and if it does't meet a reasonable standard it should be returned through the retailer.

The old PVR to which you referred was by all accounts a very poor product and should not have been allowed out of the door. I seem to recall that it appeared in Basingstoke as essentially a finished product for testing without earlier input and it wasn't regarded as very impressive. This Freeview+ HD product is I believe much more solid and well built in many ways and was definitely developed with Basingstoke input.

Regarding your non-DSO compliant TV, I presume that you understand that it met the agreed specification for UK Digital Terrestrial TV and it was a later decision by the DtG that was largely driven by the broadcasters to change the specification and the broadcast modes in a way that it was known would prevent early digital products from working.

Humax are a good brand with some pretty good products. My Father has had a few (single tuner, dual tuner and most recently HD before the Sony was available) although there have been times when there have been prolonged significant software problems so the experience hasn't been entirely perfect but I am not currently aware of any significant outstanding issues that haven't been fixed. I certainly haven't sat down for a side by side comparison with the Sony.

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MJI
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RE : Joseph Lord10:49 GMT

Regarding your non-DSO compliant TV, I presume that you understand that it met the agreed specification for UK Digital Terrestrial TV and it was a later decision by the DtG that was largely driven by the broadcasters to change the specification and the broadcast modes in a way that it was known would prevent early digital products from working.

I sold it when the tube started to go dull now have a W series LCD.

The old PVR to which you referred was by all accounts a very poor product and should not have been allowed out of the door. I seem to recall that it appeared in Basingstoke as essentially a finished product for testing without earlier input and it wasn't regarded as very impressive.

That was the Beko job, it to be honest was a joke.

Some of the old Bridgend people are still in Sony in Basingstoke and while there is no longer much development and design work done by that team they specification and testing work. The Basingstoke team certainly contributed to the development of the Freeview + HD box.

Those early IDTVs were VERY WELL rated and were the best tuners of the early DTTV days, knowing the same team is behind the new PVR is more important than I think Sony realise.

A lot of us who like Sony goods do not buy because of the badge, but because of the quality. I thought the Wega tube was fantastic, my old Sony 950 was the best domestic 1/2" tape product in the UK, my old Sony portable VCR still works, went with it because Beta was better than Vhs. My LCD current TV was one of best at the time.

But I went Pioneer for DVD player no 2 as they do both SACD and DVD-Audio.

As to Sony badged, well I was given a Sony Vhs recorder and it is the worst VCR in my collection, only used it to transfer to PC, actually it is a bit shoddy, also it was not much newer than my best VCR the SLHF950. Want to see cheap and well made - look at the early Sanyo VCRs - as your format partners, they did some great decks, my VTCM40 HiFi still works!

Suffice to say I have had quite a bit of Sony stuff but you had to work at it.

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Anonymous Coward

my ps3 etc etc

why does any tv box post bring out the 1000watt ps3 toaster crew. Most people want a dedicated product which is quiet and uses 20watts.

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Anonymous Coward

can archive NOW...

But this is Sony. So when are they going to just remove that feature ...as they often remove features from their products with firmware updates...

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Anonymous Coward

Love the 1980s UI

Another half-baked Sony offering.

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FAIL

Buy a Humax

I replaced my Sky HD+ subscription with a Humax Freeview HD box - cannot fault it, and it was £100 cheaper than the Sony, and has a display on the front.

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