back to article Digital Vision GiGo DV-DTR1 USB PVR

"Today's digital VCR replacement" is how the UK manufacturer Digital Vision describes its new GiGo Freeview set-top box. Designed to sell for less than £70, the device is a granny-friendly PVR with an unusual feature that will appeal to geeks (at least to this one). Unlike the majority of PVRs on the UK market, the GiGo records …


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  1. EddieD

    Digitising legacy VHS

    Can't you do it via the RF socket?

    Not the highest fidelity, but should be workable.

  2. Whitter

    Soooo very close.

    Had it copy-from-VCR, they would have had a customer here. Alas without it, it's just another box taking up space.

  3. Anna Logg

    a couple of things..

    To be something like 'granny proof' I think this device needs an RF modulator rather than just passthru - no mention of this in the review eitehr way I can see.

    I doubt if you can digitise VHS via the RF IN as I can't see any mention of any analogue RF input capability - just analogue output to VHS via composite video like any other PVR box.

    Seems like an interesting idea, I'm surprised by the lack of record to USB or SDHC devcies on the market, I find my old Sandisk V-mate handy for this now and agian, but that's hardly 'granny proof'

  4. Emo

    RE: Digitising legacy VHS

    Only if it has an analogue decoder, and being a box for Freeview (that's digital), it's unlikely.

    I wonder if the USB port could be connected to a NAS for easy network access to the TV recordings?

    Pint cos it's Friday :)

  5. Dale 3

    Missed opportunity

    Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity here. I love the idea of multiple removable storage devices, and I guess the price is right for what you get, but there is so much missing I wouldn't have given it more than 70% rating. It needs to have dual receivers, and be able to power USB HDDs by specification. It needs to be able to pause and play catchup with live TV. 14 day EPG would be nice-to-have but I concede not a necessity. What a pity they left out so many features that would be considered standard on any other PVR, while adding all these innovations. Now if they could just put the innovative new features on top of the existing standard features we are expecting, they would have a clear winner. My Inverto sadly has been asking to be replaced for a while now, but I haven't found its replacement yet.

  6. Chris Redpath

    no digitiser

    @EddieD : Generally these kind of devices do little more than save the MPEG stream as it comes out from the tuners, they don't have any way to encode MPEG.

    This keeps the cost down, but limits the functionality in ways that seem distinctly arbitrary compared with the VCRs of old.

    Am I the only person in the world who wishes there were a sufficient market to justify creating a 'premium' Freeview+ PVR with a nice box, great UI and some decent hardware in it these days? The race to £20 freeview boxes has left us with a load of old tosh on the shelves and my Sony STB isn't going to last forever.

  7. handle

    @EddieD: can't digitise VHS

    The box can only receive digital TV, not the analogue you get from a VHS machine's RF output. The main reason for this is that it would require an MPEG2 coder (licensing fees!) to record analogue broadcasts.

    By the way, you should be able to plug a DVD player into the second SCART socket, and provided that it offers RGB pass-through then the quality should be fine.

  8. Ross Beavis


    What do you mean "there's no 'garbage in, garbage out' about it"?! It's freeview! Scratch that - it's TV! There's always garbage!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @ EddieD

    No, I doubt it. Remember that it's a digital tuner, and your VCR will not be spitting out a signal on a digital multiplex, so the digital tuner will have nothing digital to tune into.

  10. Ged T
    Thumb Up

    I suspect that...

    ... the poor playback performance from an external hard drive is due to lack of buffering which would obscure external drive access latency.

    Still a neat product, though...

  11. david 63

    I have a credit card...

    ...and I'm not afraid to use it.

    If only I could find one of these to actually buy and not just drool over...

  12. SynnerCal

    Reasonable article. :)

    One comment though:

    "The VHS socket gives newcomers to digital an option to continue recording onto their old VHS machine."

    Actually the picture shows that the 2nd socket is labelled "VCR/DVD" - and don't forget that DVD-R recorders are now pretty reasonable, so I'm guessing that you could grab a programme to flash, move the key to use your PC to edit out the commercials, and then put it back in the GiGo and zap it onto DVD disk for later viewing.

    I also can't help wondering if a 2.5" external USB disk (which uses laptop drives with a lower power draw) or the SSD-based units would work better than the external drive tested.

    Price is a little high - if it was £15-20 cheaper then it'd be a serious alternative for those folks who are looking for a Freeview STB but want something a little more. Heck, I'd think of replacing my current Phillips box with this.

    Oh, and not sure on the name - presumably "TV2Go" was taken. Or, given that it's got three flash sockets, maybe it could have been called the "GoGoGo". ;)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Detail missing

    This product looks ideal. PVRs are great, but if your mate has recorded something and says it was fantastic that good and dandy but how do you get to see it (and hold the iPlayer response, Freeview is more than BBC) ? This solves that problem.

    So, it looks good - looks simple enough that my mum could use it. Some details are missing :

    1) Where can I buy one ?

    2) When can I buy one ?

    As as about "when" because you mentioned you tested a pre-production unit ! Hopefully these will be available well before XMAS.

    BTW - I think they should bundle it with at least one flash drive so you know the unit works (and so if you buy a rubbish drive you can at least know it's your cheap drive that's the problem and not the box). I would have thought SD cards would have been more preferable, there's obviously some reason they chose USB (possibly licensing).

  14. Christian Berger Silver badge


    It's a normal overpriced cheap DVB-T PVR you can get everywhere these days.

  15. Sarah Davis

    Close but no cigar !

    shame, they almost got it right.

    Now if they just add HDMI, 5.1, Giganet, and USB-B to the mk2 they'll have a real winner - .... but don't hold your breath


  16. Rob Beard
    Thumb Up

    Step in the right direction

    Well it's a step in the right direction.

    I'd consider something like this when Freeview HD is released (can't see the point in buying another freeview box at the moment). Seems a bit steep though considering what it is, but I guess the PPC CPU might have something to do with this (aren't most Freeview boxes using basic low power DSP chips?).

    I also agree that it could do with dual tuners.

    By the way, with regards to digitising VHS tapes, your best bet is to probably get a cheapo DVD recorder. You can pick one up for about £50 online now that will record from RF or Scart to DVD from old analogue devices (apart from copy protected tapes, but then a lot of old films on VHS are dirt cheap on DVD nowadays anyway). My dad does this this his LG DVD recorder (his was a bit more pricey though at £100 but does include Freeview and HDMI output).

    Personally though I just replace the VHS tapes with DVDs as any home videos I have are on DV tape anyway (so can be transferred to DVD on the PC, or via a DVD recorder).


  17. David Webb

    Cheap PVR

    I use the Sony PlayTV myself. It comes with HDMI and upscales the SD signal, comes with Blu-Ray support (it plugs into the PS3, or even a PC), dual receiver so you can record a channel whilst watching another, and the remote control is blue-tooth (I think), it also has access to the internet.

    Ok, so maybe its not cheap when you add on the cost of a PS3, and although it can accept a HD signal its not compatible with the UK signal (yet), but if you already have a PS3 I don't think there is a better freeview+ type box in its price range - not including price of PS3.

    Best bit about the PlayTV, if you are in the US on holiday, you can set the PlayTV to record Top Gear and watch it in the US on your PSP via wi-fi! Has The Reg reviewed the PlayTV yet?

  18. David Shaw

    just bought something similar

    in a Alicante MediaWorld store. It was a no name (that I can remember) Generic Satellite Receiver, I have it DISEQC on Hotbird FTA + UK FreeSat, it includes a Digital Terrestrial Rx - whose channels (12 here in Italy) just get added to the Satellite list and a front USB socket for MPEG-2 Streamed recording. I dump to 16GB USB stick and 1 hour of VIVA music was around 1.2GB. My PC & Mac see the file as a Streamed Media, plays well with VLC. Cost 129 euro, around 110 quid.

    I haven't played with the 'timed' recording modes, just pressed the basic PVR instant button on the remote - which takes about 5 secs to start. nice piece of kit!

  19. Stu
    Thumb Up


    Whilst I'm usually massively dis-interested in El-RegHW reviewing piss poor Freeview boxes, this one seems to stand out quite nicely, especially wot with its IT angle!

    This sounds like a genuinely useful piece of kit. Selecting to use USB pendrives was utter genious, they clearly recognised (or stumbled upon?) the fact that pendrives are coming down in cost all the time, today you can pick up a few perfectly acceptable 16Gb drives for one standard-pittance-unit (SPU), thereby adding great value!

    Definitely need to work on USB HDD support though, prior to release. Also there's no way my old gran would ever be able to make out that confusing mess of an EPG page! Size of the font is not everything you know!

    Only thing is - prior to when I bought my slingbox (with built in freeview) I used to use a PC with a hauppauge PVR card, only to find the support for MPEG2 video the card produced to be somewhat lacking (thanks Hauppauge for making me take up countless hours of my life on this problem!). I never did find a video editing program at the time that could edit the Hauppauge MPEG2 files except the shit they provided, and I never did manage to transcode any of my vids.

    I sincerely hope this has changed, and I hope the file standard is properly obeyed this time so it'll be loaded in with any vid editing software.

    . does anybody have any suggestions for specific software titles to edit GiGo DV-DTR1 files with? I might consider shelling out.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Use it with microSDHC and USB reader to watch on Nokia N series? Plus Addresses

    I'm keen on getting one too - so I can record progammes onto a microSDHC card plugged into a USB reader (acts just like a USB memory stick, USB mass storage class device). Take the card and put it in my Nokia N95 mobile phone and watch on the train to work.

    I will need to produce an MPEG2 video player codec for their symbian video player software. I already use this software to play back MP2 audio recordings made on a microSD card inside a full size SD adapter in TheBug DAB ( digital radio.

    Link for the device

    Expected to be available in September for about 70 pounds.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    FAT32 on a DVR? What a brilliant idea, especially given that the maxium file size 4 GB - so if you're recording a longer movie, forget about actually watching it! If you're any serious about getting a DVR, a MythTV box with a reasonably sized HD (formatted in XFS/JFS) with a couple of DVB tuners will yield much better results, and actually won't cost that much - my >5 years old Athlon XP 2600+ with 1 GB of RAM happily records four DVB streams while watching one (it could do eight from two multiplexes, but there's never that much to watch at any given time), and with proper deinterlacing it looks great even on a 1080p display.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Humax Foxsat thingy

    Might be £300 Quid but it is HD afterall!

    You might struggle to get that on a 4gb stick!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    FAT32 workaround: >4Gb recordings split into several files, linked via playlist file?

    If the PVR does use FAT32 then the 4gb limit could be overcome by the device creating a new file once the earlier had reached 4gb. A playlist file would also be created to link them together. We all know that playlist files are used to sequence audio and video on our favourite Windows/Mac/Linux players, so this technique also ought to be applicable in this dedicated set top box.

  24. Michael 28


    This would make a nice back-up pvr for my in-car dogcam setup!

  25. Nigel Whitfield.

    MPEG Streamclip

    If it's just dumping the transport stream to the drives, which is the most likely, then you'll almost certainly be able to open the files using MPEG StreamClip ( which is one of the tools of choice for the owners of Topfields and other PVRs that let you offload the files.

    Of course, they may have weird headers stuck on them, but that's not insurmountable - StreamClip handles some formats, and VLC skips over some too, allowing you too use it to create a plain TS.

    VideoRedo can also handle some TS files.

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