That, however, is where the good news ends. Picture quality is no more than average. Flicking between the integrated tuner in my HD Samsung 42in plasma, my Panasonic Sky receiver and the Tvonics box revealed a distinct disparity in quality. Pictures were more grainy and colours a little over-saturated, though to be fair, it’s not something most people would notice straight away.
A bigger flaw, however, is the lack of dual record facility. The 160GB Top Up TV box I reviewed earlier in the year had this feature, as do Sky's HD and Sky+ boxes, allowing you to schedule programmes to record simultaneously. This is odd, since it has twin tuners and should be able to perform this function.
Other shortcomings include a relatively short, eight-day programme guide – the Top Up TV box had 14 days. The jumbo-sized green graphics that make up the electronic programme guide, apart from being more than a little garish, are also a bit too big, which means that programme titles are rarely displayed in full. Instead you get “Alistair Campbell's...” or “Wimbledon...” or “In the...” and there's a lot of flicking back and forth to the Info screen. There's also no series link feature at the moment either, though this has been promised in the near future in an over-the-air update; worth checking before you buy.
In short, the Tvonics DVR-250 is a high capacity, well-designed PVR that's generally easy to use but one that is far from perfect.
It does not allow you to record two things at once, has just an eight day programme guide and picture quality is only average. The price tag of £220 is reasonable for a PVR of this storage capacity, but alas this really isn't enough to overcome its shortcomings.