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Tvonics DVR-250 - Freeview Playback Box
The day of using VHS tapes for movie playback may be long gone, but there's still many a video deck going strong in households across the country, used for recording episodes of Corrie, Emmerdale and Eastenders. Despite the advent of recordable DVD, they've never seemed to really take off in the same way that VHS did all those years ago.
Perhaps with the arrival of the hard disk-based PVR (personal video recorder) and widespread adoption of digital TV, the humble video recorder will finally die a death. They're certainly becoming more widespread. All the major media companies now offer some sort of hard disk-based recorder with their services, and the number of Freeview boxes in the shops is mushrooming.
The latest to hit the TrustedReviews office is from Welsh firm Tvonics, a company specialising in selling homegrown Freeview equipment, whose products are manufactured for them by Sony in the UK.
The DVR-250 is the first Freeview box I've seen to bear the Freeview Playback logo. This is a marketing campaign aimed at making hard disk set top boxes more accessible and easy-to-understand for the general public, in much the way that Sky did with Sky+.
But apart from the logo, there doesn't appear to be anything different between this and other, Freeview PVRs I've seen. It allows you to record programmes directly from its electronic progamme guide (EPG). You can pause and rewind live TV then forward wind it later. Its twin tuner allows you to watch one programme while recording another. You can use it to 'instant' record the channel you're currently watching, and there's also a timer mode, for those occasions when you don't want to record a whole scheduled programme.
Where it does differ from most is in its capacity. Pop down to your local electronics retailer and the most common storage size you'll see is 80GB, with perhaps one or two 160GB boxes in addition. This one has a whopping 250GB hard disk and is capable of storing up to 125 hours of TV – enough for recording and storing Ben Hur in its entirety 35 times over. If that's what tickles your fancy...