Slim is most definitely in when it comes to the EchoStar HDT-610R, as this is the thinnest Freeview HD PVR that we've ever clapped eyes on. In fact, EchoStar says that it's the world's slimmest TV recorder, a claim that we don't doubt is true.
Taking the HDT-610R out of the box its slim dimensions make it really quite a striking machine to look at. Essentially, it's the Macbook Air of the PVR world, as it stands just 14.6mm tall, which is slimmer than a Blu-ray case. However, because the chassis is made out of metal it actually feels very robust. It's perhaps not as showy as it could have been, as the matt black finish is a tad understated, but its sheer slimness certainly makes it stand out from the crowd. To keep the chassis as slim as possible EchoStar has used an external power supply, but even this is relatively small and compact.
EchoStar has embossed its logo in silver on the top of the unit, while the left hand side of the front edge has the Freeview HD, HDMI and Dolby Digital logos. The middle is home to the IR receiver window while the right hand side has a single blue status LED to show when the unit is on or in standby, and next to this there's the power button.
Take a peek around the back and you'll be surprised by the number of ports EchoStar has managed to squeeze into the limited space available. There's both an RF input and output, so you can loop an aerial through to the unit's tuners and then back out to your TV's tuner.
Next to this there's a mini-jack plug for the optical out, but EchoStar also provides an adaptor in the box so you can use this port with a standard optical cable. Naturally there's HDMI output to feed pictures to your TV and an Ethernet port for connecting the PVR up to your home network to enable the smart TV features.
Sadly, the recorder doesn't have Wi-Fi, so going cable-free isn't an option. There are also two USB ports here as well as an IR input for an optional IR receiver. Unlike a lot of manufacturers, EchoStar provides both HDMI and Ethernet cables in the box to get you started, which is to be applauded.
Echoing the design of the main unit, the supplied remote control is also very slim. Thankfully it has full sized buttons that are responsive, but feel a little bit hard under your fingers. The layout is excellent though, with the buttons for the main features you're likely to use most often, such as the recordings library and EPG, all within easy reach. We also like that EchoStar has added extra buttons to the remote for controlling your TV, and you can program it to work with different makes and models using the codes found in the back of the manual.