After LG blazed the trail for Freeview Playback TVs earlier this year with its critically acclaimed LT75 models, we really expected to see a glut of similarly featured ‘TV recorder combis’ burst through our doors.
But the expected stampede just didn’t happen. In fact, we can think of only one other Freeview Playback (recently rebranded as Freeview+) TV that’s come our way since the LGs, and that’s Humax’s slightly underwhelming LP40-TDR1.
Now at last, another TV brand is stepping into the Freeview Playback arena; namely JVC with its impressively affordable LT-32DE9BJ.
This sub-£550 LCD model combines a 32in LCD TV screen with a built-in 160GB HDD able to record programmes from the digital tuner while providing all the specifications required to earn the official Freeview Playback seal of approval.
For those of you not aware of what those specifications are, they go like this:
1. At least an 8-day Electronic Programme Guide.
2. Series Link support allowing one timer to record an entire series.
3. The facility to record split programmes such as movies interrupted by a news broadcast as if they were one programme.
4. The ability to offer to record related programmes.
5. The ability to spot and record an alternative showing of a broadcast if there is a time conflict.
6. The ability to update schedule changes even while a TV is in standby.
7. ‘Accurate recording’, whereby programmes are recorded based on data from a broadcaster rather than simple time settings.
Prior to today, JVC hasn’t had a particularly obvious heritage in the Freeview recording market, so I don’t mind admitting to a few nerves on the 32DE9BJ’s behalf. But after delving into the digital recording menus, I felt much better since there are some really striking similarities between the TV’s menus and those of Humax’s top-level external Freeview PVRs.
A little delving around confirms my hunch. Apparently, JVC has effectively stuck a Humax 9300T PVR into the 32DE9BJ – a pretty good choice if the almost universal critical acclaim afforded to its 9200 predecessor is anything to go by.
While we’re on the subject of the 32DE9BJ’s digital PVR capabilities, it’s worth adding that while the 160GB HDD size is the same as that found on LG’s Freeview Playback TVs, the JVC model gets one over on its Korean rival by enabling you to record two digital streams simultaneously. Excellent.
Please note, however, that you can only record digital channels on the built-in PVR. Sadly, stuff coming in from the AV inputs and even the analogue tuner is off limits.