Until recently, the PVR box as a concept seemed to be dwindling away into nothing. The ever-increasing abilities of Smart TVs and integration of streaming services into consoles mean that fewer people really need a separate box to catch-up on TV. However, last year YouView launched, and gave the humble PVR a shot in the arm.
The Pure Avalon 300R is Pure’s take on the YouView idea – a good-looking PVR with a snazzy interface, albeit one that has a way to go to reach its full potential.
The Pure Avalon 300R is a particularly attractive PVR. Its design is pleasantly simple, because there’s so little going on in its front fascia – just a power button, Pure logo and a covered USB slot clutter the glossy black front fascia.
It’s as simple to use as it looks, too. Among our favourite features is the four-port HDMI switch. They let the Avalon 300R act as the brain of your TV setup. Just keep your TV switched to whatever channel the PVR is hooked up to and you can switch through to any other attached device – games console, Blu-ray player, whatever – with a press of a button on the Pure Avalon 300R’s remote control. As HDMI is digital, there’s no loss of quality either. It’s very handy if you don’t already have a home cinema receiver for this.
Another tick in the pros column of the Pure Avalon 300R is that it incorporates Wi-Fi. A depressing number of fairly expensive home cinema boxes with streaming functionality do not include Wi-Fi (YouView included), and it’s a major pain when some Wi-Fi dongles are painfully expensive.
This integration of features makes the Pure Avalon 300R super-easy to use. It’s what the box is all about, really – accessibility. The setup process is fairly quick too, only slowed by the unavoidably laborious process of having to input a password with a remote control.
If you’re not a home cinema newcomer and have a fair bit of, for example, home cinema audio kit to hook up, the Pure Avalon 300R has phono, coaxial and optical audio outputs.
In another nod to the hardcore user, there are two USB ports, which let you plug-in thumb drives packed full of audio files or videos. It supports lossless audio FLAC and downloader’s favourite MKV video too.
However, it’s the internal hard drive, which comes in 500GB or 1TB capacities, that is there to record from the integrated Freeview tuners. There are two of them, enabling dual-recording, recording while watching another programme and picture-in-picture.