- Review Price: £129.99
Goodmans has been thrust into the limelight recently thanks to the launch of its first Freesat receivers, but it’s worth remembering that the company has been offering subscription-free TV for years – albeit in the digital terrestrial realm. One of its latest Freeview products is the GHD2521F2, a twin-tuner PVR equipped with a 250GB hard-disk that can hold up to 120 hours of programmes, and crucially it’s Freeview Playback compliant, which means you get nifty features like series recording.
Despite the unit’s budget background, its design is surprisingly attractive. OK, the mirrored front panel is so five years ago, but it still provides the sort of pizzazz that you don’t normally get from this type of product. The sloping fascia is another nice touch, and Goodmans keeps it relatively uncluttered with only a few essential buttons adorning the front.
On the back you’ll find two SCART outputs, enabling you to hook it up simultaneously to a TV and an external recorder (in case you want to copy anything stored on the hard-disk). The TV SCART offers a choice of RGB or composite output, but the VCR socket only provides scruffy-looking composite, which could cause problems if your DVD recorder accepts RGB and you want the best-possible quality for your archived recordings.
From the outset it’s clear that the GHD2521F2 is designed with ease of use in mind. When you first boot up the unit, you’re greeted by an onscreen prompt asking you to check the aerial and input the correct aspect ratio of your TV. This is followed by an automatic channel scan, which finds and sorts the 88 TV and radio stations quickly and efficiently.
Once it’s finished you can rummage around in the setup menu to make those vital tweaks, and here we find another example of the unit’s user friendliness – the setup menu options are labelled using practical phrases like ‘Record a new program’ (”sic”) or ‘Play back a recorded program’. This helps less experienced users find the function they’re looking for without having to decode any confusing jargon. The menu is also laid out with an eye for simplicity, using a clear structure and large text within blue boxes that really stand out. Among the options on offer is the ability to change the EPG layout, change the menu colour scheme or select the appropriate video output (RGB or composite video).