We’re also hugely impressed by the EPG, which is logically laid out and plays live TV in a box as you browse. Setting series link is effortless – just highlight a programme, press OK and a dialogue box asks if you want to record the series or just once.
Apart from a change of colour, the remote isn’t radically different to the PVR-9200T’s zapper, which is a very good thing – the basic button layout gives it a rare simplicity, and it helpfully hides the lesser-used keys under a sliding flap at the bottom.
In fact the only operational flaws we could find were minor ones – to enter the list of recorded programmes, you have to enter the setup menu rather than simply hitting a button on the remote. Also, when you select a recording to watch, it plays in a small box and you have to manually exit the menu to expand it to full screen, which seems more long winded than it should be.
The unit also gives you a great deal of control when timeshifting. You can pause and rewind live TV or play it back in slow motion, plus there’s an instant replay button that enable you to jump back and repeat the last few seconds, or jump forward using the Commercial Skip key.
The unit’s picture performance is fantastic and clearly benefits from the addition of an HDMI output. Cranked up to 720p, the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics looks crisp and clean, with little to no noise even with fast paced swimming and hockey action. What’s more, the bold reds and blues of the boxing ring are radiant, while the tightly contained edges help captions look sharp and legible.
Sound quality is also top-notch, particularly when aired through a decent AV receiver, though we should point out that the unit emits quite a loud whirring noise in operation, which can interfere with low volume listening.
The PVR-9300T fails in its bid to return to the top of the PVR premiership because its feature list is inferior to that of the Topfield TF5810PVRt, which adds a working USB port, a 500GB hard-disk and 1080i upscaling. But the Humax is still a fantastic PVR that’s head and shoulders above most models on the market, offering exemplary ease of use, superb pictures and a great deal of recording flexibility. Also impressive is the price, which is much lower than the Topfield and a lot less than you’d normally expect to pay for a PVR as good as this.