The TU-T2HR32 is the PVR version of the TU-T2 Freeview HD receiver we reviewed back in June. As such, it looks to bring you all the same free HD telly goodness but with the added bonus of being able to record those hi-def programmes and watch them whenever you like. In all honesty, we weren’t particularly enamoured by the TU-T2 due to its lack of features and below-par pictures, but here’s hoping the addition of hard-disk recording will see it go up in our estimation.
From the outside, there’s virtually no difference between the two units, except that the PVR’s casing is slightly larger to accommodate those extra electronics. The impenetrable black finish and panel of blue lights on the front panel makes it seem suitably jazzy and modern, plus there are no buttons on the front to clutter it up. All in all a good-looking design, although it’s not in the same league as the TVonics DTR-HD500.
Rear panel connectivity is comprehensive. Alongside the all-important HDMI output are two Scart outputs, which allow you to connect to a TV and recorder simultaneously (if you’re still not on board with the whole HDMI thing). Surprisingly you get both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, which is useful if your receiver only sports one or the other, while the Ethernet port makes it ready for future IPTV services. Disappointingly the USB port on the back is only used for making software updates but not for digital media playback, handing rival PVRs from TVonics and Humax a slight advantage in that respect. Completing the line-up are RS-232 and aerial in/loopthrough ports.
On the inside, the TU-T2HR32 features a 320GB hard disk, some 180GB less capacious than Humax, Philips and TVonics’ recorders – and at around the same price (in some cases higher) that hardly constitutes great value. You can still squeeze around 80 hours of HD recordings onto that though, which you’d have to be a serious couch potato to fill up quickly.
The presence of two DVB-T2 tuners allows you to record one channel while watching another, but unlike the Philips HDT8520 when recording two channels you can’t watch a third. Try to do so and a dialogue box spells out the solutions in clear, practical English – cancel the channel change, stop either of the recordings or watch one of them from the start. These friendly, well-worded onscreen descriptions permeate the entire operating system and make the unit a real joy to use, particularly for PVR newcomers.