There are some other new features on board that make it even easier to record your favourite programmes. These include trailer recording, which lets you set the timer for a forthcoming programme as its trailer is being shown, plus recommendation technology that allows broadcasters to make suggestions based on what you’ve already recorded.
For the former, a green symbol appears onscreen during the trailer prompting you to hit the green button and select the programme you want to record. The latter feature appears in a menu at the bottom of the screen when you try to record a programme containing the relevant flag. The unit will also tell you if an SD programme you’re recording is being shown in HD.
Recordings are stored in the Library - a basic list showing the name, date, duration and a tick symbol indicating which recordings have been viewed, but thumbnails would have been nice. You can sort, delete or arrange playlists from here. The 500GB capacity holds up to 70 hours of HD recordings or around 255 hours of SD ones.
It’s pleasing to see that the onscreen ‘Info’ banner allows you to browse the next few days’ worth of programmes on any channel without you having to enter the full EPG. On the downside, details about each programme are fairly limited – there’s no info about the audio format or whether it’s native HD or not, which would have been useful.
Other features include picture-in-picture, audio description, subtitles, pause and rewind live TV, while the USB port on the side allows you to plug in a camera, card reader or flash drive and view JPEG photos. MP3 and DivX playback would have been handy but their absence isn’t a deal breaker.
TVonics’ predilection for simplicity means the remote is easy to use, with large rubbery buttons, while the gloss-black finish is fetching. The various inputs can be selected using dedicated buttons along the top while the placement of the menu control and playback keys is ideal. Our only gripe is that some of the important keys for calling up the Library and Guide are far too small.