TVonics dinky MDR-240 is an impressive Freeview receiver, but now we’ve got the chance to see how well that quality holds up when they chuck hard-disk recording into the mix. As the name suggests, the DTR-HV250 comes equipped with a sizeable 250GB hard-disk, which equates to around 125 hours of recordings, and like all products from the TVonics stable ease-of-use is a top priority.
A hands-on inspection reveals the DTR-HV250 to be an exceptionally well-made piece of kit. This is not a lightweight and plasticky box like the MDR-240 – this time the casing has been fashioned from sturdy metal and is reassuringly heavy as a result. Aesthetically the unit is very interesting, taking its cue from previous TVonics PVRs like the DTR-Z250. It’s always good to see a company trying something a little bit different, and here the curved sides, glossy black finish and compact dimensions (just 185mm wide) create a distinctive looking unit, the likes of which are all too rare in the PVR market.
TVonics has introduced an excellent LED display that shows the full name of the current channel, plus the programme name scrolls across when you first turn over. On the right is one of two USB ports, which allow you to connect card readers and flash drives and view JPEG photos on your TV, as well as upload software updates downloaded from the TVonics website.
The rear panel is equally impressive. This is the first TVonics product with an HDMI output, which sends 576i/p, 720p and 1080i video to your TV (selectable in the setup menu). But even more pleasing is the inclusion of two HDMI v1.3a inputs, turning this receiver into a smart little HDMI switchbox for those with only one input on their TV. These will pass through 1080/24p and HD audio signals too, so your Blu-ray player is in safe hands, but the pass-through function doesn’t work when the unit is in standby. These HDMI ports are joined by an RGB-capable SCART output, optical digital audio output, RF in/out sockets and the second USB port.
The inclusion of twin tuners means you can record one channel and watch another, or record two programmes at the same time. When recording two programmes you can’t watch a third as you can on some PVRs, which you might find restrictive – the programme change keys simply flip between the two channels being recorded.