Just a few other features to round up – you can pause and rewind live TV with a buffer memory that can be set between 10 minutes and 2 hours, access digital text, subtitles and audio description, plus there’s a useful picture-in-picture mode that lets you keep an eye on two channels at the same time. You can move the box to any corner of the screen or swap it with the main picture. Overall the DTR-HV250 offers a wonderful array of functionality that won’t fail to impress those with even the most demanding recording requirements.
Performance-wise the DTR-HV250 posed no problems whatsoever. It tuned in the 63 TV, 23 radio and 11 data channels in under a minute and provided consistently robust picture quality (even when the weather took a turn for the worse). What’s more, channels change instantaneously, digital text loads up in the blink of an eye and pause live TV works flawlessly. And because the unit tracks start and end times provided by the broadcasters, it never truncated any recordings during the test.
Freeview channels look as good as they possibly can, and the use of an HDMI port and 1080i upscaling gives the image a crisp, punchy look. You can’t escape the inherent block noise that plagues areas of intense, moving detail (the X-Factor winner’s ticker tape celebrations are a shimmering mess) but we haven’t seen a Freeview product yet that tames this completely. Recordings play back from the hard-disk without a hitch too, and look identical to live broadcasts. Sonically, speech is clear and audible, and the ability to output the sound digitally is a real bonus if you own a good quality sound system.
The DTR-HV250 is a class act through and through. The combination of rock-solid build quality, generous features, glitch-free pictures and a straightforward operating system makes it the perfect PVR for newcomers and old hands alike. It’s also exceptionally good value for money, especially when you consider that you’re also getting a decent HDMI switcher into the bargain. In fact it’s so good it even gives the Humax PVR-9300T a run for its money, and that really is saying something.