Philips HDT8520 Review - EPG and Operation Review


There’s also an attractive, colourful eight-day EPG, which shows eight channels at a time and scrolls titles that are too long to fit into a programme ‘block’. The colour-coded keys at the bottom let you move around the grid quickly – including a novel feature that jumps to six o’clock in the evening on any given day – plus the EPG makes it very simple to record programmes or change to a certain channel (just hit Record or OK respectively). Unlike some EPGs, you can’t continue watching live TV as you browse but that’s its only real shortcoming.

The unit’s Freeview+HD badge means it also features series link, which is activated from a dialogue box that pops up when you select something to record from the EPG. There’s no sign of the trailer recording or recommendation technology found on the TVonics though.

All of the onscreen menus and dialogue boxes are clear and written in plain English, helping you resolve schedule conflicts and manage channel lists easily. Particularly helpful is the Record Management box that appears in the bottom left corner of the screen when you hit record – it shows you which channels are being recorded and gives you the chance to stop it or add a 10min buffer to the end.

The onscreen programme info banner lacks the same flexibility as other Freeview HD boxes, such as the TVonics DTR-HD500. You can surf through every channel using the up and down keys, but for each one it only shows you what’s on now and next (plus how long there is until the next programme starts). Hit the Info button again and a synopsis of the programme appears, but if you want to browse any further than the next programme you’ll need to enter the full EPG.

The recording library is a smart, functional menu that lets you find recordings with ease. It’s accessed using an inconspicuous button on the remote, and comprises a basic list down the left of the screen and a thumbnail on the right with all the details about the recording. Multiple recordings of the same programme, including series linked recordings, are grouped together in a folder to prevent clutter. You can sort, protect and lock each programme, but there are no editing tools. When you select a recording that you’ve partially watched before, the unit asks if you want to resume playback.

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