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I bought this box for the intended purpose to record tv whilst i was away driving or doing other things so i could watch them at a later date and that's exactly what it allowed me to do.
The Recorder itself is a good looking, versatile box with lots of neat little features which can be accessed through the menu on the remote. Setup is quick, easy and is ready to go with both analogue and digital tuners picking up a good 100 or so channels between them (although the analogue one won't be of any use after the digital switchover). It worked seamlessly with the sky box allowing me to access the sky tv guide and select the programs i wanted to watch. It has a series link option which is really handy for anyone who wants to record a whole series as the recorder will automatically pick up each episode for you! In terms of dubbing quality you have a wide range of choice between very low quality to extremely high quality, although it's hard to fit more than one tv show onto a dvd at extremely high quality. It plays back dvds too so this can replace any existing dvd player you may own and has a 160gb hard drive to store all the recorded shows on.
I love the editing ability you have on the machine before you dub. It allows you to chop out all of the adverts within a minute or so and if there are little tail bits of adverts remaining afterwards you can do it frame by frame. You can delete any unwanted videos in a matter of seconds and the dubbing itself only takes about 10 minutes depending on the quality.You get so much control over what you can dub onto a dvd it's a great piece of kit to have in home.
The downsides are that if you lose the remote, your recorder becomes pretty much useless in terms of dubbing and editing. You can still manually record and play dvds but not much else.
If i could go back and purchase again the only thing i would change is the size of the hard drive. 160GB doesn't get you very far in this day and age. Personally i feel this is something much mroe worthwhile than a sky+ box as it is free to use minus the initial cost of course!
I purchased this DVD recorder when we moved into our new flat, as our Sky+ didn't work properly in the new property (we couldn't record one thing and watch something else) and I wanted something that I could transfer things from the Sky box on to, so I could watch them while the Sky was recording something else.
It was easy enough to set up with our television, although I feel that the picture quality on its Freeview and terrestrial channels is not particularly good and is quite fuzzy. This could be the aerial in our flat however so be aware of this. It has a fairly basic menu which is not the most user friendly I have ever seen and is quite ugly, however it does do the job well once you have figured out how to use it and records individual programmes to hard disk, and has a series link button which means that you will never miss an episode of a favourite series. This is a bonus for us as our Sky box can't be trusted to record programmes without going wrong or failing to change channels, so it's nice to have a backup on the DVD recorder, although we still try to use our Sky box where we can for recording due to the big difference in picture quality.
It was a bit of a fuss trying to transfer programmes from the Sky box to the DVD hard disk, I am not particularly technical and found it difficult to get my head around the set up, but with help from my husband we did finally work out how it was done and this has proved very useful.
Playback is excellent however and the picture quality of the DVDs that we have played is extremely good, crisp and clear with good colours.
Overall not a bad product although it could be better as it wasn't the cheapest on the market, it could do with being more user friendly with easier to follow instructions for synching with other products and the picture quality is quite poor (assuming it's not our aerial).
I bought this product after the digital switchover. We already have digital built in to our TV but I wanted to be able to watch one digital channel whilst recording another so buying this separate box enabled me to do this as I can watch one channel using the digital built in the TV, and recording the other using the digital in this recorder.
It has a 120 GB hard disc drive (HDD) and up to 340 hours of recording time. The picture quality is excellent and the external appearance of the box is sleek and not too bulky.
I decided to buy this particular recorder as I have always found that Sony products are good quality and reliable. It has both a HDD and a DVD recorder. I tend to record straight to the hard drive and then transfer to a DVD if I wish to keep the recording, but you can record straight onto a DVD if you prefer.
It is very easy to use and a blue light shows when using the hard drive and an orange light when using the DVD. It is also very easy to set up recordings and the best thing about it is the fact that I can record whole series with only one set-up, so it records my favourite soaps every day without the need to re-programme it!
There is the facility to pause and rewind live TV, although I have never used this function. What I do find handy is that I can start to playback a programme whilst it is recording, so this is great when you have missed the beginning of the programme, so you can simply watch it 5 or 10 minutes behind the rest of the nation, but you can skip through the adverts! Another thing I find useful is that I can watch a programme on either the HDD or the DVD whilst recording another.
The only disadvantage I can think of is the fact that it is a little noisy, but this isn't a problem as you do get used to it.
Sony RDR HXD790 DVD Recorder......
We have had this DVD recorder for nearly a year now so I thought I now know the machine well enough to give a fairly helpful review and easily explain the most used features that the box has to offer so hopefully this review will contain everything you need to know if considering buying this Sony DVD Recorder with a built in Freeview system.
Yet again this was another purchase from Argos and the main reason for buying it was that we already had one Freeview recorder and now felt we wanted another one for a different room. It wasn't until I was browsing the pages of the Argos Catalogue that I realised that you could buy these recordable Freview boxes with a built in DVD player as well. This is something that I felt we must get seeing as the DVD player that we had currently was very outdated and also very temperamental in it's running. Himself just went along with my crazy spending spree once again and raises an eyebrow at my pleas of "we really need it" and "it makes sense to buy it now".
The cost of the box wasn't cheap at around the £250 region but my thinking was that you are really getting two machines in one and although these two in one machines can more often than not have a higher chance to go wrong, with the Sony name on things, I felt that it was going to be of a very good quality as Sony is a brand that I am rather trusting of. The box design also looked very smart and with a practically all black finish it looked modern and high tech and still does today (although it attracts dust like no one's business).
Ok so once we got the box home it was me who wanted to put it together while Himself waited to pick up the pieces browsing through the instruction manual as I ploughed in with sticking leads in here there and everywhere. It seemed far more complicated than most items I have installed before and there seemed to be far too many sockets for different wires to go in and in the end I did have to refer to the "Quick Instillation Guide". This was only two pages long and gives pictures of the box and how best to set it up for your needs. However this I still didn't find to be overly clear and the short explanations next to each socket really didn't seem to make sense. It guided us in the right way but I felt using this quick guide didn't make the instillation as quick and easy as it should have been.
Once I had gotten all the leads into the correct sockets I switched the DVD recorder on and the set up began instantly and I had to confirm a few options before the machine automatically searched for the channels on the Freeview box side of things. This was a quick and easy process that only took around 10 minutes from start to finish and worked well at retrieving all the available channels that we normally get. Then that was is the machine was all set up and in place ready to be used.
The quality of the picture when shown through this Sony Freeview player is a great standard and with HDMI output and 1080p up scaling to maximise the picture quality even on larger screens and this is really shown as the picture is clear and fuzz free on every channel and the DVD player and recorder too. Even on the playback of recorded items the quality of the picture is top notch and we couldn't ask for more. The built in Freeview player offers all the features that you would expect with the programme guide offering 7 days of TV listings on the "Guide" screen which is easily manoeuvred around allowing you to select items to record when they are on or indeed highlight them to be set as reminders. Both of these options are done at the mere click of a single button which is simple and easy to remember.
There is a 120GB hard drive that is built into the DVD recorder and this holds a nice 340 hours of recordings from the TV on to the box itself. This in my opinion is plenty as I like to record things watch them and delete them straight after. Himself on the other hand records all his programmes, watches them and then decides to leave them on the hard drive clogging up space and waiting for me to delete them which is annoying. Even more so because the deleting process is just as simple as the recording with only a right click and then two downward movements to select the delete option. A good thing with this machine is that when the box is deleting something it literally takes a second to do. We own another Freeview recorder and this takes ages to delete the selected item and if you have recorded and then deleted a film you should expect to wait a good 5 minutes whilst it deletes it and then expect the possibility that it will crash. Luckily we have never had a problem with this Sony DVD recorder crashing during deleting.
Basically we have never had a problem with this at all whether it is crashing of the system, record failure or Freeview problems. The entire time we have had it there have been no problems in the slightest. It has been used every single day as it is situated in the sitting room so takes a good bit of use and still runs just as smoothly as the day we first bought it.
There are other special features that this Sony box has that are meant to make it far more appealing that your standard less expensive models. The fact that you are able to save up to 999 of your favourite songs onto the hard drive is one of them and this Digital Jukebox is easy to use and a fairly good idea. There is also an option with the box that you can add a digital photo album on to the hard drive too allowing you to view, edit and store the pictures before burning them to a DVD ready for use elsewhere. I haven't used this option really as I find that I would much prefer to keep doing things like that on my lap top as I know what I am doing and I don't feel the need to confuse myself. However it is nice to have to added option to use the DVD recorder as this and good to know that if my lap top and PC broke down I would always have an alternative!
The menu screen that this DVD recorder has is a very good lay out and it makes it simple to guide you through all the various picture and sound options that are available for you to choose you preferred modes. There are not too many options that it makes it confusing but there is a good amount that makes you feel it is a rather high tech piece of equipment that is going to offer you a wide range of variety and work well for most people.
I have however used the DVD recorder and this was simple and worked very well. I was able to set up my Video camera to play on the TV and at the same time I was able to set this Sony DVD recorder to record from the TV which was playing the video recorders images. This was so easy to do and a great way to watch your footage and at the same time burn it to a disk. The whole DVD recording is good and I have also often recorded a film on TV and then sent it to burn onto a DVD to watch over and over again later (or in most cases never to watch again but to sit n the shelf in hope!). This is a very good thing to have available to you and I would recommend that everyone have a machine which does this in their home as it is extremely useful and easy! There are a fair few recording formats to use and that work with the box itself and you are able to use all these:
-R (Video)/-R (VR)/+R/-RW/+RW/-R Video Dual Layer/+R Double layer. To be honest this really doesn't mean much to me but I guess a few people who know a bit more about the technical side of things will know what it all means.
The DVD recorder has different sockets for scart leads and the like but it doesn't really have a great amount of these. There are a lot of sockets that I am not overly sure what they d but the specifications on the whole machine will give a clearer idea if indeed it has all the connections that you personally need. There are two scart sockets located at the back of the box and there are a couple of audio attachment sockets at the front and back. The front sockets are covered by a hidden panel which makes for a better look of the box. Also under the hidden panel are the usual buttons where you can operate the machine without the use of the remote control. There are only a few buttons but they are of course the most used ones and the most helpful ones to have positioned there.
There is also the option of pausing the live TV which is very handy especially when you need to pop to the toilet. It does however start to record the programme you are watching compared to the other box we have which literally freezes the screen like a pause until you come back and press play. However this Sony box saves the paused TV onto the hard drive ready for you to continue watching but you will then have to delete it from the menu after you have finished watching it.
Another added bonus for choosing this box over others is that just as my new TV is this Sony DVD recorder runs on minimal energy and especially when in the stand by mode will only run at a 0.75 watt usage which is far better than a lot of the older DVD or Freeview players.
The remote control that accompanies this DVD recorder works really well and has a good amount of buttons that all seem to have relevant jobs to do and use pretty much all of the buttons. It came with two AA batteries and these are still in use now so you can tell that it doesn't really use much power in the battery department. The buttons of the remote are all labelled in a manner which means they are easy to use and easy to know what they actually do, unlike a lot of remote controls. The positioning of the buttons are set to a pretty standard rule as most are in the place where you would normally find them on other remote controls.
The instruction manual that came with this Sony DVD Recorder was alike a novel and super chunky. Himself didn't even get through the whole book before getting confused and fed up with it. I have only skimmed through the book and seen the usual helpful section on troubleshooting. I will always keep the instruction manual for everything even if I never really refer to it at least I know it is there when and if I need it. The only thing with this manual though is that it seems far too complicated and confusing for my liking and Himself didn't even give me the usual run down on things and it appeared he too was flummoxed by the manual. Overall I don't think this is a particularly good set of instructions and I believe that I have the right idea by staying well away from them. Plus really once the box is up and running it is all fairly straight forward and self explanatory.
There are a couple of draw back so far as I can see when purchasing this box and one is the fact that although it claims you can watch a different channel whilst recording another I don't really think you can. Himself and I have tried at various different cable connections to be able to set this up but seeing as the instructions are really unclear we have yet not worked it out. Luckily now we have a TV with a built in Freeview player we are able to switch the source from which we are getting the TV reception and thus can have the Freeview recording via this box and watch another channel via the TVs Freeview. This is not ideal and considering how much the DVD recorder cost us I would have thought they would have been able to add in an extra tuner in the box which allows for dual recording easily. We have a much cheaper box that is kept in the kitchen that can record two different channels at once and still watch a different third channel too. So I would say this is one down side to owning this box.
Another downside would be that when the box has been set up to record something that you are indeed prepared to watch at the same time, take for example Jack watching and recording Peppa Pig in the mornings. One minute the box will turn itself over ready to record the specified channel and it will also automatically begin to record and then once the programme has ended the box will stop recording but then decide to turn itself off! This is most annoying and no matter what options I have changed on the menu screen this still occurs and drives me mad. I will often be sorting out the washing while Jack is watching Dinosaur King which is always recorded too as it is one programme he loves and suddenly I hear screams! The box has turned itself off!!!! Okay so the programme had finished but to complete turn the box off is a little bit extreme and again this is not something that my much cheaper Freeview recorder does and I wouldn't have really expected this expensive model to do something so silly.
So basically here are really only 2 draw backs to think about when purchasing this DVD/Freeview Recorder from Sony. They are not overly major problems as we seem to have overcome one of them with ease and the other we are learning to live with. On the whole though I would say this DVD recorder is a good one. It is pretty simple to use on a daily basis and appears to be worth the money although I would hope that you could now get it for a considerably cheaper price than we paid for it a year ago.
I thought I would add a list of all the proper specifications so if you are interested in a actually purchasing this item you can have the full and correct list of what this Sony DVD Recorder has to offer.
* With integrated digital and analogue tuner.
* 340 hours of recording time.
* Dolby digital.
* Dual layer.
* Playback compatibility: DVD +R/+RW, DVD-R?RW, DVD+R Double layer, DVD-RAM, MP3, JPEG, DivX.
* DivX playback.
* Photo playback.
* Recording compatibility: DVD+R/+RW/+R(DL), DVD-R/RW/-R(DL).
* Built in digital tuner.
* Electronic programme guide supports 8 days.
* Pause live TV.
* Series recording.
* High speed dubbing (HDD to DVD and DVD to HDD).
* HDMI socket (with CEC).
* 1080p upscale.
* 2 scart sockets.
* Freeview playback approved.
* Remote control requires 2 x AA batteries (included).
* Additional features simultaneous record & playback and intelligent chaptering, dubbing from HDD-cam,
* x-Pict story & BRAVIA sync.
* Size: (H)7.65, (W)43, (D)28.8cm.
* Weight: 4.7kg.
I think that this Sony DVD recorder with a built in Freeview was a good buy for us and is still going strong. There are a few downsides and perhaps if I was able to change this box now I might have a look to see if Sony had indeed upgraded this box and changed a few of the settings that I had a problem with. Overall though I find Sony do make for a good brand and offer a good quality product and a fair price. This has everything we could really want for in a DVD recorder and really cuts down having an extra box in the front room as it is in theory a two in one machine.
I think a rating of 4 out of 5 stars is what I will be awarding this product and really the minus mark being for the two small problems that I mentioned earlier. I do think I would recommend this product although I would certainly hunt around for a similar product without the couple of problems.
Check out the product on the Sony website at:
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.