“ Set Top Box - TVonics DTR-Z250 - 250GB Hard Disc Drive - Pause Live TV Function - Recording Time: 125 hours - Records 2 Channels at the same time - 8 Days Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) - Watch up to 30 free Digital Channels - Twin tuner - Scart Sockets „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Like most people, i prefer having a freeview box because its not a monthly subscription like Sky and it has quite a lot of good channels for the one off cost of the box. But like all the things the big brand names bring out, there is always a cheaper version made shortly afterwards for the people after a bargain. So here it is, the freeview equivilant of the Sky plus box!
Unlike the Sky plus box, this isnt a monthly subscription and from what i have heard from my friends, it has more memory aswell. Its a great little compact box (although it is a bit heavy) and is 7.0x18.5x23.0(H/W/D)cm. Its also quite a trendy looking little box and all my friends have commented on how expensive it looks, nothing like you would expect from a freeview box. My parents got me this for christmas from Comet and they are £150 but i am sure like most things you would get it slightly cheaper if you shopped around. However i do think thats a pretty good price for how good it is.
There isnt much setting up to do, just 2 plugs, 1 into the tv and one into that scart plug socket thing (the little circle hole for the signal) and then you can switch it on. It takes about 30 seconds to start up and then you can do a search for the channels which also doesnt take long. It comes with a remote and instructions, but annoyingly i still have to use my normal tv remote for some things and i found it easier to just play around with the remote to work out what everything does, as i dont think the instructions are brilliant.
When its switched on there is a little green light on, and when its recording there is a red light and when you are watching something back another green light comes on. The channel menu is accessed by pressing the button "EPG" and from this you can scroll through for the next 6 or 7 days to see whats on and set up and recordings. It does say you can see the next 8 days but its not very often, 6 or 7 days is the average. The record button is clearly marked and if there is something you want to record then you just find it in the menu and press record. If its a series, you are given the option to record the entire series by pressing the blue button. However this doesnt always work as i have found that i cant record any series links for things on the channel 4music.
It says that the hard drive is 250 GB, but for anyone like me who doesnt even know what that means, i currently have 90 hours worth of recordings, 21 hours set up in timers and 20 hours free left to record. Thats a whopping amount of things for such a tiny little box to hold alone without any additional memory cards or anything i think. You can also sort the library to show the programmes in alphabetical order, newest, and what you have and havent used which is ideal so you dont get disorganised. You can do this by looking at the bottom of the screen and using the coloured buttons to change it. Also there is a timers button which you can see what you have set up to record in the future and delete it if you have changed your mind. I always leave my box on but even if you turn it off it will still record. You can also pause live tv, record two programmes at once and there is also quite a lot of radio channels.
The only bad thing i can think of is that occasionally it freezes a bit and you have to switch it on and off for a minute, but i think thats because i have it on all the time. I really cant praise this enough, it is really easy to use and its great quality recording, it just looks like you are watching the programme live.
This box was bought as Christmas present last year and it is one of the best presents I've ever been given.
***************** The positives ******************
* You can record more than one channel at once.
* You can record up to 125 hours.
* You can pause live TV.
* The set top box looks a lot better than others on the market.
* You can plan your viewing via a electronic TV guide.
* Even if you switch the box off it will still record if you've programmed it to. * The remote control / box are very easy to use.
****************** The negatives *******************
* The electronic TV guide only allows you to look a few days ahead, I've never been able to see eight days ahead like the product claims.
* You can't 'series link' TV programmes to ensure that every episode is recorded.
* If you record the same programme a few times they aren't in chronological order on your 'recorded list' so it's difficult to know which episode came first.
* All recordings are kept in a big list, which can get disorganised at times.
* Although it works with a booster aerial, mobile phones interfere with it and make the picture jump.
******************* My opinion ******************
I have never had a set top recorder before and I have been very impressed with this item. I can' afford sky, so it's good to record TV programmes that I think I will enjoy and watch them at a later date.
I am a bit technology-phobic but I have found this product easy to get to grips with.
I like the look of the box and although there are negative aspects to the item I would certainly recommend it. If you buy this item you won't be disappointed!