This receiver is designed for DirecTV, the best satellite service in the United States. It currently leads broadcasting technology.
It includes Tivo, which allows you to pause and rewind live TV as well as recording two TV shows at the same time or recording one while watching another. Tivo is very intelligent, with a feature that recommends programmes that you might like based on those that you record. The integration saves you from having to buy two different boxes and keeps the two functions nicely integrated.
The Sony menu system is one of the most intuitive on any DVR and the 350GB provided hard drive space is enough for a number of series. The box itself is quite contemporary and will fit in with most living-room layouts.
It's difficult to go wrong with this box, as it's endorsed by DirecTV, but it does not support new HD technology. If you have an HDTV or you want to future-proof yourself, go with a newer box. If you currently have no plans for HD or you want to have a box for a TV that is not your main set, this box from trusted brand Sony is recommended.
I have heard reports that some of these boxes experience problems with the internal modem failing, which is required to update Tivo listings.
Nevertheless, this must be for the minority of users and, as the box is now several years old, you should be able to pick it up at a bargain price.
Even with a large satellite dish, however, it is not possible to pick up US signals in Europe, so don't buy this box unless you live in the States. I can recommend Sky+HD for UK customers, which is the best HD service in Europe at the moment and another world leader in broadcasting technology.