Beyonwiz DP-P1 review: Beyonwiz DP-P1

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Typical Price: $1,099.00
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Twin HD tuners. Ethernet connectivity. Plays DivX movies. Compatible with IceTV EPG. Sleek design.

The Bad Sluggish USB performance. Limited network functionality. File browser not user-friendly.

The Bottom Line The Beyonwiz DP-P1 is a decent high-definition digital recorder, but its good looks don't hide its limitations.

6.5 Overall

After taking the plunge and buying a high-definition TV, next you'll want to evaluate your options for getting high-definition content on that large-screen set. Movie buffs will probably go down the path of a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, such as a PlayStation 3 or a Toshiba HD-E1, but fans of free-to-air television will need to invest in a high-definition tuner to get the best picture possible -- assuming an HD tuner isn't already built-in (like on the 40-inch Samsung LCD we recently gave an Editors' Choice Award).

The Beyonwiz DP-P1 is not your average digital set-top box, however. Not least it combines two HD tuners and a hard drive that let you record two shows simultaneously in high-definition.

While the pricier Beyonwiz DP-S1 has a smoother finish (and a built-in DVD player), its little brother the DP-P1 is slightly smaller, lighter and more box-shaped. It has a sleek black design with blue LEDs illuminating the main control in the centre and a flip-down panel on the right for memory cards and USB devices. There's also a display on the front for status messages, channel information and recording indicators.

Beyonwiz covers almost all the A/V connections with the DP-P1 -- there's HDMI, optical and coaxial audio, composite, S-Video and component video. There's also a 5.1-channel output for analog audio. Sadly, though, there's no A/V input for recording from external sources like Foxtel or a camcorder.

Although it's a twin-tuner recorder, the DP-P1 only requires one antenna input, so you don't need another loop through cable sticking out of the back to route the reception back into the second tuner -- it's all handled internally.

The supplied 54-button remote control is black, but not backlit in any way for use at night. We much prefer the spacious, intuitive layout of Topfield's remote controls; the Beyonwiz one feels a little cramped.

The DP-P1 is first and foremost a digital video recorder, but while the DP-P1's 200GB hard drive sounds impressive, we couldn't find out exactly how much high-definition TV it can actually store. We assume this will vary depending on the type of program you're recording, but we managed to fill 10 percent of the hard drive with around 3.5 hours of shows, so we'd expect it could hold around 35 hours worth of programming all up.

Another trick Beyonwiz includes in the DP-P1's swag is the ability to play back movies, music and photos over a network, allowing you to view all the content you've amassed on your PC in your living room. Unfortunately the DP-P1 doesn't support Wi-Fi -- check out the Netgear EVA8000 or the Apple TV for examples of wireless streaming devices -- but a range of file formats can be played back over an Ethernet connection, including DivX (a favourite with the peer-to-peer file sharing crowd).

There are two USB 2.0 ports on the DP-P1 -- one at the front and one at the back -- the front one proving very useful for quick connections, such as plugging in an MP3 player, a memory key or a portable hard drive. Also at the front are memory card slots for SD, CompactFlash and Memory Stick -- handy for viewing photos from your digital camera on your TV.

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