Plenty of designers fall back on tried and tested designs, and that's exactly what TViX has done with the R-3300 PVR box. Put it next to thewe reviewed early last year, and we'd swear that you'd have a tough time picking the two apart. The only problem with relying on an existing design comes when the design you're falling back on was unremarkable and plain in the first place. That's exactly the trap that the R-3300 falls into. It's a plain black box with a simple LED display flanked by a circular array of buttons that annoyingly flash whenever any key or remote button is pressed. In a darkened environment — like, say a home TV viewing room, exactly where the R-3300 is meant to be placed — that's rather annoying.
The R-3300's remote control belongs to the same school of few cosmetic changes, and just like last year's model, we can't fault its basic design, but we can't get excited by it either.
The R-3300 is a combined digital PVR and media streaming unit. On the PVR front, it uses the freely broadcast EPG information supplied by each channel to form its guide. Media streaming is via NFS shares on a compatible PC, and a client application called NetShare is provided with the unit. Video file format support is reasonable with compatibility offered for .mpg, .mpeg, .avi, .divx, .vob, .tp, .ts, .trp, .dat, .iso, .ifo and .m2t files, but critically H.264 and MKV files are not supported. It's also somewhat disappointing that a system that sells itself as an "HD" PVR and tops its video output at 1080i.
Connections on the rear of the R-3300 include HDMI, component, composite and S-Video output, as well as coaxial and optical audio out. Wired networking is provided via a 10/100 Ethernet port, and there's also a video-in function through an S-Video port if you wanted to use the R-3300 to record other video sources.