When you first pick up the Digital Vision GiGo Freeview receiver, you'll almost certainly have the same reaction as us. Namely, this thing feels like it's made out of cardboard. This is not a sturdy device: it's what we'd say the exact opposite of an Apple product feels like. The whole thing reeks of cost-cutting, right down to the fact that Digital Vision has only used one screw to keep the whole thing together. The remote control has a whiff of the budget about it too -- it's the size of a family car and hardly the most attractive thing we've ever seen.
So you could be forgiven for thinking that we're not that impressed with the GiGo, but you'd be quite wrong, because it really is quite a clever idea. At the most basic level, this is a fairly standard Freeview receiver with Scart sockets to connect to your TV. It would suit someone who wanted to get an old CRT converted to digital, for instance. At around £70, it's a little expensive for just that purpose, but the GiGo has another trick up its sleeve -- it can record Freeview programmes to USB storage.
You'll notice that on the front there are three USB sockets and it's to these that the GiGo records your TV shows. The machine is, in every way, a fully featured Freeview PVR. The episode guide looks as competent as any we've seen, and recording a programme is as easy as selecting it and choosing which USB drive you want to record to. The GiGo makes it all very easy, explaining how much storage you've got on each memory card. We're also told that when the machine goes on sale, it will be Freeview+ certified, meaning it will have more advanced features such as series link.
It's just possible that Digital Vision has hit the nail on the head here. As much as we like, and the like, there isn't a single online service and sometimes the show you want isn't available. With the GiGo all you need to do is record what you want to see to USB, then you can put it on your laptop or portable device and take it with you. With USB memory costing virtually nothing these days --16GB is about £16 -- it's a quick and simple way to record TV.
What's more, you can keep the recordings stored on a PC and over time build up a decent library of recorded TV shows. You could argue this is of dubious legality, but let's be honest, it's no different to using a DVD recorder to keep copies of things for all eternity. Of course, if you sell your recordings on street corners or in pubs, you deserve a swift wrist-slapping.
A full review will be online soon, but for now, we're going to start archiving Jeremy Kyle shows with a view to starting a Jeremy Kyle channel sometime in 2045.