It seems that even those of us who hate football have something to thank it for -- namely, giving Freeview HD a leg up. Nearly all of the marketing around HD on Freeview relies on the World Cup taking place this year. Hardware manufacturers are hoping that this tournament will encourage uptake of Freeview HD in the same way that the last World Cup was a massive driver for sales of flat-panel TVs.
Toshiba seems to be more proactive about supporting the new HD service than most, announcing both, and now the HDR5010 PVR, which will let you record any fixtures you might have missed.
The HDR5010 is a 500GB PVR. Toshiba says it provides enough storage to record 120 hours of high-definition footage. You'll get access to all the usual Freeview channels, as well as those in HD from the BBC and ITV. By the time this product actually hits the shelves, we'll also have Channel 4 in HD on the service too, which means that, if football isn't your bag, you'll be able to enjoy the antics of the sexually hyperactive teenagers in Skins in glorious 1080i instead.
As an added bonus, the PVR has three HDMI sockets. The idea is that, while one connects to your TV in the way you'd expect, the other two act as a switch. This means that, if you're running short of HDMI sockets on your TV, you can use this box to connect a Blu-ray player, Sky+HD box or games console without using up valuable telly sockets. This feature is far from essential, but it's a good bonus if you're buying the box anyway, and can help reduce clutter behind your TV.
A USB socket is designed to support playback of MP3 and JPEG files, as well as certain video codecs. Toshiba seems to be supporting DivX across its range now, but MKV support seems more elusive. Don't expect this box to replace your media streamer, but, if you want a hassle-free way to enjoy photos and videos you've made yourself, this capability will be handy.
The bad news is that the HDR5010 isn't especially cheap, at £350. Still, you've got plenty of time to start saving, as it's unlikely to arrive much before the end of May.