TVonics DTR-Z500: Sturdy, stylish, shields from zombies
Zombie attacks are all too common these days, so if you're looking for something that can protect you from flesh-eating monsters and record EastEnders, we have the brick for you
The TVonics DTR-Z500 is the latest in a range of set-top boxes from the Welsh company famous for its unusual styling. Like the other PVRs and receivers TVonics has produced, this is certainly an interesting-looking box. It's solid too -- we'd rate it at around 8 out of 10 on our scale of devices you could use to ward off a zombie.
Of course, using it to stove in the heads of the undead would be a waste, because this is an incredibly capable PVR. The built-in 500GB hard drive should enable you to store a fair-sized heap of TV shows.
Like most PVRs, the TVonics has two tuners, which allows you to record two channels at once, or watch one and record another. It's also Freeview+ certified, so you get more advanced features too. For example, if you have a scheduling conflict -- where you're trying to record too many shows at once -- the box is able to find a repeat of a show at a different time and record that instead. You also get the flexibility of 'accurate recording', which, when enabled by the broadcaster, allows the box to adjust the timer if a show overruns.
You also get an eight-day programme guide, for scheduling shows in advance. The much-loved series link is also present, enabling you to record every instance of a TV show at the touch of a button. A word of warning: series-linking Friends on E4 will result in the generous 500GB hard drive being filled up within a matter of seconds.
The only things we don't like about it are the lack of HDMI, for better picture quality, and the relatively high price. At around £200, it's not outrageous, however, especially considering the more than generous built-in storage.
Update: An earlier version of this story suggested that the DTR-Z500 could send its digital signal via the RF output, which apparently it can't. This does not affect its ability to ward off zombies.