The early price of digital recorders left most people clinging to their VCRs and praying for a pay rise. But, in only a few years, prices have plummeted and now it's not just DVD recorders that are stocking the budget shelves but hard disk recorders too.
The Goodmans GHD8015F is the first hard disk recorder we've seen that costs less than £100, the last bastion of budget pricing. It may not be a big-name brand and the design appears uninspiring, but the affordable price is guaranteed to attract entry-level buyers finally prepared to give up the VCR ghost.
For the same cost of a standard set-top box, the GHD8015F features an integrated 80GB hard drive recorder and dual digital tuners.
This means you can record up to 35 hours of Freeview programmes, which can be conveniently stored on the hard drive, offering easy access without spending a penny on software discs. The twin digital tuners mean you can watch one channel while you record another, although you won't be able to record two channels at the same time.
You can watch two channels simultaneously, however, using a picture-in-picture window system. You'll only hear sound from the main picture, but if you want to keep an eye on the scores or scan channels before a programme ends, it's a useful feature.
Other features include various time-shift functions, including pausing or rewinding live TV and a full seven-day electronic programme guide that lets you set recordings by simply highlighting the programme from a list.
As you would expect, connectivity is pretty standard, with only a pair of Scart terminals, and there's no support for a CI card slot, so TopUp TV subscribers will be left in the cold.
The GHD8015F is available now priced at just £99.99 -- expect a full review soon. -RA
Update: a full review of theis now live.