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Philips DVDR5520H: Records TV, performs miracles

The new Philips DVDR5520H makes some outrageous claims on the box, but even so, we like that offers the flexibility to record oodles of TV and burn it to DVD later

We love Freeview's marvellous combination of choice and freeness, but even your old gran can see its picture quality is a long, long way from high definition. So when the Philips DVDR5520H arrived at Crave in a box emblazoned with the phrase, "Watch Freeview in 1080p HD quality", we expected its next trick to be turning on the tap and putting Oddbins out of business.

Aside from making the whole of Grimsby redundant by producing fish from thin air, the DVDR5520 does have some fantastic features. It's got a 160GB hard drive for recording your favourite TV shows, and you get all the PVR functionality, such as the ability to pause live TV -- and, if you're cunning about it, watch everything on a delay so you can fast-forward through the adverts.

Once you fill up the hard drive with Songs of Praise, you can burn them to DVD, but you'll probably not want to make a big song and dance about that, or the copyright police will be round to perform a full-body cavity search and take all your money.

There's also DivX support, which we always welcome on DVD players, because it opens up a whole bunch of online content for watching on your TV without the faff of having to get a media streamer or media centre extender. You also get the ability to play files off a USB flash drive, which we think is pretty handy, especially if it's tricky for you to hook up a PC to your TV.

Indeed, Philips is making a big thing about this machine's ability to play your media. Not only can it handle DivX files, but you can also listen to MP3s and WMA music and watch photo slideshows.

Although we make light of this machine's upscaling capabilities, you will probably notice a substantial benefit when watching DVDs. Just don't expect the same with Freeview: it's really not possible to make over-the-air digital TV look HD, no matter how much wizardry you bung into your hardware.

The remote you get is pretty funky too -- it's got a click wheel, which is actually pretty useful for selecting things on a long list. Of course, you'll need to be careful not to spill any jam on the wheel, or you'll have nothing but problems. Hopefully you'll be aware of the dangers of jam and consumer electronics and will keep the two separate. The DVDR5520 is available now for the fairly reasonable price of £230 and we'll have a full review for you in two shakes. –Ian Morris

Update: Read our full Philips DVDR5520H review here.