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What is Freeview Playback?

I've seen adverts for Freeview Playback and noticed that there are a couple of Freeview receivers with the logo on them. What is it, and why should I care?

I've seen adverts for Freeview Playback and noticed that there are a couple of Freeview receivers with the logo on them. What is it, and why should I care?

Tony

You should care because those nice people at Freeview, and the hardware manufacturers, are trying to make your life a little better with technology!

Put simply, Freeview Playback is designed to be the Freeview equivalent of Sky+. In reality it's a bit more limited because there isn't quite the volume of material available on Freeview that there is on Sky.

In order to use the Freeview Playback logo, a PVR must have certain features. For example, all 'Playback' machines must be able to pause live TV, record a programme at the press of a single button and allow you to pick programmes from the EPG to record up to eight days in advance.

The most useful feature of 'Playback' PVRs is their dual tuners -- these mean you should always be able to watch one channel and record another. If a PVR can't do this, it won't have the Freeview Playback logo on the front.

Another great feature of Freeview Playback is its ability to accurately record late running programmes. So the next time Eastenders is disrupted because of racing from Ascot, or Tim Henman losing a tennis match, the PVR will automatically check the EPG and compensate for this delay.

There are second and third rounds of enhancements due, which will add some cool functionality such as the ability to record split events, for example a movie dissected by the ITV News at 10.30. Series link, one of the key features of Sky+ that allows you to record every episode of your favourite series, is also in this second group. Not all Freeview Playback recorders will support features from groups two and three.

Lots of PVRs already on the market are already Freeview Playback-capable. In some cases manufacturers have re-released a model with the appropriate logo in place, but the hardware is still essentially the same. Both the TVonics DVR-FP250 and the Humax PVR-9200T are good examples of this.