CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Beyonwiz DP-P1 review: Beyonwiz DP-P1

The Beyonwiz DP-P1 is a twin-HD tuner digital video recorder with network capabilities allowing you to stream content such as photos and DivX movies from your PC.

Jeremy Roche
Hi, I look after product development for CBS Interactive in Sydney - which lets me develop a range of websites including CNET Australia, TV.com and ZDNet Australia.
Jeremy Roche
5 min read

After taking the plunge and buying a high-definition TV, next you'll want to evaluate your options for getting high-definition content on that large-screen set. Movie buffs will probably go down the path of a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, such as a PlayStation 3 or a Toshiba HD-E1, but fans of free-to-air television will need to invest in a high-definition tuner to get the best picture possible -- assuming an HD tuner isn't already built-in (like on the 40-inch Samsung LCD we recently gave an Editors' Choice Award).


Beyonwiz DP-P1

The Good

Twin HD tuners. Ethernet connectivity. Plays DivX movies. Compatible with IceTV EPG. Sleek design.

The Bad

Sluggish USB performance. Limited network functionality. File browser not user-friendly.

The Bottom Line

The Beyonwiz DP-P1 is a decent high-definition digital recorder, but its good looks don't hide its limitations.

The Beyonwiz DP-P1 is not your average digital set-top box, however. Not least it combines two HD tuners and a hard drive that let you record two shows simultaneously in high-definition.

While the pricier Beyonwiz DP-S1 has a smoother finish (and a built-in DVD player), its little brother the DP-P1 is slightly smaller, lighter and more box-shaped. It has a sleek black design with blue LEDs illuminating the main control in the centre and a flip-down panel on the right for memory cards and USB devices. There's also a display on the front for status messages, channel information and recording indicators.

Beyonwiz covers almost all the A/V connections with the DP-P1 -- there's HDMI, optical and coaxial audio, composite, S-Video and component video. There's also a 5.1-channel output for analog audio. Sadly, though, there's no A/V input for recording from external sources like Foxtel or a camcorder.

Although it's a twin-tuner recorder, the DP-P1 only requires one antenna input, so you don't need another loop through cable sticking out of the back to route the reception back into the second tuner -- it's all handled internally.

The supplied 54-button remote control is black, but not backlit in any way for use at night. We much prefer the spacious, intuitive layout of Topfield's remote controls; the Beyonwiz one feels a little cramped.

The DP-P1 is first and foremost a digital video recorder, but while the DP-P1's 200GB hard drive sounds impressive, we couldn't find out exactly how much high-definition TV it can actually store. We assume this will vary depending on the type of program you're recording, but we managed to fill 10 percent of the hard drive with around 3.5 hours of shows, so we'd expect it could hold around 35 hours worth of programming all up.

Another trick Beyonwiz includes in the DP-P1's swag is the ability to play back movies, music and photos over a network, allowing you to view all the content you've amassed on your PC in your living room. Unfortunately the DP-P1 doesn't support Wi-Fi -- check out the Netgear EVA8000 or the Apple TV for examples of wireless streaming devices -- but a range of file formats can be played back over an Ethernet connection, including DivX (a favourite with the peer-to-peer file sharing crowd).

There are two USB 2.0 ports on the DP-P1 -- one at the front and one at the back -- the front one proving very useful for quick connections, such as plugging in an MP3 player, a memory key or a portable hard drive. Also at the front are memory card slots for SD, CompactFlash and Memory Stick -- handy for viewing photos from your digital camera on your TV.

A basic if somewhat geeky-looking file browser is on-board, allowing you to copy, move, delete and rename files from the HDD, a network location, USB device or memory card.

We hooked the DP-P1 up to our high-definition Pioneer plasma for testing -- a task that was made easier thanks to the all-in-one nature of the HDMI connection. After powering it up and connecting an antenna, the DP-P1 formatted its hard drive for first-time use and prompted us to perform an auto-scan of the channels, which took only a couple of minutes.

High-definition stations looked impressive with no obvious artefacts in pictures. Colours were well saturated and we noticed none of the blockiness that afflicts some of the lower-end digital video recorders.

Although the DP-P1 is compatible with IceTV's EPG, we were unable to get the unit Beyonwiz sent us for review to fetch the program guide from the Internet. Streaming of content over a network connection was simple enough, though, with the DP-P1 recognising shared folders on the local area network (LAN) and the Ethernet connection fast enough so no buffering issues arose.

After being spoiled with the Apple TV's elegant photo viewer, the DP-P1 didn't hold up very well. Loading high-resolution photos taken with a Canon 400D took an excruciating 10 to 20 seconds per photo, during which you only see a black screen with an hourglass endlessly spinning. Photos did, however, look magnificent viewed in all their glory. Our attempts to copy the photos to the HDD for faster reading were also in vain -- the copy menu option was greyed out for the USB key. Apple TV leaves the Beyonwiz for dead when it comes to music, the latter not able to play music while viewing a slideshow and none of the sync capabilities that Apple iTunes provides.

There's no FTP server or HTTP interface so you're stuck with the built-in browser for interacting with files. Unfortunately there's no way to transfer recorded files to a PC with the current firmware.

During playback, we loved the 15 second skip button -- it's great for cutting out ads. You can also scroll through entire recording using a timebar, and there's another shortcut which skips forward 10 percent.

Two HD channels can be recorded simultaneously while playing back a third on the DP-P1, although the third must be a subchannel of one of the broadcasters (eg. ABC2 if you're recording ABC). We didn't notice any jittery playback while testing this, but there's the audible hard disk scratch when the DP-P1 accesses anything from the disk.

Beyonwiz Australia also hosts forums on its Web site where users can discuss a range of topics, including the DP-S1 and the DP-P1, IceTV, digital TV, networking and content.

Assuming the IceTV compatibility issue we had was an internal network issue, the DP-P1 is a good high-definition personal video recorder. However, we'd like to see Beyonwiz make the file browser, interface and photo viewer a little more user friendly in future models.