Lots of manufacturers use the same basic design for their products, and Beyonwiz, maker of a variety of PVR boxes, hasn't shucked this trend with the Beyonwiz DP-P2. If you're familiar with the Beyonwiz DP-P1, in fact, you may find the DP-P2 all too familiar. Same black box, same blue circular power button that sits beside a simple LED and a hidden flap that hides USB and media card slots. Even the dual-HD tuner nature of the P2 and P1 utilises the same convenient single cable in approach.
As with the DP-P1, the P2's remote control remains unimpressive. It feels light and cheap, it isn't backlit, and even after a couple of weeks worth of testing, we were still sometimes struggling to instinctively find functions, especially as the unit's play/stop/pause buttons are small and indistinct. It may have only been a quirk of our review sample, but we also found the channel down button had a tendency to get stuck, leading to us often skipping many channels when we only intended to jump one, invariably leaving us stranded on the NSW Parliamentary Channel. There's a reason it's there — to put people to sleep — but it wasn't what we wanted to watch all the time.
The DP-P2 is intended to be an all-in media box; part TiVo, part media centre streaming box, with a dabble in home photography to boot. Much of what makes the Beyonwiz DP-P2 an appealing prospect was present in the DP-P1 too; you get two HD TV tuners, compatibility with IceTV for EPG and remote recording, UPnP video streaming over a network of compatible file types — and the DP-P2 will support pretty much anything you choose to throw at it in terms of common internet video.
On-board storage has been beefed up on the DP-P2, with an internal 320GB hard drive as standard. Beyonwiz claims that this is good enough for up to 40 hours of HD broadcasts, or one 120 hours of SD. Owners of the DP-P1, or Beyonwiz's other PVR boxes will find that they can also stream files to and from each Beyonwiz box quite simply, which would be one simple way to extend your recording times.
Where the DP-P2 earns its extra numeral is in its ability to record Pay TV via an AV port at the back. Beyonwiz touts this feature quite prominently, pointing out that you can pause and rewind up to two hours worth of Pay TV signal, as well as schedule recordings, although the practical truth is a little less endearing than it first sounds. More on that shortly.
One thing the DP-P2 will let you do that other, more commercially minded PVRs won't (we're looking right at you, TiVO), is skip commercials easily. We know why the commercial broadcasters hate this feature — but it's the exact same reason that viewers love it.