Ever tried making home brew beer? That might seem like a rather incongruous statement to start a PVR review with, but bear with us here. If you have -- or even if all you've done is spotted the home brew kits that lurk in most supermarkets these days -- then you're probably familiar with the circular tins that house most home brew supplies. The reason we reference them (apart from, we'll admit, liking beer), is that the DViCO TViX 5130SH HD-PVR most closely resembles a home brew beer tin, albeit one painted black. It's a very unique design for a PVR, and it certainly stands out. In fact, it pretty much has to stand out; we can't think of a single entertainment cabinet design ever that would easily accommodate this unit.
Like many PVRs before it -- we're thinking of units like the -- the DViCO TViX 5130SH HD-PVR pitches itself as an all-in home entertainment hub. At the same time it pitches for easy home entertainment, our previous allusion to home brew still applies; this is a machine that's much better suited to the enterprising tinkerer than those who get flustered by HDMI cables.
It ships with a 320GB SATA hard drive -- you can save yourself AU$100 and buy a bare bones version if you prefer -- and can support drives of any capacity. Replacing the drive is relatively simple -- although it will void your warranty doing so. The DViCO TViX 5130SH HD-PVR only comes with a single HD tuner, so it's not possible to watch and record TV simultaneously. It has limited EPG support -- it'll pick up the next/now information broadcast by Australian TV channels, but lacks support for ICEGuide. Given the ease with which the DViCO TViX 5130SH HD-PVR will send downloaded files around, we can't see it being compatible with the upcoming promisedeither.
The DViCO TViX 5130SH HD-PVR supports HDMI, DVI, Component, S-Video and Composite video output. It comes with a 10/100 network port, and wireless networking is supported, albeit in a rather limited fashion. The DViCO TViX 5130SH HD-PVR has two USB ports, and it's theoretically possible to use one of these with a USB Wi-Fi adaptor. Having said that, at the time of writing, only three different models were supported according to DViCO's Web Site, and the manual has a rather dire warning about using unsupported adaptors. The USB ports can be used for any external USB storage device for the playback of files.