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Olin OPVR-1000 review: Olin OPVR-1000

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The Good Recordings are good quality. Well-marked remote. Archive to USB disk. 500GB hard drive. Cheap.

The Bad User interface only a mother could love. Bare-bones feature set. EPG limited to one channel at a time. TiVo does a better job for same price.

The Bottom Line The Olin OPVR-1000 is a bare-bones recorder which does a decent job, but is overshadowed by its competitors for features and ease of use.

6.6 Overall

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You know how at school, you always hated that one kid? Maybe they were more popular than you or retold your jokes to get a bigger laugh? Did you just wish they'd move so they didn't have to go to the same school anymore?

Well, we think that this is how Olin feels about TiVo. You see, though Olin was once one of the cheapest PVRs on the market, its rival has announced it's dropping its price by AU$200. As a result, the TiVo sits at AU$499 while the Olin is at AU$449.

Olin to TiVo: "See you at 3.35 behind the bike sheds. Come alone."

Design

Most PVRs are ugly. FACT. The TiVo 320 Media looks like a black box recorder and the Olin is even more old school with its mirrored front and green LED readout. It's not going to win any beauty pagaents, but then again neither is Robert De Niro.

The front panel is at least functional, as it comes with a large power button at the left and across the bottom you get the usual Menu, Channel and Volume controls.

The bundled remote is fairly innocuous. It's chunky and some of the buttons are small, but at least it's well-labelled.

Features

The Olin OPVR-1000 is a dual-HD-tuner PVR that features a capacious 500GB hard drive. As this is a budget PVR there is not much in the way of extraneous features. You get the usual PVR tricks such as live TV pausing, recording one channel and watching another and a 7 day Electronic Guide. While there's no "series link", users can choose to record programs once, daily or weekly from within the EPG. Additionally, there's no search or more advanced functions that the now-similarly-priced TiVo offers. And remote scheduling? Forget it!

Continuing with the scholastic theme, the Olin is a little "old-school" as it features two discrete tuners that need to be connected by a physical cable — just like connecting two VCRs. Users might be used to newer machines that integrate two tuners into one board, so if you find that recordings are going missing, it's because you need to connect the "loop-back" cable.

The Olin also includes a USB port which lets you archive your recordings and depending on who you believe, you may either be able to update the firmware with a USB key or have to leave it to a technician to do.

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