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DVRs

Panasonic TU-CT20A

Looking to upgrade to digital television without burning a hole in your wallet? Panasonic's entry-level set top box could be the answer.

Upside
Panasonic's TU-CT20A boasts a range of features at a reasonable price. Most importantly, it upgrades the signal going to your television to digital Standard Definition (SD) with an output of 576i (576 horizontal lines interlaced) -- boasting a picture quality comparable to DVD. Other features include auto set up, over-the-air download of software updates, on screen programme guides and closed captioning. It hooks up to your television either through a SCART connection or composite video.

Downside
While a Standard Definition (SD) set top box is going to produce higher quality television than an analogue signal, it has a maximum resolution output of 576i (576 horizontal lines interlaced). While this should be sufficient for most home users to experience the world of digital television, if you have a High Definition (HD) screen capable of displaying 1080i you might want to think about opting for a HD set top box for the best in picture and audio quality, such as Toshiba's HD-S25.

Outlook
This unit should have a relatively long life span for the average home cinema buff, considering the limited number of programs being broadcast in HD at the moment and the restrictive price of HD capable plasma/LCD screens. The TU-CT20A is slightly more expensive than some of the SD units available, such as Teac's DV-B350, which retails for just under AU$200.

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