Sharp PVRs are like Forrest Gump's chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Depending on who's been contracted to supply them, they can be long and slim, or compact and dumpy, like the Sharp TUT2HR32. The flavour of the user interface similarly changes.
As it happens, this Freeview HD recorder has a rather tasty UI. It's easy to navigate and has a live TV window to keep you connected to your channel of choice. The TUT2HR32 also has a rather unfortunate flaw, though.
It's available now for around £235.
Blue lights at night
The top-line specs look good. This Freeview HD unit has two tuners, so you can record one channel and watch another, or record two while you watch something from the library.
The box doesn't have a huge footprint either. It's just 55mm tall and 300mm wide. This dramatic downsizing has been achieved because the power supply has been relegated to an external 12V brick.
Rather unhelpfully, the PVR has no channel display or clock. Instead the TUT2HR32 offers only a small square with four blue LEDs. These form cryptic patterns depending on whether the unit is powered up or in standby, and they can't be dimmed. In a darkened room they can prove a real distraction.
Connections comprise a pair of SCARTs, an HDMI output, RF loopthrough and optical and digital audio outputs. You also get a USB port (for firmware updates only, not media playback), and a dormant Ethernet jack. The latter is provided should extra functionality, like iPlayer support, be bequeathed to the box. Don't hold your breath.
Beneath the hood is a 320GB hard drive. This capacity equates to around 80 hours of hi-def telly. Given the price of this PVR, we'd rate the disk size as a little on the low side.
The remote control is a big, generic zapper, noteworthy only for its general cheapness and the ninja-like invisibility of the record button.
Easy to use
Setup is straightforward. Once tuned you can set channels as favourites, delete those you don't want to see (sayonara Price-drop TV) and so on.