Sony SVR-HD900 review: Sony SVR-HD900

The Good HDMI output. Large hard drive. Twin HD tuners.

The Bad Expensive. Lacks USB or Firewire adaptors. Pixelated recordings.

The Bottom Line An expensive unit offering twin HD tuners and large capacity storage, but with average recording quality.

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8.0 Overall

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Australia has been quite slow in its initial take up of digital video recorders (DVR), but as more units come onto the market we're positive that buyers will soon be wondering how they ever got by without one. With functions such as pausing live TV, instant replays and the ability to skip commercials during playback, DVR technology allows you to say goodbye to VHS tapes forever.

High definition DVRs are still relatively new to the market. Unlike the standard definition versions, the SVR-HD900 unit can record every pixel of HD content in full 1080i quality. Further, the dual HD tuner design enables simultaneous recordings of two different programs or picture-in-picture viewing.

The SVR-HD900 follows Sony's trademark minimalist design theme. The front of the device houses a single blacked out panel with the information display located centre. Buttons are hidden behind the flip down panel and feature all the functionality of the remote control. If you're using a Sony display, the SVR-HD900's remote can be shared between both units.

The SVR-HD900 comes very well equipped, the standout feature being the twin HD digital tuners that allow you to record two programs at the same time in full 1080i HD resolution. Unfortunately, Australian TV networks rarely transmit full HD content with most programming being transmitted in the 576i video format. The feature new users will find most handy is the time shift function. If you're ever watching TV and you hear the phone ring you simply enable time shift, which allows you to pause live TV. When you get back you can recommence from the same point and actually catch up to the program's real time using the chasing playback function. This feature also allows you to cut out commercials saving you even more time. Then there's the picture-in-picture mode, which allows you to either watch two live programs at the same time or one live show and one you've recorded earlier.

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