Picture quality from the DTI 6300-16 is good. The machine allows you to output an RGB signal over the Scart lead. This means you get the best possible colour reproduction on your TV. If you're a flat-panel user, you might lament the lack of HDMI output, but in practice if you invest in a good Scart lead, the picture looks decent.
Sound was strong too, there are both analogue and digital audio outputs on the 6300-16, so you can hook it up to your hi-fi, or go to town connecting it to your AV receiver. Don't expect any Dolby Digital over Freeview though, the best you can hope for is a smattering of Dolby Pro Logic.
We set our DTI 6300-16 to record everything it could from Top Up TV via the customise menu, and within a few days we had a bunch of programmes from channels such as UK Gold and Living. There were also some films from the movie channel Picture Box. We should mention that Setanta Sports (which) and Picture Box both cost extra, on top of the £9.99 basic package. Both are available without Top Up TV -- Setanta is £9.99 a month, while Picture Box is £7 without a Top Up subscription and £5 with one.
We were impressed by the series linking ability of this box. While this functionality is promised as part of the newstandard, we've yet to see many boxes that support it. The Thomson does, however -- even though it isn't Freeview Playback certified -- and it works like a dream. We selected Home and Away and Friends on series link, and the box faithfully recorded three episodes of Home and Away and all three million episodes -- okay, it was only seven -- of Friends that were shown on E4 during our three-day test.
The only gripe we can think of is that the menu system is a little slow to respond at times. This is especially true if you're in the library, where it makes a moving thumbnail that shows you the programme you have highlighted.
The Thomson DTI 6300-16 is a great Freeview PVR. We think the 160GB hard drive is a little small, especially when you take into account how much content is provided by Top Up TV. With the addition of series link, you may well find yourself with a full hard drive in no time at all.
In terms of picture quality and functionality it's hard to beat the Thomson -- the only player that offers more is the similar 160GB. The Humax has the slight edge on ease of use, but the Thomson does manage to turn Top Up TV into a pretty well-rounded service.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide