Philips HDT8520, DTR5520: Freeview HD PVR and receiver have legs

The Freeview HD bandwagon has two new passengers, in the form of the 500GB HDT8520 PVR and storage-free DTR5520 from Dutch master Philips

Charles Kloet

People seeking a high-definition hit without a monthly subscription now have two more Freeview HD set-top boxes to choose from. Dutch master Philips presents the HDT8520 PVR (pictured) and storage-free DTR5520.

The striking-looking, Pace-designed HDT8520 offers a 500GB hard drive, so you can record up to 125 hours of high-definition telly and free yourself from the shackles of broadcasters' schedules. It also has twin tuners, so you'll be able to record one programme while feasting your mince pies on another. 

The HDT8520 offers 1080p upscaling of standard-definition broadcasts and an Ethernet jack for potential future access to Web services such as the BBC's iPlayer. A USB socket is also present, allowing you to play back music, photos and video via a memory stick

The DTR5520 is pretty much the same as the HDT8520, but, lacking a hard drive, you won't be able to record programmes or rewind live broadcasts and all that jazz.

The HDT8520 will be available for around £300 in May, and the DTR5520 for about £160 in mid-April. We'll endeavour to have full reviews in the imminent future.

As alternatives, HD PVR fans might like to consider the £350 Toshiba HDR5010, with a 500GB hard drive, and the £290 Sharp TU-T2HR32, with a 320 GB hard drive. Both are due to be released in May. Also, while the £180 Humax HD-FOX T2 lacks a hard drive, an upcoming firmware update will let you record to USB storage.