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Sony RDR-HXD860: Now with Freeview

Crave basks in righteousness as Sony announces the RDR-HXD860, a hard drive/DVD recorder that addresses our two main gripes about the previous model

When we reviewed the Sony RDR-HX725 hard drive/DVD recorder earlier this month, we whinged about the absence of two key features. The RDR-HX725 didn't have an integrated Freeview tuner or an HDMI output, which didn't make us happy. We're smiling now though -- Sony has just announced the RDR-HXD860, which fixes both those problems.

Like its predecessor, the RDR-HXD860 has a 160GB hard drive for short-term recordings and a DVD burner for archiving the ones you want to keep. It supports almost all the common DVD formats including dual-layer DVD+R discs, which hold 8.5GB of data or 8 hours of recording.

You can use the electronic programme guide (EPG) to schedule recordings up to eight days in advance, or on a daily or weekly basis. If you're recording to the hard drive, you can watch the beginning of a programme as you're recording the end, or can watch a recorded programme while you're recording a live broadcast (so you can watch last week's episode of Lost while recording this week's show, for example). The HDMI output offers 720p/1080i upscaling, enabling you to get the best out of your HD-ready LCD or plasma.

The RDR-HXD860 should be on sale in September for around £400. If you're a little easier to please, there's also the RDR-HXD560, with an 80GB hard drive and no HDMI. The simpler model will sell for around £350 and should be available by the end of the month. -ML