A PVR that performs the essential PVR functions, but without much in the way of grace.
The Panasonic DMR-EX83 is technically a very competent machine, but the price seems too high given that it has only a 250GB hard drive. We like the way this machine works though, and its picture quality is second to none
The Topfield TBF-7120 Pack is one of the cheapest PVRs we've seen yet, and while it lacks dual-tuner recording it's not bad for the price.
If high-definition viewing is a must for you, but you can't afford or don't want Sky+HD or Virgin HD, then the Humax HD-FOX T2 might be the piece of hardware you're looking for. HD pictures can look stunning given the right input, but there isn't much material out there at the moment, making the asking price of £180 quite steep. Still, the box itself can't really be faulted, apart from a few tiny bugs, and it gets our seal of approval for those who yearn for Freeview HD
As much as we like the TVonics DTR-HV250, the price is slightly too steep for a 250GB PVR. As long as you're happy to pay the asking price, though, we're more than happy to recommend it to you, and we certainly have nothing but good things to say about its picture and sound quality
The Sony PlayTV is a good "freebie" for buyers of the new 250GB PS3 and it can be useful if you don't already have a PVR, but it's fairly limited in performance and scope.
LG's take on a dual-tuner DVR works well and has some unique features, but it's expensive.
The M-6600N is a feature-rich PVR let down badly by stability issues.
The TiVo 320 Media Device has received a little storage bump, and despite competition from Sony's PlayTV it is still one of the best value-for-money PVRs on the market.
With its great picture quality and impressive upscaling performance, the Toshiba SD-490 is a stylish option for those who aren't interested in making the move to Blu-ray just yet
The Panasonic DMR-EX89 is a sturdy machine that's a pleasure to use. It's expensive, though, and only offers a single Freeview tuner. That said, if you're happy to splash out for it, we doubt you'll be disappointed
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 is a good, sturdy machine that's a pleasure to use. It is, however, let down by its relatively high price and the fact that it offers only a single Freeview tuner. Due to its good performance, though, we're more than happy to recommend it as a worthy purchase if you're happy with the asking price
TViX's supposedly HD PVR promises to be the "ultimate" PVR. We can't help thinking that "basic" would have been a better appellation.
The Sagem DTR 67500T works really well. We had no problem with any aspect of its operation, the electronic-programme-guide scheduling is easy and we like the picture quality. We're pleased Sagem has released a PVR with an HDMI connection, as we consider this essential to get the best possible picture quality. What we aren't so taken with is the cheap design and ugly menu system
The Digital Vision GiGo has some great things going for it, although it's not without its downsides. Fortunately, the positives far outweigh the negatives. If you want to record Freeview to a USB memory stick, this machine is very convenient and does the job perfectly. If you don't know what a USB memory stick is, we'd advise you to get a more traditional personal video recorder
The Topfield Masterpiece HD is a very capable PVR that offers a lot of recording flexibility and just as many cutting edge features as the "big boys".
Panasonic's upmarket DVD recorder has oodles of functionality, but it's hidden behind a somewhat obtuse remote control.
We've given this excellent machine a score of 9, but it comes with the obvious 'but', which is simply that it's far too expensive. £900 is more than enough to buy a £300 freesat PVR and a £200 Blu-ray player and still have pots of cash left over. Sure, the Blu-ray recording is unique, but is it really that valuable to you?