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Continuing our reviews of digital
video recorders on the market today, we turn our attentions to Tvonics’
effort in this arena. The DVR-FP250
is pretty much like most others on the market. It records one Freeview
channel while watching another. But more than that, the makers claim
that it is one of the most eco-friendly devices available. 

The model we reviewed has a 250GB hard drive inside its shell which is a bit reminiscent of the Cyrus Mission amplifiers. I.e. it is shoebox-shaped as opposed to the more usual dimensions. Admittedly, it is perhaps the most stylish of PVRs
on the market with is curved black metal casing, if you wanted
something that would match the decor of your upmarket apartment then
finish reading this and go out and buy theTvonics PVR now!

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If
however, you wanted to know how it works then read on. The DVR-FP250
has a hard drive big enough to store 125 hours of video. It is also
Freeview Playback certified which means that it has met a level of
functionality. Setting up the thing was a doddle – it has to be as most
people who watch telly aren’t geeks and so simplicity will always be a
top priority. It found all the channels and separated them into TV and
Radio channels.

{mospagebreak}
The remote control is as good looking as the box. It is very much
inspired by the Sky+ remote and feels good to use in day-to-day
operation.

Its EPG is functional and can be clearly read,
although this is probably because it uses the same font as the digital
text service (if it works then why not!). Recording is a simple matter
of choosing the programme off the EPG and while series link
functionality is not there (and it’s pretty helpful if you want to
record every episode of Family Guy) the manufacturers are planning to
put this functionality into theboxes via an over-the-air software update in the future.

As it conforms to the Freeview Playback standard, recording a programme that has been shifted around the schedules will be ok
as the device senses the changes and adjusts itself so you don’t find
that the last five minutes of your favourite recording has been lost to
the God of video recorders.

The
visual and sound quality are very good and there was no noticeable
degradation on quality in playback mode. However, there is no HDMI port
on the back of the box so the best the picture can get is through a
Scart lead – which can’t be upscaled to faux-HD quality.

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As
we said earlier, the device claims to be green, consuming 3W of power
in standby and 20W when recording programmes, so at east it won’t be
making a large contribution to your carbon footprint.

It is also made in the UK so anyone living there will at least be
satified that the device hasn’t been racking up the air miles to get
into your living room.

Overall, it is a nice-looking piece of kit that should be considered by
eco-aware telly lovers that want a cheaper alternative to Sky+.

Rating: 7/10

Related reviews:


Review: LG 32LT75 LCD TV with Freeview Playback PVR