Best PVR out there?



i'm looking for a new PVR for my family, what is the best one out there, i need alot of space, easy to use and looks good. I looked at the sony one that looks nice and also the Humax 9200t? which one out of those two would be better and also what better ones than that are there? p.s. no sky+ just freeview



Staff member
The Sony one is a rebadged DigiFusion FVRT200 with some minor changes to the software that don't improve matters. Not that the Digifusion is a bad machine, but there are lots of instances of hardware failure, usually due to poor ventilation and overheating.

The Topfield is, indeed, the current State Of The Art, and has been for some time. There is an extensive support network, which includes a range of 3rd party software enhancements you can use to customise and improve on the already very good functionality. And they come in several different colours; black is probably the nicest-looking (IMO).

I gather the Humax is a fairly close second, but my understanding is, it still suffers a few odd bugs in the software.

Deleted member 27989

Topfield is the top of the league, followed by the Humax 9200


Distinguished Member
Another vote for the Topfield! My house mate has a Humax, and sometimes he's gone away for the weekend, come back, and nothing has been recorded. My Topfield (touch wood) is still yet to miss a recording. :smashin:


Active Member
I would also recommend the Topfield from personal experience. I have found it very reliable. The Sony is an overpriced piece of badge engineering.
Serious choice is bewtween the Humax and the Topfield IMO.

Marcdavies' excellent chart might be useful;

Some differences between the Humax & Topfield

Price; Humax is cheaper.
Humax does auto timer padding out of box; Topfield needs an added TAP*
Topfield has interactive enable/disable feature.
Topfield has time shift (auto buffering feature) enable/disable feature; this saves unneccessry hard disk activity if like me you do not use this feature.
Humax has limit on MP3 storage. (5GB)
Topfield can organise recordings into folders; Humax cannot;
70 timers available on Topfield, 50 on Humax.
Component video output on Topfield (via scart).
Topfield is fanless; so may be quieter; but as a result needs to be positioned with a little more care.
The Topfield is smaller; which could be disadvantage or advantage. You could not easily stack anything on Topfield (unwise anyway see no fan above).
Topfield comes in 160Gb and 250Gb versions. Humax 160Gb;

*Taps (Topfield Application Programmes). USB downloadable almost all free programmes that can be run on the Topfield to change many aspects of how they work, including alternative EPGs with e.g. almost instant info and features such as recording series by name search.

Both are expected to be able to make use of Freeview Playback series link etc information by future software updates. Humax may well be first with official software but TAP authors are already making the existing information work on the Topfield.

Hope that is fair but I have not used a Humax myself only the Topfield.



Active Member
Another vote for the Topfield TF5800. It works great out of the box; the EPG is fine, and like the Humax, you can record two things and watch a third - so long as the third is on the same multiplex as one of the tuners. However there are so many things you can do to make it 'better' that it is far more flexible than the alternatives and more than worth the extra.

The trick is to get one and see what you would like to improve (if anything) out of the core functionality, and go to the excellent for information on TAPs available, and further advice. If you get into adding functionality, it is simple and non-invasive (with a PC and USB connection), not like changing firmware or installing a Windows program to your PC. I use a TAP that automatically records all episodes of my favourite programmes and files them away in folders for me to catch up with later. It just works and I don't think about it (except when I keep my eye open for enhancements). That's the other nice thing - you can get in touch with the groups that develop these add-ons and patricipate in the debates for fixes and enhancements if you wish.

But the beauty of it is that you don't need to add anything if you don't want to, many don't.


Active Member
has anyone tried the Tvonics pvr? looks cool

It does indeed look very cool; unfortunately all the current models are only record one thing at a time. The second tuner allows you to watch a different channel on Freeview not record it. Not much use if you have an IDTV and limiting even if you do.
At its price it is pitched against most of the true dual tuner models. Does come with a large HDD but 120-130 odd hours of recordings without the ability to sort them into folders might not be ideal.
Latest news (from marcdavies who has been in touch with TVonics) is that it looks like this model may never be upgraded to Freeview Playback as they intended. I suspect a new model will appear later in the year* which no doubt will be better featured and priced.


*Edit "before Christmas" apparently.


Active Member
has anyone tried the Tvonics pvr? looks cool

Decide whether over the next few years you will be more annoyed by a more functional looking box or by a crap PVR.

The current choice between 180-250 quid is only between Topfield TF5800 and Humax 9200T in my opinion.

Both machines have their advocates and as both camps acknowledge the qualities of the other machine, there does not seem to be a huge amount in it.

I have a Topfield myself as I like the idea that I can customise the interface and options to my own preferences. It is the best £200 I have spent recently.

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