I'm in a similar boat, but am looking for a Freeview+ HD Recorder. It's for the grandparents. They've just purchased a spangly new TV and are looking to get a simple Freeview HD setup with recording functionality.
I have a decent budget, and would appreciate some recommendations. Anything up to £200 is OK.
Many thanks in advance.
Depends where you are but Richer Sounds still have a few of the Pace made Philips PVR
on clearance at £150. Everybody ignores it because it was a real clunker when it first came out but software updates appear to have made it useable. Tesco do it for £220 and they have the Toshiba which comes in just under your budget (not heard much of them) John Lewis do the Philips for £199 as do Dixons.co.uk. Note that the other sites and stores in the Dixons Retail Group (DRG) - Currys and PC World - may be more expensive!
Tesco's own Technika HD+ is on sale at £150. Apparently made by Fetch so has some extras but has had an indifferent reputation.
A quite popular cheap alternative is to get a Humax HD Fox T2 and update the software to the version that allows recording to an external hard drive. This comes in the about the cheapest - £90 fpr the box from Tesco (you may find them in store at Sainsbury for £70 but they are sold out on their site) and from about £45 for a 1Tb. The setup allows you to watch one HD channel while recording another (you can record any channel and watch another channel on the same mux). Of course it s a single tuner PVR but if you are "not allowed" to watch say, an SD channel, they can always use the main TV tuner. The latest software is due to be broadcast in the next couple of weeks (available for download to a USB stick now) and this has added BBC iPlayer and "trailer booking" where you can preset the schedule from an on screen prompt when BBC or Channel 4 show trailers for upcoming shows, even if they are to be shown beyond the current EPG. Disadvantage of course is that it is a "two box" solution but the hard drive can be tucked away at the back of a shelf.
The Icecrypt T2200 HD box at £59.97 from Tesco also allows recording to a USB drive and I believe also allows the "record one, watch a second on the same mux" viewing as the Humax. I am not that familiar with it but I think the USB socket is at the front, making a slightly less neat solution, but it does have slots for Top Up TV pay services.
Personally I would avoid the "Threeview" PVR as it is not approved by Freeview. It has its ardent supporters.
You may also like to browse the threads on the specialist PVR secton in Digital Spy
If you are shopping around on web sites, Richer Sounds are among the cheapest and offer a 5 year warranty for an extra 10%. They have a good deal on the new Sony at the moment (looks an interesting unit that may eventually become a YouView box as it has the required 2 USB sockets) but over your budget. RS have been voted best electronics shop in Which?
John Lewis have a better selection and can be among the lowest costs as the Philips illustrates. Tesco and Sainsburys have specials that are very cheap (worth looking in store this weekend for the Tesco Technika STBHDIS
2010 - note the IS - at £30 if you are after a non-recording one soon).
Avoid Argos/Home Base (same group) who are consistently the most expensive on Freeview HD boxes, there are examples where they have been over 2 or 3 times the price of their cheapest competitor for the same box (current example - Argos Grundig GUD300HD = £169.99 as opposed to Comet Goodmans GDB300HD £69.99; same box and Harvard distributer although the differently cased Tesco Technika STBHDH
2010 is believed to be the same electronics at £30 and including an HDMI lead)