Maplin (Techwood) PVR160 - first impressions

tony_yates

Active Member
Hi All,

Hopefully I'm not tempting fate but I thought I'd post up my first impressions of the Maplin PVR I've just received.

First up though my criteria were fairly simple; twin tuner, s-video output. Second up our TV viewing habits are also fairly simple, we don't watch a lot, but being able to set up a recording simply and quickly would be good and watching one program whilst recording another essential.

After a pointer from this forum (many thanks) I plumped for the PVR160 from Maplin, this turns out to be badged Techwood PVR160TW and cost me £99.98 down from £149.99. So, out of the box it looks a lot better than the Maplin image suggests, I'm not saying it's a stunner but hey it was only £99.98, the wording on the front looks better than the Argos model but then it hasn't had any sweaty paws on it and the display is clear and crisp. Spec wise here's a summary:

160Gb disk
twin tuner but you can't record two at once
twin scart - RGB, composite video, svideo
audio out
digital audio out
composite video out
rs 232

The twin scart was a result; I use one (RGB) for our normal TV and the other (set to s-video) for the projector, sound goes to the Arcam amp. We'll use the TV for watching most programmes and use the projector for recorded films, sport. Both pictures look very good.

Setup was a doddle, plugged it all in, turned it on, hit OK and it scanned for channels, a few minutes later I was watching digital TV, wahey. Changing channels is quick, it has a nice EPG from which I can set up what to record. All this is a far cry from our last digital box an original Ondigital and no more worrying about start and end times.

The user interface is clear and easy to use.

So there you have it, this (so far) is a nice, simple, well connected box, which I'd recommend to anyone on a budget or just wants something easy to use. We'll have to wait and see if corners have been cut in the reliability stakes.

Cheers,
Tony
 
R

rogster

Guest
Hi Tony,

I bought the same box yesterday and have to say I'm very impressed considering the price. I've just got one problem - it's currently linked to my TV via scart, but I can only get a decent picture when setting the output signal to 'CVBS'. When I try to output as 'RGB' the picture is much smoother but completely blue!! My TV does accept RGB signal so I don't understand why this is happening.
I will post this as a new thread but just wondered if, as a fellow Techwood owner, you had experienced any similar issue.

Cheers
Rogster.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
Hi Rogster,

I haven't experienced the problem you describe, I just plugged mine in and it all worked and fwiw my TV is an ancient JVC, you know the ones with a cathode in it :eek: My other scart is connected to our projector and is using svideo, again no problems there either.

You could try using the other scart on the pvr set to RGB, if that sorts it then it's the scart connector. It could be the cable or the TV, have you ever used the scart socket on your TV? I'd try it on a different TV, if still no joy then it could still be the cable. The only option next is to try a diferent cable.

HTH,
Tony
 

ched

Active Member
I also collected one yesterday. First impressions are good, its fairly quiet, it is black not silver as seen in catalogue. As previously stated it has 2 scarts (the manual states that 1 scart outputs RGB and also the 2nd scart accepts RGB) it has 3 phonos for right/left audio and composite, it even has an optical out. The last connector is a 9pin female RS232 connector for software updates.

It is for a Christmas present so I have just set it up to check it all works and so that I can give Granny some instructions at Christmas.

The picture from the composite is good, it scanned and found more channels than the Aldi PVR that I took back last week. The guide cant be changed from a now and next to a list but it is more like sky's guide so thats good. It even lets you expand or contract the guides time line. By default its 2 hrs but you can make it one hour or three hours on screen. You can also record easily from this screen by selecting program then just click record. It also shows you which buttons do what on the bottom of the screen. You can also go into another menu and select the amount of padding a recording has i.e. 2 mins each end or 3 mins etc. You can also go into another menu and then amend the schedualed recordings to be once, daily, or weekly.

The remote is better layed out than the Aldi box but not as good as sky, the display on the front shows both the channel number and the channel name upto 6 digits. You cant dim the display but it isnt over bright anyway.

Now to the bad bits:
1. If I record the channel that I am watching that is great. But if I try and record one channel and watch another the recording just skips forward at about 8 x speed and you cant watch it. I am going to try it on a differant aerial as I know the one its connected to doesnt get a good signal. I will try and post later on how I get on.
2. It doesnt show the signal strength of the signal on the channels.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
I've not tried recording whilst watching something else, I'll give it a go. Otherwise so far so good, recorded stuff views ok so far.

Tony
 

ched

Active Member
I have now tried the pvr on a better aerial signal and its fine. It is happy to record one channel and display another. No problems at all.

I am very pleases with the pvr. I believe that the menus and guides will be easy for my gran to use.
 

GrooveyTunez

Standard Member
I also received one of these for christmas. On first impressions it seems great, picture quality was better than my previous digibox. However, as soon as i press the record button, the picture becomes jerky and unwatchable affecting any channel i try to watch. When i stop the recording, picture goes back to being perfectly smooth.
We also tried a different aerial downstairs which receives a stronger signal and had the same problem.

We have taken the unit back to Maplins today and asked for a replace/repair service. The guy there was quite surprised, as one of the staff had also bought one and not had any problems, and they had sold many others with no other returns.
Originally i thought there may be a problem with the units second tuner, but now im not sure. I really hope its just a faulty unit and a repaired/replaced unit will work perfectly well because i really liked the features it has, especially for £100 (the guy says they have now gone back up to the original price of £200!)

On reflection, i wish i had tried removing the loop-through cable which i assume would make the unit a single-tuner, atleast that way i could test whether its one of the tuners thats affecting the recording.
But i will know within the next week or two, once it comes back from technical support.

Any further feedback or suggestions appreciated from other owners.
 
C

crbuss

Guest
I also got for christmas , firmware updated to dual record , had trouble with jerky picture to start with when recording , replaced the small link cable been fine ever since.
Gets a good picture even with an aerial in the loft , only using it in the bedroom so its on quite a small tv (17") but gives very good picture quality.
Very impressed with it for the price.:thumbsup:
 

GrooveyTunez

Standard Member
Omg, wish id tried that before sending it back. so just replace that small loop-through aerial with a proper one and it should be ok?
 
C

crbuss

Guest
Yes the small one on the back (cannot take credit for finding that out,that was on pvruk.co.uk )that was replaced with a normal cable and it was ok.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
I also got for christmas , firmware updated to dual record , had trouble with jerky picture to start with when recording , replaced the small link cable been fine ever since.
Gets a good picture even with an aerial in the loft , only using it in the bedroom so its on quite a small tv (17") but gives very good picture quality.
Very impressed with it for the price.:thumbsup:

Sorry to drag up an old post, but can someone, Crbuss if you're there, tell me how to upgrade to dual tuner?

We been really pleased with this PVR (it is my first) and the lack of geunine dual tuner wasn't an issue, until MotoGP clashed with something the kids wanted :eek: so now I need to upgrade.

Many thanks
Tony
 

tony_yates

Active Member

The latest video from AVForums

Star Wars Andor, Woman King, more Star Trek 4K, Rings of Power & the latest TV, movies & 4K releases
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom