Which PVR for a Granny?

Mark Ward

Active Member
The Wife's Mum's VCR is no more, she want to record freeview so I'm looking for a PVR that fit the following criteria:-

1/ Easy to use
2/ 2 Tuners
3/ Cheap (£100 TOPS)
4/ Quiet

CHase play 'n' all that are fine, but a simple easy to use box is the most important criteria really.

If it can be turned off so much the better as she's always worried about the 'leccy cost.

Any suggestions?




Distinguished Member
The Sagem DVR62160SL-T available from ARGOS ticks all the boxes...I have installed a couple and found them to be quiet, reliable and easy to operate.


Distinguished Member
Is that a better bet than the Thomson DT16300-16 (also £99 from Argos)?

Yes...I would say so.
I'm not impressed with the reliability of any Thomson Freeview boxes or PVRs and I've come across quite a few in my work.


LG or Panasonic or any combo machine !

Mark Ward

Active Member
The ricability website has some reviews of STB and DVR's with a specific point of ease of use for disabled or elderly persons.


That site is very useful for my requirements. I'm going to take a careful look at the reviews there.

The Sagem didn't come out too well in their review, it said "navigating the menus, using Now & Next and TV guide - all poor." and "Ease of Use" is my main requirement.

However for the most part it did indeed come out better than many of the alternatives. I wish I could up her budget, those "Topfields" look nice.




Standard Member
From what I have read in this forum, some sub-£100 PVR don't get good feedbacks from current users.If you can stretch to £175, Humax 9200TB is very easy to use. I just taught my retired relative to use one and it is being used daily, replacing a VCR tape recorder.

You may be able to find the Humax PVR cheaper online. Good luck.


Active Member
I've had Thomson, Digifusion, and Digihome - and the Digihome is the user-friendliest, I don't see how it could be beaten in that respect. Argos now have the new range of TWIN-RECORD Digihomes (Wharfedales are clones), which saves the upgrading that a lot of us have done with our watch-one/record-one earlier models.

Unless the new range has a "stronger" tuner, the Digihome does like a good signal.

Humax and Topfield are top of the pile but they come at a price and with their problems (as do all PVRs, it seems).



Active Member
Argos now have the new range of TWIN-RECORD Digihomes (Wharfedales are clones)
...but I've just seen a report of a very glitchy one from a disappointed user - maybe we need to wait for more feedback on them.



Standard Member
I recently bought a Thomson DT16300-16 from Argos - I found the functionality very good - the epg was easy to use as were most features.
If you don't want TopUpTV the remote is unneccessarily cluttered. I couldn't find codes to control my AOC flat-panel so the TV buttons were redundant - you can't control the volume through the PVR. It was fairly slow switching between channels.
The deal killer for me was that it NEVER turns off the fan or HDD - so even in stand-by there is considerable noise (I checked with their customer support and was advised this was 'normal' behaviour and no fix was planned) :mad:
I returned the box to Argos as "not fit for purpose" with no quibble.

I then bought a Sagem DVR62160SL-T - this was not available at my local Argos (£99.99 offer) - but although priced £129.99 at Comet they price-matched it at £96.99 :D

  • The sagem is slightly faster switching between channels.
  • The remote seems well-laid out and is easy to use and you can control the volume via the PVR (this doesn't affect the recording volume).
  • There is a basic edit available on your recordings - you can also split, merge and rename recordings.
  • You can build personal favorite lists with the channels you are interested in in the order you wish.
  • Most importantly unless it's recording somthing for you the sagem is silent in stand-by :)
On the down-side:thumbsdow
  • As far as I can tell if you are recording two channels you can only view those channels and not any other on the same Mux.
  • Initially I didn't find the epg so easy to use (although the Thomson was far from perfect). Rather than the conventional multi-channel timeline that you navigate around with the arrow keys you must first select the channel with the up/down arrows - after a second the EPG list for that channel appears and you then have to use the right-arrow to select the list and navigate it with up/down arrow and FastForward/FastRewind - this makes it easy to see everything on say BBC1 for the next week but not so easy to decide if there's anything worth watching in the next hour.

I can't comment on the picture quality of the two boxes - there wasn't any obvious difference and I've had no previous freeview box to compare them to - but despite both registering good signal strength and quality the picture was a little disappointing compared to my Aldi freesat box and even analogue.

I would say both boxes are well worth the money (if you're prepared to put up with the noise of the Thomson) - you just have to decide which features are most important to you.

Mark Ward

Active Member
Many thanks for all the replies,

I'm going to suggest she spends a little more, but if £100 is her limit then the Sagem it will be!

Thanks everyone!



Active Member
hitachi 80gb for £99.99, which I think from what I have heard is a rebadge of a sharp 160gb pvr that is about £149.99 - £169.99 ...
...which is a rebadge of the dear old Digihome PVR80/PVR160. So at least with one of those you'll know it's easy to use.

And there's good support/info on Digital Spy's dedicated forums for various PVR brands.

clemenzina :)

(I typed this hours ago and left it sitting here instead of clicking Submit :rolleyes: )


Active Member
Don't have any specific experience with the DVR62160SL-T but I can tell you that some of the Sagem PVR models were absolutely dreadful. There were too many bugs to list here. My own "lost" all its diskspace which was not recovered when deleting programs making it unusable and it crashed regularly. I was sent another model as replacement along with an assurance that all the bugs were fixed. None of the bugs were fixed and it had a whole new set of problems. Then they sent on over-the-air update which broke the EPG. Effectively meaning that it could not record anything. This update must have been well over a year ago and despite promises to fix it, nothing has been done and a lot of customers feel abandoned as Sagem are no longer responding to questions about this issue. Generally speaking the over-the-air updates broke more than they fixed.

If you do a search you should be able to find a sagem specific forum and an "entertainment and media" forum where these issues are "discussed" in more depth.

If you find this model works for you then great but there are a lot of people who will NEVER EVER use anything with the Sagem label on it.


Standard Member
If none of the choices suggested can be turned off totally wthout unpluging get a switched extension lead for it, so you can turn it off completely
The purpose of the PVR is that it will turn on and off as needed to record the programs you've scheduled.

Having used the Sagem DVR62160SL-T for a few more days I've come across a few niggles worth mentioning:-

The EPG is very slow - I'm not sure if it repopulates everytime you switch on from stand-by or what - but when you first go into the EPG it will sometimes only show some of the programs in the listing for the channel and can take a while to update.
I have had one recording 'lock-up' on me - this was a film showing a length of nearly 2 hours where I could not move past 56 minutes in. I was editing the recording at the time (I had trimmed the adverts etc. from the start and was going to the end to trim that) so that may have caused the issue. Other edits have been fine.
The FastForward and Rewind speeds are little harsh - forward we have 1x, 4x, 10x, 60x, 300x and 600x and in reverse we have 4x, 10x, 60x, 300x, 600x - It's easy to press one time too many and fly though half the program rather than just the adverts.​

Perhaps I will be wishing later that I'd gone for the £179 Humax or the Digihome; but given the way everything is repeated and re-repeated nowadays losing the occasional program is not too big an issue.

[Edit] A month on and I've had no more 'lock ups' - The slow displaying EPG is definitely annoying and I still end up skipping 10 minutes past the adverts when I press FF once too often :)

[Edit] Three months further on; I received a software update about a week ago (0.6.4.d MH) - this has vastly improved the machine (so much sothat I thought it worth updating this post):-
  • The tuner seems to have been improved - I'd been missing some muxes & after the update they were available to me
  • The epg seems faster and easier to scan.
  • Recordings can be stored in sub-folders, the listing can be sorted alphabetically or by recording date and can be more easily scanned.
  • Recordings can be exported to USB in MPEG2 format (& watched on your PC or oimported into another PVR). I haven't experimented with the USB import facitlity.
  • The Next /Previous Chapter keys now skip through the recording in 5 minute jumps - not the best 'skip' function but better than none :)
The media player still only supports mp3 (not wma) music files and the media interface is still too slow to be really useable...

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