There’s no shortage of little black boxes on the market these days, Freeview+ HD PVRs included. Kudos to TVonics then for being bold with the HD500. But has it gone far enough with its features?
Beyond the TVonics logo and neat blue fluorescent display you can make out the circuitry inside. In every other way, it looks like a hybrid cross between a futuristic games console (PS4 perhaps) and a rather stubby snowboard. In any event, it’s a shame to stash it away on a shelf under the TV, though we suspect that’s what many will do.
Freeview+ HD certification means series link recording is supported enabling users to record two channels at once to the reasonably sized 500GB hard disk while watching a recording.
Toplining the connections list is a trio of HDMIs (two in, one out), which enables the HD500 to be used as an HDMI switch box. There’s also a single Scart and an optical S/PDIF that can also transcode HD channels’ HE-AAC broadcasts to Dolby for surround systems.
Picture quality is excellent. SD material upscaled to 1080p via HDMI show a discernible improvement over viewing them via Scart. Meanwhile, native HD broadcasts look faithfully crisp and colourful.
The remote is very usable and well designed though some oft-used buttons, such as Record and Library, could have been made more visible. l Fast forward and rewind speeds go up to 128x, but we experienced brief sound dropouts when returning to live TV while timeshifting.
USB ports on the right-hand side and rear, but these are for JPEG display and software updates only.
Price: £250 Approx
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