Advantages HDD/DVD/Timeslip recording, connections, clear menus, price
Disadvantages Size, slowish start-up/preparation.
|Ease of Use|
|Ease of Installation|
|Range of Features|
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*FEATURES GALORE AT A PRICE...
Well where do you start with a machine like this......the beginning I guess - so here goes, we are previously heavy VCR users taping programmes galore on a daily basis for using and viewing between two VCR's in two separate rooms, and using a (rather sadly) 14 tape (two per day) recording and indexing system so organised and disciplined it would put NASA to shame, so after watching the advent of HDD/DVD players develop and drop in price over the past couple of years the decision to switch over was gingerly undertaken. The basic criteria being two units required - one for both rooms - preferably the same type for compatibility purposes of DVD's once written (as I know these machines are notorious for not liking other machines discs), must be HDD for convenience and having the ability to dub to DVD disc to be able to take to the other room - the last criteria being the price as we're obviously buying two.
INSTALLATION & SET UP
Well the deed done, the boxes arrived by next day Courier and the packaging excitedly opened, first thing I noticed was the physical size, although extremely slim at only 5cm high and quite acceptable at 33cm deep I was surprised at the width of 43cm compared to others on the market although in itself not a problem for us as it fitted happily into our main TV unit and the secondary TV wall bracket, the aesthetics themselves being very pleasing at a subtle 'brushed ' silver finish with a jet black front fascia for the buttons and DVD drawer.
Did the obligatory scratching the head spaghetti wiring up of connections between this, the SKY box, Dolby A/V receiver, TV and VCR whilst the missus and the rabbit cowered in the far corner of the garden awaiting this Novembers second firework display, but surprisingly and painlessly, all connected first time following the detailed instructions, switch on, TV to AV1 and bingo -there's the set up menu for the Akura.Followed the auto programme scan, found all the channels, did a quick TV channel reorganise via the VERY clear and user friendly on screen menus and within minutes was recording my first OTR timeslip recording.
INITIAL THOUGHTS & USE:
Now the best bit of a newly set up toy or gadget : feet up on the sofa, pint of Guinness in one hand, remote in the other and instruction book in the other (three hands ?) play with the buttons and explore. Once again the highly clear and self-explanatory menus came into their own with little reference required of the instruction book, only for clarification here and there.
GOOD BITS :
Timeslip recording (being able to record whilst watching another title, pausing live recording for a cuppa or a loo break then picking it up where you left off), set your own 'chapter' lengths for easy skipping through programmes to find reference points (default being 10 mins and good enough), editing and splitting of titles with the ability to change index picture so you can see at a glance on the HDD menu what the programmes are out of twenty or so stored programmes, parental settings for adult content DVD's, ability to 'lock' a recording to prevent accidental erasing (but you need the default password 0000 to unlock be warned if you change the password to note it down), 2 scart sockets, camcorder connections to the front (under a door), connection for external decoder (D2Mac ?) for further satellite/Cable opportunities, DIVX/CD/IMAGE(photo disc) playback............where do I stop.
We purchased a 10 pack of Tesco own brand DVD+RW discs at around a £1 each which both units are quite happy with, although they don't seem to like the 'press it' labels being applied so we found it best to stick to using a CD pen to write directly on the discs.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION:
Phew that's about it, not much more I can write, it's a mind boggling piece of kit for the price, and the long overdue transgression from VCR went smoothly and thus far without regret.
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