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I have been using Freeview for a while now with a single set top box and as with many other people I was getting fed up that I couldn't record two digital channels or even record one and watch another. My solution to this problem was to look into the growing range of personal video recorders PVR's that are coming onto the market.
The guidelines for my purchase were that I wanted to have a twin tuner which would allow recording of 2 digital channels and I also wanted to keep to a budget of £120 max. Be careful here as not all twin tuner recorders will let you record 2 programs at the same time. The Technika one does but many record one channel whilst you watch another.
Unfortunately my budget ruled out Humax and Topfield which most people seem to think are the best as they are about £160+.
I bought the Technika about a week ago and have to say that I am pretty impressed with it so far. There are loads of reasons why I am happy with this, first off Tesco's are selling them for £95 which is well within my budget. Secondly it took 2 minutes to plug in download all the channels, even though the user guide is a bit basic.
The easiest way way to record a program is to open up the electronic program guide (EPG), find the program and click the record button, all done. In all the programs I have recorded this way I haven't missed either the start or the ending. You can set up 50+ timed recordings that go further into the future but this is a bit more fiddly than using the EPG. The program guide is very intuitive and slightly customisable.
The picture and sound quality is excellent, much better than my old freeview box and a 160GB disk will hold about 100 hours of TV which is fine for me and my family.
When I looked into the different products I found http://www.ricability-digitaltv.org.uk/pages/products/digital_tvs/index.asp ?Product=Technika%20AEDTR160S7 useful to compare similar products although this site states that this box has series link which I can't seem to find or get working. This is a nice to have facility as it allows you to record an entire series by just setting it to record once rather than repeatedly for each episode.
There are some more toys within the system like picture in picture and you can simply archive recordings off to video or DVD. Pausing live TV is simple, if you are watching a program and you are interupted you can press pause and it will store up to 2 hours of TV. Pressing play later resmes where the story left off. If you are just watching a program and you miss something however you can't wind it back a bit (unless you chose earlier to record it).
I have rated this as good although for under £100 it is almost an excellent. Most other cheap recorders have lots of Internet postings stating reliability problems. This seems well thought out and not far behind the functionality offered by the high end recorders.
For me this box completely changes the way I watch television. I record everything I want and then watch it when I want. I used to channel hop mid evening and end up on a news channel as I couldn't find anything I fancied to watch. Now I just look in my recorders library and watch.
So much simpler than an old VHS or DVD recorder at a good price.
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