Humax hope you think the VCR is dead enough to throw your current VHS deck in the dustbin and buy its PVR (personal video recorder) unit as a replacement, forgetting the past in one swift move.
On the outside the PVR-8000T is a sleek, shiny box that will comfortably sit under the television the stand’s VCR/DVD/Console shelf. Measuring the standard 17” wide, the unit features a digital LED display. Relevant menu and option buttons are on the front, making life simple if you happen to lose the remote. The only complaint is the noise of the fan, similar to that of the Xbox. This can become slightly off-putting during a film and the only way we found to combat this was to turn the volume up, something our neighbours weren’t too happy about.
On the inside, the unit offers not only a PVR system allowing you record or pause live television, but also a Freeview decoder allowing you to get up to 30 digital TV channels all at the press of a button.
The PVR side of things is straightforward and simple. Because of the addition of the Freeview element, you can record or pause any of the channels easily. The internal 40Gb hard drive offers around 20 hours of recording and setting the unit to record is similar to setting the timer on your old video recorder. Once recorded, all the usual functions you would expect are available to you - fast forward, rewind, pause and slow motion. The recording quality is very good - resembling the live feed with minimal loss of quality- and SCART, spDIF and phono sockets make for easy connection to the home cinema amplifier.
Setup is automatic. All you have to do is plug it in and as long as you are in a Freeview area you will have all the channels programmed and set up for you. The Humax does offer an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) although this only offers information on what is on now or next. This isn’t Humax’s fault, merely a problem with the way the information is currently broadcast.
If that wasn’t enough the unit also offers four games for the bored. Variants on classics such as Tetris, Pipemania and Othello are all there and it does kill some time if the deluge of new channels still doesn’t present anything worth watching- which happens more often than you’d think.
If you're looking for a PVR this is a good unit to choose. It's cheap, does the job it sets out to do and is easy to install. The addition of Freeview should appeal to terrestrial diehards, giving them the likes of BBC Three and a barebones Sky service for no additional cost above than your standard TV licence. Of course its not all good news, the unit as mentioned above is noisy and because there is only one tuner you can't watch any other Freeview channel at the same time. Fed up with all those tapes lining around? This may just be the answer to a clutter free living room.