Last week I bought a "Dgtec HDPVR5009" High-definition Personal Video Record from Dick Smith electronics. Today I returned it, which is a bit disappointing.
It should be a reasonably adequate device. It doesn't have AV input, so I cannot digitise old videos, it doesn't have USB for external storage or network or any of those frills. But it has twin HD DVB-T tuners and 500GB of internal disk drive, and HDMI output, so it should do basic recording and playback OK. But it doesn't.
Also there seem to be a lot of rough edges on the software, enough to make me feel it would constantly annoy me.
The big problems were:
- While playing a recording the audio would sometimes drop out. At first I thought there must have been a signal problem during recording, but the video was fine. Then I discovered that if I rewind and play again, the audio will be there. Even "pause then play" will bring back the audio. But sometimes it only comes back for a minute to two. The audio is there, it just wasn't playing. This didn't always happen. Often I could watch a recording with no problems. But the fact that it happened at all is a worry.
- Sometimes - possibly dependent on the particular channel I was watching - the audio and video would be a fraction of a second out of sync. When you can see the lips of the person who is talking, this can be very disconcerting. When I want the show using the DVB-T receiver in the TV, it is perfect, when I watch through the Dgtec, it was bad. Again, this wasn't all the time, and may have been fairly rare. But I don't want a device that does that.
Those were enough to convince me to take the device back. Other problems are relatively minor but still an annoyance.
- It was awkward to switch between watching the TV live, and watching the on-going recording. There is a 'freeze' button which freezes the image. But when press it again, it doesn't continue from where it was, but rather jumps forward to the current time.
- When you do switch to the recording of the current program, you can fairly easily jump forward towards the end, but you can also very easily jump past the end which wraps around to the start again. Going back from the start doesn't take you to the end. So it is quite hard to fast forward to the end of the recording, which is the moment currently being recorded.
- There is a nice feature where you can 'mark' the current point in a recording, and it shows as a little mark when you show the slider control for navigating around the recording. However there is no way to jump to the next/previous mark, so the marks are fairly useless. At least, I couldn't find a way, and the documentation didn't list one.
- The device supports a list of 'favourite' channels so that it is easy to jump to the channel you want without having to hunt through a long list. However when creating a timer event to record a program, it doesn't allow access to this 'favourites' list, and it doesn't default to the 'current' channel. So you still have to hunt through a long list
- When you record a program, it chooses a name for the file base on the name of the program being recorded. But if you want to change this name it isn't easy. Despite the remote having a mobile-phone-like keypad with 3 or 4 letters per digit, you cannot use this to enter a new file name. You have to use arrow buttons to walk around an on-screen key board, and press 'select' for the letters you want. And don't bother trying to enter a space, you cannot.
So, a long way less than perfect. And while the price-point ($400) would lead you not to expect perfection, it was to me sufficiently far from perfect to be unusable. Your mileage might vary....