What’s the best PVR? – A top five guide

best PVRs

Which? rounds up the top five best five PVRs currently available. We cut through the quagmire of specifications to give you the best information on PVRs.

Which? rounds up the top five best five PVRs currently available in the UK. From Freeview to Freesat, we provide you with all the information on the best PVR for your needs.

Read our guide on how to buy the best PVR for more information, plus don’t forget to look at our PVR reviews for more details on the best PVRs.

Echostar HDS 600RS – Best Freesat HD PVR

The Echostar HDS 600RS lets you watch TV remotely.

The Echostar HDS 600RS features a large 500GB hard drive that will record the full range of standard and HD channels on offer from Freesat. Its electronic programme guide (EPG) is good, bold, easy to read and intuitive to navigate. If you have a broadband connection you can access BBC iPlayer, too.

The 600RS also comes with a feature called SlingLoaded, which lets you watch TV remotely and control it from a PC, Mac or suitable mobile device. That said, it lacks two Freesat+ features that most new PVRs have – broadcast recommendations and trailer booking, which enables users to set a TV programme to record when its trailer is being viewed.

To find out how this PVR performed in our tests, read our Echostar HDS 600RS review.

Humax HDR Fox T2 – Best Freeview HD PVR

This Humax HDR Fox T2 features a 500GB hard drive.

You’ll be up and running within 10 minutes with this Freeview HD PVR, thanks to its easy-to-follow guide. The Humax supports 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound which works well if you hook it up to a home cinema system via its optical output.

This model also has a 500GB hard drive, which is more than ample storage space for films and TV shows. The Fox T2’s only notable drawback is a lack of trailer booking.

To see how this PVR performed against other freeview HD models, see our Humax HDR Fox T2 review.

Sky+ HD 2TB – Best Sky PVR

skyhd-2tb

This Sky+ box can record 1,180 hours of standard-definition TV.

This is the perfect choice if you often run short of space on your current Sky box. It has the largest hard drive we’ve seen in a PVR – a gigantic 2TB. This equals 1,180 hours standard-definition or 350 hours of HD programmes – six times as much as a standard Sky+ HD box. No more arguing over what shows to delete.

In addition to regular satellite TV shows, users of the Sky+ HD 2TB can watch catch-up TV services, such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player. Depending on your Sky subscription, this bumper-sized storage capacity can cost £149, which means the more affordable Sky+ HD PVR is well worth a look too.

Read our Sky Digital Sky+ HD 2TB review to see how it fares against the competition.

YouView DTR-T1000 – Best Youview HD

You can’t organise your recordings into folders with the YouView DTR-T1000.

Also known as the Humax DTR-T1000, this PVR was the first box to combine catch-up services and Freeview content in one EPG. Available at retail from £240,  BT also offer this PVR for free if you subscribe to one of their phone and broadband bundles. TalkTalk offer a similar bundle deal for access to Youview, but with a Huawei model instead of the PVR mentioned here.

We did find that the PVR has a slow cold boot up time (eco mode high) – timed at approximately 2 minutes. Youview have reduced the boot up time since launch via software updates but there’s still some work needed.

How does this PVR compare against other models? Read our in-depth Youview DTR-T1000 review.

BT Vision 2 – Best alternative to Sky/Virgin

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There’s only 80 hours of storage with the BT Vision 2.

The BT Vision 2 is essentially a Freeview PVR that can access and record all the regular Freeview content and connected via BT’s broadband service. It lacks access to HD channels and the content available will depend upon your subscription package from BT.

The PVR itself is pretty basic. It lacks some of the advanced features seen in other PVRs here (such as split recording and conflict resolution), and features a meagre 160GB hard drive, which can only store approximately 80 hours of content. This absence of HD channels may not be ideal, but it’s still a worthy Sky/Virgin alternative.

Read our initial thoughts when this PVR first launched, BT Vision 2 first look.

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4 replies

  1. Page 68 April 1013 am I missing somthing here re a problem with no inbuilt wy fi ? Waht about the Which reomended throught the mains conection which can be bought at low cost
    My takl talk “Youview” works perfectly with the box under the TV and the router in a bedroom/office with my laptop. When I spotted “expert” Ryan shaw’s spot I thought this would explain all – but no. Suggest you include this omission in your next issue with the missing picture of the talktalk box. I find this works as on the tin except I find the sound volume is not as high as the TV

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment regarding the April 2013 PVR article.

      We mention the lack in-built wi-fi as a con because not everyone has their router close by the PVR for a direct connection, and they want internet connectivity out-of-the-box. It also helps to cut down on cable clutter.

      That said, there are some alternatives when wi-fi is not available, such as Powerline adaptors (network connectivity over exiting power lines) or using a wi-fi adaptor (converting physical network connections to wi-fi).

  2. I feel PVR reviews should include those PVRs that have an internal DVD burner.

    I have firsthand experience of two of my own Panasonic FreeView PVRs with internal DVD burner and one FreeSat PVR with internal DVD burner which I installed for my brother.

    Clearly these will need replaced at some time and advice in this area would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Now Im really confused. I want a PVR that allows me to record Free view TV, play DVDs and watch Iplayer etc.
    My home broadband wifi router is upstaris in my office next to PC, I am reluctant to move it. What kit/wires do I need to connect the PVR to internet, if not able to do so WIFI. I do not want a satellite. My TV is smart if you knoe what I mean!

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