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.
Echostar HDS 600RS – Best Freesat HD PVR
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.
Humax HDR Fox T2 – Best Freeview HD PVR
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.
Sky+ HD 2TB – Best Sky PVR
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.
YouView DTR-T1000 – Best Youview HD
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.
BT Vision 2 – Best alternative to Sky/Virgin
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.
- Best Buy PVRs – Find out the PVR models Which? rates as a Best Buy.
- How we test PVRs – More information on how Which? lab tests PVRs.
- PVRs features explained – All the PVR features explained in a nutshell.