CHOICE membership

Hard disc drives connected to TV's


I wonder if it could be some sort of formatting issue . Maybe check the format of the drives is the same .


Hi , I did some research lots of posts saying that it wasn’t possible … a Panasonic


Here’s my experience:

I’ve used two TV’s (modest Sony 800B and el cheapo TCL) and one $50 Healing DTS. Each device claimed to have an internal PVR storing to external memory on a USB 2 port.

I haven’t seen a PVR using USB 3 though that would be best as transfer speed seems to be a major factor. In general, I found USB 2 memory sticks (Sandisk, Verbatim) were too slow for reliable recording.

The Sony TV has been recording reliably onto a cheap PNY 128 GB USB 3 memory stick for maybe two years. Note, the Sony does not have “catch up” mode.

The TCL never recorded reliably (ie longer than 10-20 minutes) onto anything USB 2 or 3.

The Healing did record pretty reliably onto cheap PNY 128 GB USB 3 stick - BUT - if “catch up” was enabled there were regular “skips” in the video where maybe half a second of video was lost (presumably because the memory couldn’t quite keep up) - viewable but annoying.

The solution was a regular USB 3 HDD (WD passport 2TB). It is running happily powered through the USB cable. In theory, the PNY has faster peak transfer rate, but it seems unable to maintain the fast rate long term, whereas the WD just chugs along for ever. The peak rate is not really relevant because it is all slowed down by the USB 2 port on the PVR.

Sony and TCL only worked if the HDD/stick were formatted FAT32 and the Healing supports both FAT32 and NTFS. I forget whether there was a size limit on the Sony or TCL but the Healing at 2TB is larger than I can use - 1TB would save a bit, I just had the 2TB lying around.

“Catch up” mode is a major load on the memory as everything is being recorded always - just in case you want to back track.

I am sure my Sandisk Extreme pro stick and any SSD in a USB box would work wonderfully, but it just seemed a bit ridiculous hanging them permanently off a $50 box.


Anyone who states something “computer” is not possible is misrepresenting. A PVR is a dedicated computer. What they really mean in virtually all cases is that they chose not to implement it because of some marketing or design or engineering or technology decision.

Some PVRs do not support copying but if they can be FTP servers and are networked, recordings can be copied off that way to a PC.


Not wanting to start another related stream, I have decided to continue with my question here (@ScottOKeefe) .

We want to buy an new PVR.

The Choice review ( is archaic :scream:, at least 16 months old! From my previous experiences, given the churn rate of new models, even six month old tech reviews are out of date, and recommended models very hard to find.

I would like to know if there is a new PVR review planned?

If not, can anyone recommend what the best value for money PVR is please? We don’t do anything fancy, we primarily record TV programs :tv: for later viewing and watch DVDs :dvd:. Very occasionally we will watch YouTube :projector:.

Your suggestions would be appreciated. :relaxed:




@meltam, Hi Tamás, We have a Humax 4Tune and a Topfield 2460; neither is a basic model. The Humax 7500 or 3000 might suit. Beyondwiz also has a decent reputation.

As I posted previously they all have quirks and avoid new to market unless you like beta testing. It has taken each generation of product at least a year for the firmware to settle down in the hands of users.

Whatever you look at, make sure there is a service and support website. Topfield/Toppro are nice products but have business issues in Australia and have essentially gone missing. eg try to find a support web site; whatever you buy you will probably need a firmware update during its life unless it is already >1 years in the market and your box has the latest, greatest already.


Thanks for your suggestions Phil.

I’m fine with not having a basic model. What I was alluding to was we want is a PVR that is easy to use and will be good at the fundamentals of recording (twin tuners & series recording), playback, and playing DVDs.


I use two USB TV tuners in the back of my PC to record any TV shows and series I want. I store them, the recordings, on my internal HDD that is set aside for Video recording and then move them onto external HDD if I want to long term store them. I used to have a twin tuner USB stick but after about 6 years it went to USB heaven. I haven’t bought another twin tuner model as the single ones are cheap as chips and so haven’t bothered looking.

Well I went looking and here is an example:
or here


Thanks @grahroll. As we use laptops I thought that it would be a great idea to use the USB stick in your first link (with a retired vintage laptop & an external HDD). It would have also been a cheaper option ($99) utilising things we already own.

Unfortunately, after having a discussion with the family, I don’t think that it will work with what we have. They don’t want to leave a laptop running all the time (dead battery), the complications of waiting for an extended time for it to boot, & the added complications of an operating system. Rather they want the simplicity of being able to turn the PVR on and it works.

Back to the proverbial drawing board.


Hi Tamás, we have an update test of PVRs scheduled for April.

From our current review, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the Humax 4Tune (I use one of these at home) and 2Tune, or the Panasonic DMR-BWT955GL (we use a 945 in the TV Lab). Looking at Panasonic’s current line-up, there appears to have been only minor updates. LG may have left the market, but our market researchers and buyers will be on the prowl for new models across all brands.

Regards, Scott.


Thank you @ScottOKeefe. I will have a look at these. If the wife woman can live without it then I will wait to see the new review in April.


I simply need a DVD player, not a PVR. Cannot find any Choice reviews. Can anyone help?


From 2016 and thus dated there is member content about blu-ray players (that are all DVD compatible).

The related buying guide is here.

Blu-ray has not set the world on fire compared to when old school DVD’s were introduced but buying a DVD (not blu-ray) player may be questionable these days even though they can be near cheap as chips. An increasing amount of content is produced on blu-ray that delivers quality mostly evident on newer TVs. As old technology is replaced it is usually best to adapt to the newest affordable even if one doesn’t need it at the moment; products on the market evolve to those new standards.

While we still buy the occassional DVD or blu-ray or get them from our library the market is slowly evolving to streaming content from services like netflix, Stan, SBS Viceland library, etc, and then there is freeview, which is off this topic but helps explain what is slowly happening to the player market and why PVRs are front and centre for the player market, and even that category seems to be static or shrinking regarding product choice.

There don’t seem to be unbiased credible recent DVD player reviews but there are a few you can take or leave by searching ‘best DVD player’ or similar.



Thanks, Phil. Good to know. I just need to develop the Gen X attitude that new is always better in the tech. world! Arrgg!


Hi again! If I buy a smart TV, will this alone be enough to stream DVDs and Blue-Rays?


A smart TV will let you stream (video delivered over the internet) movies and TV series that you might otherwise buy or rent on DVD or Blu-Ray discs. The video quality can be very nearly almost as good from services such as Netflix, Stan, and even the FreeView catch-up services like ABC iView and SBS On Demand. The apps for these are available on almost all new TVs, but you need a reasonably good internet connection for streaming. A slow connection will lead to the movie or TV show being shown in lower resolution.

If you want to watch actual DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, you’ll need to buy a player. Blu-Ray players will play DVDs, but DVD players can’t play Blu-Ray. The player connects to your TV with an HDMI cable. Some of these players support apps too, and so can be used to add smart functionality to an older ‘dumb’ TV.


We bought a PVR from the Choice review that had a DVD player in it as well. This way we can record programs like we used to with the old video recorders, but many, many, many, many, many, more due to the capacity of the hard disc drive (HDD) compared to the video tapes. We also borrow DVDs from the library (free!) and play them through the PVR to the TV. Best of both worlds!


Reference @ScottOKeefe’s and @meltam’s posts but also the threads about smart TV’s becoming obsolete and no longer supporting various ‘smart apps’ after only a few short years. It is technical obsolescence as well as business models.

PVR’s are generally more up to date than smart TVs and stay that way for longer. If you are technically a little savvy using a PC, chromebook,or even a higher end mobile phone with the TV as the display device are all better bets than depending on the apps in a smart TV that could be ‘intellectually challenged’ by apps stopping working as time moves ahead, and nobody wants to talk to you.

Not terribly reassuring, is it?


Thanks everyone for your insights. What I do not understand with the PVR is how does it communicate with the downloads on my PC?
My PC and NBN modem are in another room and have cable broadband. Do I need WiFi NBN modem?


Generally yes, but in cases no but still yes :smiley:

All the devices need a way to communicate to each other, and a connection to the internet to get the material in the first instance. I hope the following will be more helpful than confusing.

That is a good question that could challenge the technically disinclined and is dependent on product makes and models and home network itself and your goals. In a simplistic way a PVR and a PC do not have to communicate and each can provide source material to your TV independently; one solution is called DLNA that acts as glue between devices,

One can configure, say a PC, or a suitably endowed PVR, as a DLNA Sever and other devices on the network can display or play media located on them as ‘DLNA Clients’.

To make that connection all of the relevant devices need to be connected, be it through Wifi or wired ethernet. Depending on the age of your PC and TV, there may be an opportunity to plug the PC directly into the TV (if they are close enough and a cable can be routed) just like a PVR. Alternatively some new TVs can be configured as DLNA clients (or even servers in their own rights) and display material right off the PC that is the Server, assuming the TV is also connected to the network by wifi or wired ethernet.

These tutorials may be instructive although anything older than a few months can be dated already :wink:

In addition, streaming content to a TV can be as easy as particular mobile phones being capable of ‘casting’ displays onto compatible TVs. Note this only applies to particular makes and models, and in the case of the following requires ‘Chromecast’ software in one way or another.

and the ‘ways to do’ are not endless, but may seem close enough to infinite to end with confusion.

This topic could get long and detailed but I trust this gets you on track to understand some answers to your question. An aspro along the way may not be misplaced :wink:

I am not the best at providing detailed instructions so may step back for others who do it far better than myself.