CHOICE membership

Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) review


True, but how many concurrent recordings will 1 TV make, and netflix is a subscription that requires a good net connection, so while a great solution for some, the combination is not right for everyone.

Hear hear!! Strong applause. Strong applause.


We’ve updated our PVR review for 2019 for those interested.


We received a Beyonwiz U4 (not tested) last week. Awesome with enough settings to make a linux techie’s head spin - considering it is a PVR. Choice might consider including that one on an update.

It comes with or without an included HDD; doing a BYO saves a few dollars over getting one preinstalled. Support includes a community and numerous youtube tutorials, including one how to install the HDD in addition to a fairly responsive email/web form helpdesk. The user manual itself is basic and leaves much to be discovered beyond covering the basic and obvious functionality.


Thank you for updating PVRs, This like other electronics is a constantly evolving area, and last years products may be out of production, or left behind technologically.

When we bought our PVRs having an optical disc player was very important so we could play movies we borrow from the library. I know there are ways around it if there isn’t one, but it’s so much easier if there is one.

There is no search filter for optical disc and whether it is DVD or BD. I think there should be.

Also, the usb port and presence of usb 3 port should be one above the other, not separated by HDD. Similarly, Wi-Fi & Wi-Fi Direct should be together, not separated by a lots of stuff.

One thing that I am not clear on, the max HDD - is that the max provided or the max the machine will recognise. That is, is it possible to put in a larger capacity HDD, even though it may not be provided with the machine. The other thing that wasn’t mentioned in relation to HDDs was - is it possible to install a second internal HDD?

Finally, if it is possible to copy files to view elsewhere, what is the file format used?


The ideal way is to copy the recorded program from the PVR (usually via FTP) and edit it with a free program like iMovie. For more features, Final Cut Pro has all the bells and whistles (at a price).


Good question. This depends on the unit. Some may be able to accommodate a hard disc of greater capacity, many may not. You need to carefully read the tech details in the manual, which (sadly) may not provide that info.

Simple answer is: probably not. I have not seen a PVR with either the space, or connections, to support a second HDD; except for the Humax 4Tune, which can accept a second HDD in a dedicated tray.

The few PVRs I have seen which support this use .MPG format and can copy the files via FTP. You will probably need to convert these files to MP4 to view on many recent devices, such as iPhone or iPad.


FAR too much rubbish on free to air, not even counting the so-called “reality” shows.


Not counting the same rubbish broadcast on all 3 of their precious digital services, that government is happy for them to use for no useful purpose. Nothing like 15-20 services all showing the same 3 or 4 rubbish low cost American imported ‘reality’ shows, with a few of our own thrown in :roll_eyes:

If the media companies cannot show different programming on each of their services, those ‘copy’ services should be confiscated say I.


Hi @meltam

Thanks for the feedback on the layout of the product finder, I’ll look into accommodating your suggestions on the WiFi, USB and optical disc selections.

PVRs are an interesting category and one that is becoming less compelling for many users used to subscription services such as Netflix and Stan and catch up channels for the Free to air networks allowing you to stream previously shown shows rather than recording them. Most new TVs also allow you to record live broadcast TV to a USB hard drive and while they don’t offer the full functionality and features of a dedicated PVR, it performs well for the occasional show you want to keep or watch later.

Regarding your question on the max HDD, I would need more info to give a definitive answer. Panasonic are really the only player left in the Australian market to provide a Blu ray player and PVR and I wouldn’t recommend you opening up the unit to put in another drive. However most recent PVRs of any make will allow you to add an external drive that is formatted to work only with the PVR and is an easy way to expand your recording capacity. A couple of the PVRs also allow you to record directly to the external drive, rather than having to copy the files from the internal to the external drive and these features are noted in the product finder.

Of the PVRs we have tested over the years, we have found the Humax 4Tune and some Beyonwiz PVRs to be the only models where you can copy the recording off the drive to be viewed on another device and the file format. You can also install a standard 2.5 inch HDD to double the storage from 1TB to 2TB for the Humax. Unfortunately, we have been getting a lot of reports of flaky performance, including our tester who has one at home and continues a love/hate relationship with the device.

While there has been requests to continue testing Beyonwiz PVRs and we have tested several Beyonwiz PVRs, we will look into the Beyonwiz U4 if we can be fairly certain that the company will continue to offer support for the product.




I’m still using a Topfield TRF 2400. Supports TAPS (topfield apps) and 1 app in particular allows programming time jump to the 4 coloured buttons, so in playback there are 4 jump times that can be assigned. I use plus 1 min, plus 30 sec, plus 15 sec and minus 20 sec, just the shot for finding the start of a show or skipping adds. Sadley Topfield fell by the wayside.


I have a Fetch Mighty but really wish I had just got the mini. I never remember to record anything (and generally dont care that I forgot). I found that its become more reliable in its recording over the past few years but that was more down to the stations than the device… programs almost never start when advertised and so never finish when advertised. I find that catchup TV is easier, although some programs never make it into catchup.


Agree. Incredibly frustrating when you miss the story’s underpinnings, or miss the denouement.

Sad but true with some BBC shows on the ABC.


And once, we were able to subscribe to BBC iPLayer for $10/month and now we cannot. There are ways and means, but the BBC is soon insisting on a membership to be able to see, as well as a TV licence.


When I was young (and my parents decided to go TV-less) I never thought I would say this once I was able to buy my own television, but… there are more entertaining options out there.

I sat down earlier this summer to watch a little cricket, and it was the first TV I had watched in several years! My wife watches cooking shows and ‘reality’ shows like Married at First Sight. This sounds like a nightmare to me - why watch people who don’t know one another learn about each others’ faults on TV, when you can see the same garbage at the local shopping centre.

TV has turned into a mind suck of absolutely horrible shows that display the worst in people - and we are supposed to find this entertaining? I am aware that there are exceptions, but a quick look at the TV guide shows me many more channels than we used to have, almost all showing something utterly mindless and inane!

/rant off


Please trust your instinct - reality TV, as much as that is a contradiction in terms, is truly a nightmare, from which in one way or another, none of us can escape (directly or by proxy) … :rofl:

Years since I’ve looked at a TV guide - there is about a 3 metre air gap between my aerial socket and TV, and that’s how it will stay. It’s even hard to find something on Nutflix that I can watch to conclusion without stressing about ‘brain wither’ …

I didn’t notice any ranting :rofl::joy::rofl::joy:

I have a PVR - it was switched on for years and I can’t even remember what model it was. About 4 years ago when I moved I connected it all up and thought maybe I’d use it and that aerial thing etc etc … seems the hard drive was dead, probably had been for a long time. It still sits in my pile of items vaguely related to entertainment but it’s switched off … it looks nice though … nice shiny front panel and impressive blue light … (just went out an looked) - its a Topfield TRF-7160. I wonder how much it costs to keep the blue light running? (ref other post on standby power …)


The best of both worlds. Put a dab of blue paint over the ‘on light’. No need to plug it in or feel guilty :rofl:


Ya know… there’s a lot more to TV than reality TV. SBS and ABC have some great shows. And, I have no problem finding watchable TV on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Kanopy.