Sony RDR−HXD870B overview

I have been looking for a reasonably priced, but full featured harddisk recorder since we came to Australia, as a replacement to what we had in Europe (the Philips one). Mind you, not that TV over here is so great, far from. We only have about 7 ‘freeview’ channels to choose from, and mostly it’s the usual commercial (though sometimes entertaining) crap. But sometimes you want to ‘tape’ something (Heroes, Lost,…) when you’re not home, or have better things to do. I already had a cheap digital settop box (because analog reception is really crap).

I started out buying a LG DVD-VHS combi drive which could record programs from the settop box. It could even do some timeshifting if I used the DVD-ram discs. And with the VCR we could copy old holiday tapes over to DVD* (again). The LG had a really nice interface, but as expected, you build up a pile of DVD’s, laying around.

I then bought an Elgato EyeTV Diversity, but that requires my MacBookPro to be on all the time (it doesn’t wake up from sleep) and having the Mac at home. And sometimes it does act up, not recording, or just bad reception (even with a dual tuner, it doesn’t seem to sync them both up). It is more useful for when I am at home, and watching television, while recording something else on the Mac. Additionally it can do HD too.

I also got me a Tevion TPVR1100 (Aldi) dual SD digital tuner pvr with 250Gb HDD. But it didn’t allow you to edit recordings, and it didn’t add markers to them (so you had to fastforward through a recording). It was also pretty noisy at times. And the remote sometimes unresponsive. But Aldi has a very good return policy, 60 days, no questions asked (well, actually they did).

So I was still looking. I was considering a Philips again, but I’m also quite a Sony fanboy, but found most of them too expensive, or lacking the right features. We don’t have a fancy TV (like a full HD LCD or plasma), just a plain old CRT. So an HD tuner for HD recording wasn’t on my list. It was also looking for a DVD recorder for archiving (with good DVD-r’s!). And it had to be a HDD with editing capabilities, to trim and edit out the ads. Apparently, you can’t find DVD recorders with an HD tuner anyway, as that would need downscaling. But I guess it’s just a matter of time before we see those.

So then came the Xmas sales. And Myer offered this very recent Sony RDR-HXD870 for an interesting $594 AUD in stead of the RRP $699. I grabbed my iPhone and Googled for some reviews. There were similar devices around from Samsung, Panasonic at about the same price, but none with HD upscaling though. The reviews looked all pretty good. It works nicely, though I’m a bit disappointed at the user interface, which is pretty bland and uninspiring. The LG had a much nicer interface, as did my old Philips (but that had a couple of bugs). Normally I would have done a bit more research before buying anything, but I was in need of some retail therapy. There you go…

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