This is a good Freeview HD receiver with the option to record via USB to a stick or external hard drive. The EPG and some menus are a bit confusing at times but they work and there is the added option of organising your recordings using your PC onto several hard drives or hard-drive partitions. I didn't have any problems with the unit crashing, freezing or overheating until I had a power cut with the unit on. It then froze several times but using the "restore factory defaults" menu option has sorted it out and it has been fine since. Recordings use about 3gb an hour for HD or 1.5 gb for SD recordings.
I had no problem connecting my Lacie (Samsung) 1TB HDD which had two different partitions on it, one formatted with NTFS (for PC backup) the other with FAT 32, Provided the drive is powered up first. You can only record to a Fat 32 drive and the HDFV will format a drive or partition to Fat 32 if you ask it (be careful to select the right partition if you have more than one!). Note that versions of Windows (inc Vista) can only format partitions under 30GB to the older Fat 32 format so you will need the Technisat HDFV to format larger partitions or drives.
You might want several partitions e.g. to store different categories of programmes e.g. films, sport, natural history etc and you can easily switch between them in the "Recording media organiser" menu. This is preferable to having one large partition with a jumble of dozens of different types of recordings. You may need to delete or shrink a large partition first before you can create further partitions on a hard disk and you can rename partitions using your PC. There is no "series record" so you might want to create a dedicated folder or partition for a major new series. You need to be comfortable using PCs to do this sort of thing but the Windows help menus are pretty good on this - see disk management, formatting partitions etc. One important tip is that with some versions of Windows you can only create up to 4 partitions, 3 primary and one extended. However in the 4th, extended, partition you can create as many "logical" drives as you like which will be recognised by the HDFV. If partitioning a large new drive my tip is don't create the first three partitions bigger than you need to leave plenty of free space to create several logical drives of say 100gb each to format with the HDFV and then rename with your PC. NB Windows 8 and 8.1 cannot format to FAT32.
I'm getting a 16gb USB stick (£10) so I don't need to leave my external hard drive powered up when I am away to timer record (I can then copy them over on the laptop if I want to using Windows Explorer). Update: I got a standard Sandisk USB stick which the HDFV says is not quite fast enough. It seems to work OK but HD recordings may occasionally breakup and timer recordings may not be reliable so it is advisable to get a fast USB stick rather than a standard one. An external HDD is generally best so maybe I'll get one of the portable ones powered direct from the USB socket (i.e. not direct from the mains). Please post if you have successfully used one of these portable drives powered by USB. I instead got a fast 16gb usb stick from ByteStor for under £10 which the HDFV says is fast enough and so far I have had no problems with timer recordings unlike the slower standard Sandisk.ByteStor 16GB USB High Speed "Dataferry" Flash Drive
You can use the HDFV to tidy up timer recordings by inserting bookmarks and copying the range between them to a new file or deleting the range. One criticism is that you can't use the HDFV to reorder your recordings or to copy files from one partition (or device) to another (in a playable form). However you can easily use your PC (Windows Explorer) provided there isn't already a recording starting with the same file number in the destination folder: if there is it will get confused and not play them all back correctly. Just copy over the relevant (even-numbered) .TS file(s) together with the odd-numbered file which follows. Your recordings will appear in date order in the new location. You can use the "range copy" menu to get round a conflict as this creates a new file with a different number, then delete the original recording you copied (importantly) On The HDFV, not on your PC.
[I thought I might be able to get round this by connecting the HDFV to my PC using a LAN cable. I managed to do this using the DCHP Server option (not Client as stated in the manual) but still couldn't copy files across in a playable format using the HDFV so I can't really see the point of connecting the HDFV direct to a PC - just move files around by connecting your usb storage device(s) direct to your PC if you want to, it's much quicker and easier.] Apparently the reason for the lack of a copy function is to prevent piracy but you can still only play the recordings through your HDFV and I don't see why you shouldn't be able to rearrange your recordings on your hard drive!
Don't be put off by the previous paragraphs - you can easily use this unit as just a Freeview HD receiver or simple recorder, or as described you can organise your recordings (quite easily once you know how) in different partitions etc using your PC. I guess you can also use a Mac to do this but I haven't tried it.
It also has both analogue and digital sound outputs and a menu option to sort out any lip sync issues. An HDMI cable is included.
So overall I would recommend the HDFV even though it is not perfect. As always shop around for best price as they vary dramatically. Note: there is an option to stop automatic updates which stops the automatic retuning which some people have reported as a problem.
PS Please do post a comment or review about USB sticks or hard drives which do or don't work with the HDFV as Technisat is being rather coy about this. See the Comments for Technisat's advice on suitable hard drives.
UPDATE 18 JUNE 2013: NEW BBC RED BUTTON BUG
The BBC during the Olympics used a red button on its Freeview HD channel to switch to another HD channel for additional coverage. This problem then returned on all BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD programmes.... When the red button appears the picture goes off. Technisat hasn't issued an update for this bug BUT you can get round it by pressing RECORD (or PAUSE and PLAY) assuming you have attached recording media via USB. The picture reappears as normal (initially this didn't work meaning you could neither watch nor record BBC HD channels.) This problem seems to have gone away thank goodness.
UPDATE: FREEVIEW HD Channels moved to 101-104
My HDFV struggled with the move of these channels on 17/10/12 perhaps not helped because I'd left it tuned to BBC HD on Ch 54. It took several resets (hold power button, then change channel). Only restoring factory defaults via menu finally sorted it out as normal retune was insufficient... I hope it goes smoother for you.
My advice to Technisat is to bring out an HDFV2 which focuses on the core functions of Freeview HD tuner and recorder. Make it more robust to prevent crashes and revise the menus to make them clearer. Introduce series record and enable recordings to be reordered, preferably from one partition on the same drive to another. Sort out the red button bug. The ability to record HD to different external storage devices is very useful but the implementation needs improvement.
If unavailable consider this bargain alternative now that the lip-sync issue has been sorted out:August DVB400 HD Freeview Set Top Box - 1080p DVB-T Receiver and Multi Media Player with HDMI Out and Digital Coaxial Audio Out - USB PVR Style TV Recording