Customer Reviews


119 Reviews
5 star:
 (24)
4 star:
 (23)
3 star:
 (17)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (41)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much maligned....
After reading these reviews, their certainly are two camps of thought, however I took the plunge and bought one as the form factor (basically size) dictated that something small was needed. After install, I have to confess the initial software was very counter intuitive with selecting OK from the Guide means you want to record it but not watch it. However I downloaded...
Published on 1 Dec 2010 by MattG

versus
178 of 181 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great looks let down by some software issues
I bought the Philips HDT8520 Freeview HD PVR in order to watch and record the new Freeview HD channels. Before I bought this model I was considering the Digital Stream and 3view models. The 3view still hasn't been released so I went for the Philips PVR based on its good looks and the fact it is engineered by Pace.

The box is physically smaller than I expected...
Published on 22 May 2010 by Simon Heather


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

178 of 181 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great looks let down by some software issues, 22 May 2010
By 
Simon Heather - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought the Philips HDT8520 Freeview HD PVR in order to watch and record the new Freeview HD channels. Before I bought this model I was considering the Digital Stream and 3view models. The 3view still hasn't been released so I went for the Philips PVR based on its good looks and the fact it is engineered by Pace.

The box is physically smaller than I expected due in part to its external power supply brick (like a laptop) and has a very smart clear display. It has a gimmicky pulsating light on the top edge which is best turned off. I used the HDMI connection to my Panasonic Plasma TV and stereo audio connection to my amplifier. Setup was quick and found all three HD channels. The picture quality of HD was excellent and the SD channels also looked good. Watching ITV1 in HD was so much better even with upscaled HD programs (only a few programs are native HD).

Recordings use AR (accurate recording) but there is no padding option currently so sometimes recordings may get clipped if the AR broadcast isn't accurate. There seem to be a few glitches in the HD transmissions which cause occasional "HDCP authentication error" messages and some of the HD broadcasts with surround sound have had garbled audio - this seems to be common across Freeview HD boxes so isn't specific to the Philips.

The EPG is currently quite weak and needs some more work on it - it is not possible to select a program to view from the EPG - you can only record it. To change channel you have to enter the channel number or use program up/down buttons. Hopefully this will be sorted in the next software update. Another missing feature is padding.

Overall I am fairly happy with the Philips PVR and give it three stars purely for the HD picture quality. When they fix the major problems it will be a four star product - adding features like BBC iPlayer would make it five stars. There is a software update planned for end of July (with another in September) so people may wish to wait until this upgrade is released and then they will know whether the bugs are fixed - Pace have not issued a list of what is going to be fixed in this release.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Opportunity, 7 July 2010
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
This box has, or had, the potential to be one of the best. Sadly, this idea was not communicated to the quality control unit at Pace (where the box was made) - or, for that matter, to the software department of the same, who appear to have approached the development much as a two year-old might approach his autobiography.

As, aside from the numerous software faults - some of which need to be seen to be believed (search for Philips HDT8520 bugs for more information but including randomly not recording your programmes), there were a number of features inexplicably missing from the original release, such as (but not restricted to) the ability to move to channels directly from the EPG and manually set recording times. Additionally, some units (mine included) were supplied with the front LED display crookedly mounted, leading me to believe that they may have been assembled on a Friday afternoon after a lunchtime bender.

As of early July 2010, I am told that a software update/fix will apparently be available soon, although nobody at Philips seems to have the faintest idea exactly when this would be and, as of a month ago, estimates at when it would appear varied wildly, depending on who you talked to - anywhere from June to August - basically they had no idea, but would apparently rather give you an incorrect answer than admit this. In any case, it's a shame the box was released with so many issues. The software update facility isn't a substitute for testing and QA and it shouldn't be there to allow your unit to be beta tested by the paying public. I know a number of them have been returned for this very reason.

All this said, I decided to stick with it. At least until two days ago (5th July), when it finally decided that it wasn't going to tune to any channels anymore. So I am left running through the remaining programmes recorded (the ones that actually did record) before taking the thing back. So much for a Freeview unit released for the World Cup. I shall be watching the final on my old Humax - 'cause slow and crashy though it is, at least it'll work.

I am happy that some people have had a five star experience with this box - I wish any future purchasers all the best and, with the bugs fixed, may you have many years of happy viewing/recording in HD and SD. However, this has not been my experience thus far and it has been experiences such as my own which will perhaps lay the groundwork for that scenario, should Philips and Pace learn their lesson from this bungled attempt.

It's small, sleek, fast and light. But beware the beautiful assassin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much maligned...., 1 Dec 2010
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
After reading these reviews, their certainly are two camps of thought, however I took the plunge and bought one as the form factor (basically size) dictated that something small was needed. After install, I have to confess the initial software was very counter intuitive with selecting OK from the Guide means you want to record it but not watch it. However I downloaded 5.15 firmware from Philips site, put onto a USB stick and performed the software upgrade, and wham, its done and what a difference.
I had a Sony RDR-HXD860 with 320Gb drive and HDMI out going into my Yamaha soundbar, the standard definition picture with the Sony always had lines in the background and noise. Not too annoying but slightly distracting nevertheless. The SD Freeview picture from the Philips is just lovely, upscaled to 1080i or 720p and no lines, clean as a bell, it looks like HD quite frankly.
As per the guide, recording ease etc, all seems very natural, I use a Logitech Harmony universal remote 555 and it worked first time out of the box, so that was painless also.
Only negatives is that the sound output is slightly quieter than the Sony but not a major problem, changing channels takes 1 second so it isn't instant. But I am splitting hairs, I couldn't be happier and I would strongly recommend this product especially with the new firmware from Philips/Pace.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfit for sale, 27 Oct 2010
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Even after two firmware upgrades (v4.22 August 2010 and v5.15 November 2010), this box is still riddled with bugs. Since upgrading to v5.15 the box has crashed three times in 17 days and required power cycling each time. Typically this occurs if it tries to do two things at once - for example if you're browsing the EPG just as it starts to record a programme. The sound volume bug still hasn't been fixed. Releasing such a shoddy product onto the market is borderline criminal, IMHO. Avoid like the plague.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Philips HDT8520 - Unit Good but full of bugs, 6 Aug 2010
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
The Philips HDT8520 looks wonderful, the picture is wonderful. But the system is bug ridden. Put out early to catch the world cup market. Philips could not be more unhelpful if they closed down and put a duck in charge of their help desk. No advice, no hints. "There will be an update in June, er no, definately July...umm opps no August...yes definately August". But still nothing, not even a note about what the updates will fix. I am forced to stay will this box, but you know what, I am young and I earn good money, so a life time of never buying another Philips product will at least hit their crappy balance sheet. Shame on them. Avoid!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars flawed, 12 Aug 2010
By 
N. Hobbs (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
First off the good bits. Its a great looking machine, has all you need in the box, easy to setup, BBC1 HD looks amazing, virtually silent in use.
The downside is it is badly let down in its operation.
You can't use the EPG to choose a programme to watch, only for setting the timer.
When in the EPG all sound is muted & no picture is visible.
You can only use arrows to scroll one line at a time in EPG. You can't move a page at a time & if you get to the bottom it doesn't roll over to the top you have to laboriously click up a million times.
If you select a program to record that is on a HD & normal channel it will usually record both not the one you select.
You have to press stop button twice to stop! First press prompts you to make sure thats what you want
No facility to set timers manually
When you switch the unit on my Samsung TV does not switch inputs automatically, you have to manually choose.
Sometimes locks up
Sometimes picture has green cast with vertical lines, both these cured by turning off & back on
The top illumination light comes on for no reason when the machine is switched off.

A software upgrade is promised for August/September which may address some of these issues.

Can't believe this has been released with such a rubbish method of operation, come on Philips, expect much better from you!

UPDATE:
with the latest software applied it is a much better machine, it actually does what it is supposed to do. Illumination light still has a mind of its own. It has mucked up 2 recordings though, one was unplayable and the other split itself into 2 recordings for no reason. As long as it does not muck up any recordings I am actually pleased with the Philips now. 21-08-11
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not great out of the box, but perfect after latest firmware update!, 9 July 2011
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Despite reading several 'below par' and 'avoid' reviews, I decided to take the plunge and buy the HDT8520 as I picked it up for a bargain price, brand new and sealed (not from Amazon I hasten to add).

Opened the box and you can't help but admire it's looks. I'd probably go as far as saying that it is undoubtedly one of the best looking (and sized) Freeview HD PVR's in the market today! The sleek white led light surrounding the top brushed gloss black finish is also a nice touch, as is the LED screen which displays mainly just the channel name and actions the box is doing - very slick! The gloss black casing uses a blend of gloss black plastics and gloss black brushed finished panels. This blends in with my Samsung LED TV and other Home Theatre equipment really nicely.

Moving onto 'function' over 'form' and things weren't as glamorous. The box was very sluggish and frankly within just 5 minutes I was contemplating on packing it back up and taking it back for a refund. Scrolling through channels was a painful process, and the recording function kept freezing and refusing to record both scheduled and on-demand recordings. The EPG was however the main issue for me, taking the best part of two minutes to load up - meaning you are left with either looking at a blank screen or admiring the looks of the box 'til it decides to kick in! Trying to simply schedule recordings and the EPG would simply crash, making the box virtually unresponsive to any remote controller commands.

Just before packing it back up to return, I ventured onto the relevant page on the Philips website. The support page listed an update dated June 2011. Great, I thought as the HDT8520 'out of the box' had a August 2010 software version. I downloaded the software onto a USB stick and updated the box, giving the box a second chance. Following the update, I noticed that the box behaved much better as the firmware update pretty much ironed out all the issues I had with the box, except there was still a little lag in scrolling through the EPG and that scheduled recording was still a bit 'hit and miss'.

Still not happy, I decided to try one last thing before returning - and that was reformating the hard drive and doing a full reset (as per the steps in the instruction booklet). The box rebooted after completing the stages and low and behold it now became perfect, exactly as it should be!

It now sports a very quick EPG, together with perfectly stable recording system (so far it has not missed any scheduled recordings and has done over 75 successfully, including many from BBC HD and CH4 HD). No picture jolting, errors or juddering is apparent in the recordings, indicating that it is working as it should :)

The box is operating perfectly and I now have no issues with it at all. Does everything what it says on the box and therefore can only say that I highly recommend it.

My only gripe is that Philips should be stating that it requires a Reset after updating. An end user should not be expected to figure this out through 'trial and error'. Very pleased with it so far and following the firmware update, it now meets my expectations. Aside from the buggy 'out of the box' software this is a 9.5 out of 10 for me. 0.5 less because it does require some work once 'out of the box' to make it usable (i.e. software updating and reseting the box).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Approach with caution!, 29 May 2010
By 
Mr. T. A. Maurice "Film Addict" (Essex,England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
There are so many issues with the software of the Philips HDT8520,combined with design lapses eg no Manual Tuning option for people,such as myself,living in an area with reception from 2 transmitters,low volume level via the HDMI output,and volume,and mute,controls that work via an HDMI connection,but not via Scart.
There would also appear to be Quality Control issues at the factory manufacturing the recorder in that correct performance of a given function,such as Accurate Recording,will vary from unit to unit.
The saving grace of the recorder is that Picture Quality is excellent.
However this positive is so greatly outweighed by the large number of negatives,that Pace,who designed,and manufacture,the recorder should hang their heads in shame for releasing an underdeveloped,and poorly tested,product to paying customers-who,in effect,are acting as 'Beta' testers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philip's HDT8520- Still needs a firmware upgrade from v4.22, 31 Oct 2010
By 
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
The freeview box looks smart, is quiet and quick in operation + picture quality is very good especially for HD. Upgraded to new v4.22 firmware from day one.

However stay clear of this unit until philip fix these bugs with new firmware. Note philips have confirmed to me that these are all outstanding issues;

* Rewind buffer is hit or miss; one of the main points of a PVR is to be able to pause and rewind live tv!

* HDMI low volume. Sometimes its okay but most of the time the level is very low.

* Scheduled recording, can record the same programme more than once (e.g. HD & SD version, can cause conflicts if you are recording multiple programmes.

Other features it should have, rather than a bug;

* Preview picture in the EPG (though philips seems to indicate this will not happen as it can slow down the box).

* HDMI Easylink. 'Easylink' is another name for HDMI CEC standard (e.g. also know as Samsung Anynet+/ Sony Bravia Sync) so for example your TV can automatically switch onto the the correct TV input when you turn the freeview box on (like SCART) and you can automatically switch off the device when you switch your TV off. I use this feature perfectly with my PS3 slim and Samsung TV even though they are from different manufacturers

* Dolby Digital 5.1; not currently enabled
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could be great but..., 10 Aug 2010
This review is from: Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Like another of the reviews here - I thought most reviews were just complaining for complainings sake ... nothing is perfect - I dont have SKY and wanted an HD recorder. This has seriouisly flawed firmware however. Ok firstly the good bits. Picture quality is great, the unit looks good, and feels well put together. Functionally however, its a different story. Sometimes the unit simply doesnt record. Sometimes it will re-schedule a recording to a +1 channel - for no obvious reason. Its locked up a few times. On series link it records every episode of program, each time it occurs - so TOP GEAR for example, will be recorded initially on time, then again on the repeat, again if it comes up on a + channel etc etc. All of this is sometimes not always. So to sum up - recording is sporadic, unreliable but great quality. Come on Pace - you can do better - who tested this!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews