on 20 April 2011
I want to keep this short and simple. I can validate much of the critic given by several of the other reviewers. That said, I've only had the unit a few days, and I haven't much free time to watch, so I haven't had a chance to assess the quality of the HD channels.
What I can say is that the unit was very easy to set up. It self-boots very well, tho it takes a while to find the channels on the first scan. The guide screen I have found to be excellent. I was entirely happy with this function on previous recorders, but I do think that this guide screen is very easy on the eye and pleasant to work with. Nice large print that fills up the screen. You can hardly see the channel running in the background while you are doing this ...but you can hear it. This is fine for me. I love the fact that you can select a program to record (be it a whole series or an individual program), but after selecting, you are not forced back to the start of the process, so I can continue on thru the same week exactly where I left off in my search. That's brilliant for setting up recordings at the far end of the advanced schedual. I haven't had this function before, and it's a big deal for me.
The unit is stylishly understated and whisper quiet. So. First impressions: very pleased.
Update: A few weeks on and no glitches. Delighted with it's performance.
I have been using Play TV as my main freeview recorder and top box for a number of years now, and I was not overly impressed with it at any level.
I am very happy with the Toshiha set that has arrived. It is sleek and stylish looking and fits well with my Sony Widescreen TV.
It is surprisingly light, but does not feel in anyway cheap.
I have had this for almost a week now and am happy with most aspects, The sync of channels was absolutely easy and trouble free, this is always a big plus for me, especially as I use the HD channels now.
I am happy with the quality and I am happy with the sound so overall very much worthwhile. There is also a lot of space on the hard drive for recording and I am very happy with the device as a whole.
I would 100% recommend this machine!
Reviews for these products tend to be in comparison to other freeview/tv recorders, but unfortunately I do not have much experience with other freeview boxes! The last one I owned was about 6 or 7 years ago so would probably not compare favourably with probably any newer, modern models. However, I do have a subscription to Sky HD; and having frequently come close to filling up the memory on the Sky HD box, I had been thinking about getting an extra tv recorder for a while, so finding this was ideal for me.
I also thought it would be a little different for people to read how a freeview HD box like this compares to a subscription service - specifically Sky HD. So first of all, I'll start with a few pro's you get from the Toshiba Freeview+ HD recorder that you don't get with Sky HD, I'll then go on to state what you might miss out on, and finally what other pro's you get from the Toshiba. I won't go into specs of the machines etc as you can find those on the amazon product details/sky website, so this is purely a "personalised" review of my experiences with the two products.
Pro's of the Toshiba over Sky HD:
* PIP (Picture in Picture) - A nifty little feature that you don't have on Sky. Whilst watching one channel, you can have a little box appear on the screen which shows another live broadcast from a different channel. At the push of a button, you can then switch between the two channels effortlessly! I find this is ideal for watching things such as the football when two matches are being shown simultaneously on separate channels. When a goal is scored in one game, just press the PIP button and you can go live to that channel and still keep an eye on the previous game in the corner of the screen! You can also move the picture box to any corner of the screen easily. A great feature that works really well.
* Recordings clash - On both the Toshiba and Sky HD, you can only record two programmes at the same time. However, the Toshiba will scan alternative channels/times to suggest recording a programme at another time if the timings of any programmes on your planner are set to clash. Sky has a habit of just "part recording" programmes or just not recording them at all if there is a clash.
* USB Port - There is a USB port on the front of the Toshiba which allows for easy accessibility when wanting to view pictures and other media. As far as I'm aware, there is no function for this on the Sky HD box at all! In fact, there is even an extra USB port at the back of the Toshiba.
* Display screen - On the front of the box there is also a digital display which tells you what channel you're watching and even the name of the programme itself scrolls across the display! Very snazzy! The front of the Sky HD box is very boring in comparison.
* HDMI ports - If your tv doesn't have many HDMI slots, this function would be very handy. You can plug up to 3 extra devices into the machine and choose which to view very easily as each port has its own button on the controller, saving you from having to tirelessly scroll through which input you want to view.
There are other functions too that I haven't actually tried yet, such as creating a playlist of your recorded programmes, which I can imagine being very useful in the future. Also, if you go to record a programme on, say, BBC1, if the programme is also available in HD, a little message will appear on screen that tells you this and at the touch of a button you can record the HD version instead. It is a very intuitive machine.
Now, onto the con's. And I have to admit, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel slightly here.
* Channels - As with my old freeview box, there still doesn't seem to be a great range of channels available. That's not necessarily a criticism of the box itself, but it is something that you wouldn't get with a subscription to a major provider. It's also something that could easily change in future and isn't always important to everybody.
* Speed - The Toshiba takes a little while to start up, and "channel surfing" can be quite frustrating as it doesn't glide through the channels very quickly at all. However, using the handy Guide will render this habit pointless as it is simple to use. Even more so if you organise the channels into the order of your choice (which you can't do with Sky!)
The other great pro's of this machine are that it's very easy to navigate/use, it's lightweight, it looks slick and makes virtually no noise at all. The picture and sound quality seem to me to be fine and it has a very large hard drive so can record a LOT of TV! The set up was very simple; if I think back to my last freeview box, I had to go through about 2 or 3 different menu's to tune the channels. This was a case of switching the machine on and pressing "ok" and it does all that for you!
The functionality of the Toshiba is probably its main asset over a subscription to something like Sky HD. In fact, I never knew how basic my Sky box was in comparison to other products on the market. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to give up my subscription just yet, however! But the Toshiba is a very welcome addition to the TV stand in the front room and will most likely stay there.
on 3 May 2011
Decided to take the plunge and buy the Toshiba HDR501KB 500GB Freeview+HD Digital TV PVR unit as the price was right and the fact that I have an excellent 42 inch Toshiba Regza LCD HDTV and my existing, excellent Humax PVR isn't HD. As usual, Amazon delivered in record time although only used standard free delivery. Unit set up ok found all the channels and the picture & sound are very good on HD & non HD. I don't think that the controls are as easy to use as the Humax and some buttons on the remote are very small and sometimes require pressing twice. However it is a bonus that it also controls my Toshiba TV so I have one less remote! The Toshiba PVR has frozen on me a few times which requires removal of the power supply to reset. I seem to recall that my Humax often did this until a firmware update resolved it. Also, when forwarding a program, more than a few times, it has jumped to the end. Very annoying! I miss some of the functions of the Humax such as the slow motion forward/back, the ability to select different forward/back times. I don't like the look and functionality of the channel guide as much as the Humax and the PIP is only 1 box where the Humax splits into 2, albeit on a separate screen. One annoying feature of the Toshiba is the time it takes to start from switch on and the time lag between changing channels. However, on the plus side, the Toshiba is quieter than the Humax and a very useful function is it's ability to offer alternative channels when recording clashes occur. I assume that the larger 500GB drive is required to handle the increased data of HD TV, Therefore, as at the moment there are only a few HD channels, it should provide more non HD program recording. All in all I consider it a good buy and definitely recommend.
on 8 March 2011
I've tried several Freeview HD recorders, including the Fetch TV model from Tesco, three of which I took back! None of them have worked properly. This one, straight out of the box offers an astonishing HD picture that betters Sky HD (which I also have) and works perfectly! The machine looks the part, has excellent facilities, large hard drive, intuitive guide and operations, its COMPLETELY reliable and has never missed a recording! There are none of the usual frustratingly regular 'updates' needed to make the machine work! It works perfectly straight out of the box! Also, it has an excellent and unique feature which is that it has 2 HDMI pass though inputs, so now have my PS3 and HD DVD connected to it, and they are all connected by one HDMI to my receiver! You just select one of the 2 HDMI inputs on the Toshiba remote. That means three HDMI connections on the one input! They all look perfect! That's a real feature worth having with limited (3) HDMI inputs on my Onkyo and 5 HDMI capable units! Ok so there is a slight lag when changing channels (I think its because it starts to record straight to the drive for pause and rewind purposes before it displays the picture) but honestly apart from this really minor issue, it's the best Freeview recorder I have seen and had! Can't rate it or recommend it highly enough! Well done Toshiba!
on 1 March 2011
Big improvement from the Humax freesat (non pvr) box I'd had before this in terms of interface and general "tactileness". Picture quality is great and the usage of the whole thing is intuitive - I'm really happy.
Downsides are a very slight lag when changing channels and the (current) lack of iplayer / internet media player accessibility - don't know if the latter will get addressed at some point or not.
To summarise - great picture, easy setup, nice thing to use.
on 28 June 2011
This is a great piece of kit, reliable, does what it should and surprises you with a couple of nice extras you didn't expect.
Record SD and it offers HD alternatives when it can, sensible choices of episodes when recording a series link (no pointless repeats from 3 in the morning and so on)
Really impressed - if there was anything at all you could comment on is the remote needs pointing directly at the device and I couldn't code the remote to work with our Panasonic TV.
I can and have recommended this to others without reservation
on 17 October 2011
I have owned this recorder for about 6 weeks and thought I would hold off reviewing it until I'd used it enough to (hopefully!) give a decent, fair review. Upon receiving the Toshiba HDR5010, I found the set-up process to be incredibly easy and straightforward. As I have come to expect from this kind of product, it was a simple case of connecting up, switching on and following the automated setup process. I went from boxed and sealed to watching Come Dine With Me in around 5 minutes.
After setup was complete, the first thing that struck was the quality of the standard, non-HD picture and sound. Both are excellent and the picture appears to be much less grainy than the picture from my previous Digihome Freeview Recorder. Since buying the HDR5010, Freeview HD began broadcasting in my area and although the quality is still very high, it doesn't appear to mirror the `jump' in quality from DVD to Blu-Ray. Maybe this is because the standard picture is of such good quality, or maybe my aerial isn't very good. Still, whatever, no complaints.
Other features and notable qualities of the Toshiba HDR5010 are: it's ease of use, being able to record two channels at the same time, picture-in-picture, huge harddisc space, and being able to set the recorder to record an entire series of a particular show, being able to `resolve conflicts'. This means, if you try to set a third recording timer at the same time as two others, the Toshiba will tell you you can't record all three shows at the same time, and then try to find an alternative time to record one of the shows.
As the title of the review says, there are a few annoyances that stop the Toshiba from being the great product it should be. As many other reviews note, it seems to take an age for it to boot up. Paraphrasing another review: it's not so good when you have an impatient 18 month child who wants to watch Octonaughts! The unit itself is nice sleek and black. When it is switched on, there is a reasonably unobtrusive blue light to mark that it is operating. However, when it is switched off this light shines red. Very brightly. I'd rather my living room wasn't bathed in `brake light red' light. Another annoyance is that the remote control seems to have to be pointed direct at the box in order for it to work, and occasionally can be unresponsive. The remote control itself looks reasonable, but I find the layout absolutely awful. It is quite long and all the buttons that I commonly use are towards the base of the control (such as play, stop, fast forward, the button to access recorded shows etc). I find when I press these buttons, I quite often end up accidentally tipping the remote upwards away from the receiver because it isn't very well balanced, thus my button presses do nothing. Pressing the fast forward/rewind button repeatedly increases the fast forward/rewind speed, but the increments aren't very well spaced. One or two presses don't increase the speed that much, but the third press is way too quick.
The outcome is that the Toshiba HDR5010 shows great potential and is money well spent, but a few minor niggles detract slightly from this otherwise great product.
on 26 April 2011
I've had this for two weeks now and I'm very pleased with it, a couple of minor niggles but overall a good box. This replaces a Humax 9200 which is nearly 5 years old and is getting quite temperamental, I chose this Toshiba as the spec looked good and the price was good too.
I have never bothered to upgrade the aerial that this is connected to and my TV (Hannspree 32" with Freeview built in) doesn't pick up all of the channels (5 of the 6 available multiplexes) this box picks up fewer channels than my TV only getting four muxes. One problem is that when the box is in standby I can watch my usual choice of channels on my TV but when the box is on the TV now also fails to get the channels the box can't receive so no recording Dave and no watching Dave with the box on. This should be remedied when the digital switchover in my area happens in June and the channels move about so my aerial will pick them all up and the signal strength is boosted considerably.
I did try this box in another room with a different aerial which receives all the available channels, while the TV here says the signal is good the box said the signal was poor on all channels and the initial scan failed to pick up the HD channels, a quick web search to find the channel number and a manual scan got the HD channels and the picture on them was fine. Again the digital switchover should improve this.
The remote needs to be pointed directly at the sensor on the box, just in the general vicinity is not good enough for the press to be registered. I've done a few timer recordings and had no problems, it does record 33 minutes for a half hour programme and 64 minutes for an hour programme, I don't see an option to reduce the extra space on the end. My Humax had a series link option which this has too and I like to use, the other thing it has is a Try This option which says it records similar types of programme to the one you're recording, I don't see the point of this but might be useful to someone. The EPG is easy to use and scroll through, setting a timer recording is easy to do.
The sound from this is louder than from the TV and pressing the volume down button changes the volume on my TV rather than the box, which is good in that the remote works my TV without me doing anything but I'd rather reduce the volume on the box so that when I switch back to the TV I don't have to turn it up again.
Someone else mentioned that there seems to be a lag that they thought was caused by the box buffering everything to the hard drive before displaying, I don't think that's right as when I have this on and the same channel on in the next room the sound is in sync, but at the same time having a picture in picture with the same channel that you're watching the small image is about 1 second ahead of the main display.
I am very happy with this Toshiba box, I've mentioned the things that annoy me but overall it does what I want it to do and in eight weeks come the digital switchover it should let me watch and record all the Freeview channels including the HD ones. Oh, and I don't see the point in comparing this to other broadcast formats, if you want Sky get Sky, if you want cable get cable, if you're happy with Freeview then this box will be fine as long as you get a good quality signal from your aerial.
I have to say, this is one of the best bits of AV equipment I've bought in the last few years. A big factor is the excellent value compared to similar other units from different brands. I did initially worry about the fact that other people say it's slow. Actually compared to other DVB recorders (I also have BT vision) it behaves as expected. If you leave it on standby overnight, you might find next day it takes a few more seconds (like about 5) to start up, but after that response time for commands and channel hopping is fine.
The HD channels look amazingly sharp. Better than I expected and just about as good as my Sony blu-ray.
The recording and listing functions are fairly versatile. Again, more than I was expecting in this price range. It's not as good as BT vision for searching future programs ( you basically can only scroll through the guide) but BT vision doesn't receive HD freeview yet, so that evens them out.
Additional features include Picture in Picture mode, Timer editing, surround sound options, range of auto delete functions, pause buffer control (up to 4 hours), 2 additional hdmi slots, USB port for viewing photos (for example) and more.