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Philips HDT8520 500GB PVR Freeview HD Digital Terrestrial Recorder

2.8 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews
| 6 answered questions

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  • Easily record in HD (one-touch recording, 8-day EPG, series recording)
  • 3-hour time shift buffer to pause & resume live TV at the touch of a button
  • 1080p via HDMI for superb HD picture clarity & sharpness
  • Twin tuners to watch one channel while simultaneously recording another
  • Striking design with ultra-quiet functioning, even when recording

This product is not suitable for Freesat
This product is suitable for receiving Freeview channels via a terrestrial aerial. This product is not suitable for using with satellite dishes. If you are looking for a receiver to use with your satellite dish please choose a Freesat product. Click here for more details.

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Product details

  • Item Weight: 1.8 Kg
  • Boxed-product Weight: 2.9 Kg
  • Batteries 2 Lithium Metal batteries required.
  • Item model number: HDT8520
  • ASIN: B003H9N3LE
  • Date first available at Amazon.co.uk: 15 April 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,225 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)

Product Description

Product Description

Easily record in HD (one-touch recording, 8-day EPG, series recording)500GB Hard Drive3-hour time shift buffer to pause & resume live TV at the touch of a button1080p via HDMI for superb HD picture clarity & sharpnessTwin tuners to watch one channel while simultaneously recording anotherStriking design with ultra-quiet functioning, even when recordingFreeview+ HD recorder with integrated 500GB hard disk driveBroadcast Resolution: 720p, 1080i, upscale to 1080p via HDMIDolby Digital 5.1 audio outputAutomatic adaptation to TV set preferred resolutionAutomatic installation of up to 1000 channelsParental control (Child lock)USB 2.0 output for software updateHard disk recording capacity: up to 250 hours for SD & up to 150 hours for HDPause Live TV with 3 hour time shift bufferUp to x1/4 slow motion and x128 fast forward / rewindSimultaneous Record & PlaybackAdditional hard disk features : Instant Jump, Instant Replay, Time status bar, HDD space used indicator, Auto resume, Trick mode8-day Program GuideAutomatic programme list updateAudio descriptionAuto resolution adjustmentAuto power offMultiple subtitles supportedTV and Radio modeExtra low noise levels in both active and recording modes1 Year Manufacturer WarrantyDimensions mm : 65 x 240 x 210 ( H x W x D )Weight: 1.75kg

Manufacturer's Description

Don't miss a thing with the Philips Freeview+ HD PVR. Designed to easily record all your favourite high definition TV shows, with one-touch recording, twin tuners to record while watching something else, series recording, the HDT8520 is equipped with a 3-hour time shift buffer to enable you to pause live TV or make an Instant Jump or Instant Replay at the touch of a button.

The stunning design of this Freeview+ HD recorder includes a sophisticated light feature that can be activated when the device is switched on. 8-day coverage of the Freeview Programme Guide (EPG) has been integrated in a slick, sophisticated user interface for easy navigation.

Not only equipped with top-notch sound & vision technology (Dolby Digital audio & 1080p video quality with HDMI cable included), the HDT8520 also boasts remarkably low power consumption in both active and standby modes and has been designed to function almost silently. None of the whirring noise so often associated with recording devices.

Finally, the 500GB hard disk drive will let you record up to 125 hours of native HD content, or 250 hours of standard definition.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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.
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2 Comments 100 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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.
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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.
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