If you haven't got a Freeview hard drive recorder by now, what the heck are you doing? It's okay, we forgive you, but we've consistently given high marks to these indispensible pieces of technology from Humax, Thomson and Sagem. And when a giant like Panasonic joins the fray, you really know it's time to sit up and take notice.
Sure, the strangely named TUCTH100 might not do anything different to Sagem's box, but it's got one major advantage -- it looks good. The sleek silver finish means it's something you'd actually sit next to your DVD player, and while it doesn't break any taboos, we'd happily sit it next to our high-end Denon DVD-2910.
So what sort of technological wonders is this modern beauty hiding inside? Well, it's got an 80GB hard drive -- not massive by today's standards, but big enough for about 45 hours of programmes. It's also got dual tuners, so you can record two different channels at once. More? You want more? It's got a digital audio output, so you can plug this baby right into your home cinema system and bang out some guttural movie sounds.
The only problem standing in the way of this 'hella cool' recorder is that it costs £250. That's £90 more than the Sagem. We're not convinced that a nicer design is worth such a premium, but if you're after a big-name Freeview box, make sure you hold out for our full review next week. -GC
Update: this review is now live here.