Freeview HD PVRs are slowly starting to trickle on to the market at last, but our primary grumble is they're too expensive. Especially considering there are currently only three HD channels on the service -- the BBC will launch BBC One HD soon, boosting the corporation's potential HD output, and bringing a dramatic new look to, er, EastEnders. The TVonics HD500 isn't the most wallet-frightening we've seen though, at around £280.
Like many HD PVRs, the hard drive is 500GB, which the company describes as "massive" and we describe as "average". There's plenty of good news though, such as a two-year warranty -- if you buy it from TVonics' own website -- and a free upgrade that will allow proper Dolby Digital, coming in October.
In terms of PVR functions, the set-top box can make basic recommendations of shows you might also enjoy, the ability to book a recording from the trailer -- something Sky has already perfected -- and accurate recording, to ensure you don't miss a show if the preceding one overruns. There's also series link, which means you won't miss a single episode of Deal or no Deal.
The DTR-HD500 can also perform the world's least requested but most common feature, the photo slideshow. This always makes us laugh -- everything from your fridge to your TV can show you photographs one after the other now, but we don't recall ever asking for the feature or ever actually using it.
Something we could see ourselves using on the DTR-HD500 is the HDMI switch, which enables you to save a socket on your TV, by connecting a Blu-ray player or games console to the PVR. TVonics also makes the fantastic claim that SD video passed through the switch will be upscaled to 1080p. Don't expect much of a jump in quality with upscaling, but take solace in the fact that the video won't get worse on its journey through the DTR-HD500.