Dvico TViX 4030PA PVR
- Great versatility, Innovative concept, Excellent EPG
- Requires more tech know-how than usual, No HDMI
A fantastic device for any tech-savvy AV enthusiast, the TViX 4030PA PVR is only let down by a few slight omissions.
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
Dvico's TViX 4030PA PVR is a PVR with a twist -- users can remove and switch the hard drive, loading it up with their own media or installing a higher capacity drive to suit their needs. With media streaming, high definition digital TV reception, and a great EPG, the 4030PA is an incredibly versatile and powerful device. Slightly hampered by a couple of omissions, a relatively difficult setup, and an incomplete set of ports, it's nevertheless a great product, and one that comes highly recommended to any tech-savvy user.
The removable hard drive is somewhat of a double edged sword. On one hand, it raises the price (since the 4030PA PVR comes without a hard drive included) and the installation process may intimidate less tech-savvy users. On the other hand, it offers a whole new range of versatility and functionality, allowing users to use the device like a media streamer, but without requiring a network setup. It's an addition that we quite like. Well, it appealed to our geekier instincts, at least. Swapping out a hard drive full of recorded TV for one full of DivX movies is quite a cool feature.
As a PVR, the device works well, but it doesn't have a lot of recording features. It has only one TV tuner installed, so users won't be able to record two channels at once, and there's no way to change the quality mode of the recordings. Unfortunately, there's also no time-shift buffer, so you can't rewind or pause live TV. Nevertheless, one-touch recording automatically sets the stop-point at the end of the current program. Reception is decent, although the initial channel-scan took about five minutes longer than usual. An excellent EPG (electronic program guide) helps channel navigation slightly, but the absence of a favourites list still makes things difficult.
As a media streamer, the Dvico works very well. Support for wired and wireless networking (through an optional USB dongle) is available, and the device can even be connected to a computer to have media transferred directly onto its hard drive. Setting up the network is relatively intuitive, and something most users should be able to handle. The list of supported file types isn't as long as we would have liked. Although all Xvid and DivX media is playable, as are Mpeg 1, 2 and 4 and WMV files, there is no support for QuickTime or RealMedia files yet.
The absence of HDMI in favour of the rarely seen DVI standard is probably the biggest downside of this device, meaning users need to run separate cables for audio and high definition video. However, everything else is in order. It has Component, S-Video and composite video ports, analogue, coaxial and optical audio ports, and USB 2.0 and 10/100 Ethernet connections. The TViX 4030PA PVR only supports IDE (also knows as PATA) hard drives; users also should note that the 4030SA model is the same as the 4030PA, but with a SATA interface. One slight quirk that we noticed; the hard drive power cable can sometimes come lose. It's easy enough to push it back into place with a pen or a key, but it's something users should be aware of.
The TViX 4030PA PVR is one of the coolest devices we've seen from our relatively tech-obsessed standpoint. With incredible versatility (including the ability to be used as an FTP server or as an external/network storage device), it's seemingly for the geek-on-the-go. The lack of HDMI and a somewhat high price-point are really the only things that prevent this product from being a real winner.
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