Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR
This cut-price personal video recorder lets you watch and record high-definition digital television
- Ridiculously low cost, simple operation
- Adding recording capability ups cost, no optical audio output
Kogan's Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR is a simple, cheap and trouble-free way to watch digital television. The ability to record digital television programs (with the help of a USB-connected external hard drive or flash drive) is fantastic given the $100 price-point.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
The Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR lets you watch high-definition digital television on a non-digital TV. You can also plug in an external hard drive or flash drive to record TV shows. At under $100 this set-top box represents great value for anyone wanting to upgrade to digital television.
The Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR isn't physically impressive — it’s a squat, grey box with an old-school LCD screen on the front. There's also a front-mounted USB port that lets you plug in external storage for recording TV shows and time-shifting (pausing, rewinding and fast forwarding TV broadcasts). The rear of the digital set-top box has a range of video and audio outputs; we used the HDMI output to connect the Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR to a Tyagi Max19 LCD television, but analog inputs for connecting older devices are also available (composite and component connectors). There is a coaxial digital output, but no optical audio output means so the Kogan PVR is a bad choice if you’re connecting an external home theatre audio system without a coaxial connector.
The interface of the Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR isn’t exactly colourful or lush, but we weren’t expecting much from a $99 system. A low-resolution white-on-blue GUI is rather ugly, but it is easy to see from across the room. The menu is relatively easy to understand, and the lag between pressing a button and the interface responding is bearable. A comprehensive scan for channels took a little longer than five minutes, and the set-top box successfully found all digital television channels in our area.
The Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR has a rudimentary electronic program guide, although the low-resolution interface doesn’t allow a great deal of information to be displayed. Three built-in games available from the PVR's menu — Othello, Tetris and Sudoku — allow you to pass the time during ad breaks, but won't hold your attention for long due to high remote control latency making gameplay frustrating.
Picture and audio quality from the Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR are perfectly acceptable for digital television broadcasts. The highest supported resolution is 1080i, which is also the highest resolution used for digital TV broadcasts in Australia.
If you plug in an external hard drive or flash drive you can display JPEG photos and play MP3 files, although they are loaded slowly. Attaching storage also let you time-shift and record TV. You can easily record files and transport them to your computer (in .TS format, although transcoding to more popular formats is easy with a third-party video converter), making the Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR a fantastically versatile product for its asking price.
We used a 160GB hard drive, but drives up to 1TB are supported. Buying a large hard drive for the Kogan HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR will add significantly to its cost. You can pick up a 320GB external hard drive from an electrical discount store and keep the overall cost under $200, however.
For the price, Kogan's HD Digital Set-Top-Box with PVR is an impressive product. If it couldn't record TV we wouldn't have given it a second glance, but this helps set it apart from other set-top boxes.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65-inch UHD TV (65UF950T) review
- 2 Playing chicken with a Tesla Model S
- 3 Audi TT (2015) review: A smarter take on the sports coupe
- 4 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
- 5 Apple Watch review: saving time
Deals on Good Gear Guide
- Networking, Wireless & VoIP
Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Monday, July 6
- Leak of ZeusVM malware building tool might cause botnet surge
- Giant mecha robots from Japan, US will meet in epic battle
- Italian surveillance software maker, Hacking Team, allegedly breached
- Australian car reviews round up
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.