The fight for the living room is heating up with Apple recently upping the ante with the reboot of the Apple TV and telecommunications giant, Telstra, making moves of its own with the release of the Roku powered Telstra TV.
Set Top Boxes
It may look like a plain old box, but the Fetch TV set-top box houses plenty of hardware and software capabilities that can freshen the way you watch TV. It’s a box that’s available from a couple of ISPs, namely iiNet and Optus, and if you sign up for it you get access not only to a box for watching and recording free-to-air TV channels, but also access to on-demand movies, subscription channels, and much more.
Topfield's TBF100HD is budget set-top box device with basic functionality and a small size. It's a useful device to consider if you want to add digital TV reception to an old TV, or even if you want a tuner for a caravan or garage.
The Topfield TRF-2100, new to the company’s set top box range, is a personal video recorder with twin digital TV tuners and an internal 320GB hard drive. It’s small and discreet, quiet and quick to operate, but misses out on some features that we would have liked to see.
The Topfield TRF-2470 is the latest and greatest set top box in the company’s arsenal. This machine is a beast: it’s got two digital TV tuners, a terabyte of hard drive space, and it’s the first Topfield ‘box to include Web access to ABC iView.
The Panasonic DMR-PWT520 sits squarely in the middle of Panasonic’s set-top box line-up, flanked by the more basic DMR-HW220 and the premium DMR-BWT820. It’s got a Blu-ray player (but not a recorder) as well as a 500GB hard drive and Panasonic’s latest PVR user interface. Twin digital TV tuners means you can record one program while still channel-surfing.
The Panasonic DMR-HW220 is basically a DMR-BWT820 Blu-ray recorder with the Blu-ray drive cut out. It’s much cheaper, and retains the high quality internal TV tuners and simple interface that we liked about the BWT820.
If you’ve just bought a shiny new TV, odds are you’ve thrown out the VCR with the old telly. Recording TV these days is a job best served by a personal video recorder, and the best format for watching movies is Blu-ray.
The Topfield TRF-7170 is a unit that specialises in digital TV recording. It has two tuners and a 1TB hard drive, and it can record up to 4 program streams from two channels simultaneously. It's also one of the first units on the Australian market to support what Topfield calls "Intelligent Recording", which allows you to record an entire series with one simple recording action.
The Humax HDR-7500T is well worth your consideration if you're a TV tragic and video hoarder. It's a jack-of-all-trades set-top box and PVR device that allows you to watch and record free-to-air digital TV, as well as access content from YouTube and iView, and it can also stream content from servers on your network. Not only that, it will play content from USB hard drives and can even allow you to transfer recorded files onto external hard drives.
The Panasonic DMR-PWT500 fits a Blu-ray and DVD player into a personal video recorder with a HD tuner -- it’s like the Samsung BD-C8900, except with twin tuners. Like the BD-C8900 it’s quite stylish and has some nifty extra features, but you’re paying a premium for the convenience of having several functions in the one device.
The Good Guys will take on TiVo after licensee, Hybrid Television Services, added the chain to its retail channel.
Just because you don't own a digital television doesn't mean you can't enjoy the benefits of better image quality and more options.
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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.
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