- Easy to use, dual HDTV tuners, plenty of storage space
The Sony SVR-HD900 is an easy to use and feature filled hard disk recorder with 250GB of space for both standard definition and high definition TV.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
The Sony SVR-HD900 is an easy to use and feature filled hard disk recorder for both standard definition and high definition TV (HDTV). Sporting two high definition digital tuners and 250GB of storage capacity, the SVR-HD900's only real let down is a slightly higher than normal price tag.
Hard disk recorders are all the rage these days, and far outstrip video and DVD recorders for taping and playing back your favourite TV shows. In the case of the SVR-HD900, there's a 250GB hard disk waiting to be filled. That's some 69 hours of SDTV or 36 hours of HDTV. If you think this is too much, the slightly cheaper SVR-HD700 comes with 160GB and is capable of storing 44 hours of SDTV and 23 hours of HDTV. Aside from storage capacity, the SVR-HD700 and SVR-HD900 are identical.
The SVR-HD900 sports two HDTV tuners, making it possible to record one channel while watching another, watch two channels at once (with one in Picture-in-Picture mode), or even record two channels at the same time. HDTV tuners also pick up standard definition channels, so the SVR-HD900 can pick up every free to air channel in Australia.
The unit can also be used to 'timeshift', or pause live TV - in this mode the current channel simply starts recording the moment you press pause, allowing you to then pickup your viewing and watch the (now recorded) channel on demand. It's a clever a use of the technology, and a welcome addition to the feature set.
Naturally, you can schedule programs to be recorded in advance, and thanks to EPGs (Electronic Program Guides) doing so is as easy as navigating the SVR-HD900's simple menu interface.
On that note the remote is a pleasure to use, with large, clearly defined buttons for accessing the TV guide and your list of recorded programs. Oddly, the button for bringing up the list of tuned TV stations is small and hidden underneath the larger buttons for the above features, but apart from that the controls and interface thoroughly impressed us.
Recording and playback
In our tests the in-built tuners had no problem picking up all the free to air SDTV and HDTV channels. The quality of reception was excellent, and choosing a channel to record is a one-touch affair.
The live TV pause works as promised, though the first time you use it there's a short pause which interrupts your viewing. Thereafter, subsequent pauses are seamless (because now, of course, you're pausing playback from the disk).
An 'info' button on the remote will tell you the format of the signal you are receiving -- if it's 570p or 1080i for example, but strangely this information isn't available for recorded TV programs playing back from the hard disk. In truth, the SVR-HD stores recorded TV in ML@ML and ML@HL (Main Profile at Main and High levels respectively), which is a crazy way of saying 'raw' TV for the standard definition and HDTV formats. The quality of recorded video was fairly impressive, with very few aberrations or compression errors.
Once recorded, it's easy to fast-forward back and forth through a program, which makes this unit great for skipping ads. As an optional extra, parental locks can be applied as well, preventing some channels from being selected.
As you'd expect you can tailor the SVR-HD900 to your display, setting the image output to 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios as well as resolutions ranging from 576i/p to 1080i.
The only caveat to remember with your recorded programs is that they are, of course, all stored on the internal hard disk and can't easily be moved to another medium, such as a DVD-R. Once the space on the drive fills, you'll need to delete older programs to make room for the new.
Specs and ports
As an HDTV device the SVR-HD naturally supports 576i/p, 720p and 1080i formats for video recording and playback, as well as Dolby Digital and MPEG (Layer I & II) for audio. For connectivity there's one port each for HDMI, component, S-Video and composite in addition to one S/PDIF optical audio out and a stereo analogue connections.
The device itself has typical home theatre dimensions and a sleek silver fascia to fit in with your other gear, and the minimalist display can be dimmed. The front panel doubles as a hinged door to hide record, play, pause and navigation buttons for the system menus, should you need to get up close and personal.
Overall the SVR-HD900 is a simple, effective, digital tuner and PVR (personal video recorder) combined that makes it easy to save and watch SD or HD programs at your leisure. Our only complaint is the price, and this holds it back from a higher star rating.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 2 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 3 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 4 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 5 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- Google eyes remote content controls for parents in YouTube Kids app
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTTest AnalystACT
- TPBusiness Analyst / Test CoordinatorQLD
- FTx3 Field EngineersVIC
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- CCWCEM DeveloperACT
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- FTPHP DeveloperWA
- CCNetwork EngineerVIC
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- TPPrincipal Portfolio Officer - One Month Contract - DSITIQLD
- CCGIS Consultant/ Developer - BRISBANEVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystACT
- FTSenior Microwave Transmission EngineerNSW
- CCProject Delivery LeadQLD
- FTOperations Manager - NV1 Cleared - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTUrgent -Java Developer (Programmer). 3 different positionsNSW
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- FTApplication PackagerSA
- FTLead ArchitectVIC
- FTDelivery Analyst | $62 p/hrVIC
- FTSenior Security Engineer x 3NSW
- TPSolution Architect - InfrastructureQLD
- CCProject Manager - Salesforce ImplementationVIC