Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
TEAC Australia HDRM7250
- Huge hard drive, great range of connectivity options, plenty of features
- Time-shift and recording functions are less-than-perfectly implemented
A powerful and expensive device, this unit is clearly aimed at advanced users, who will find themselves more than satisfied with its incredible range of features. Newcomers to the PVR market would probably be better served with a simpler model.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
TEAC's HDRM7250 is a feature-packed unit that sports a wide range of TV and recording options. While a sluggish interface and a prohibitive price tag prevent it from being a stand-out product, its array of high-end connection options and a massive 250GB hard drive make it ideal for enthusiasts.
The high definition digital TV receiver in the HDRM7250 is one of the best we've seen. It picked up 51 channels in under 100 seconds. All channels were clear and were automatically organised and assigned "logical" channel numbers (for example: 7, 70, 71, 72, for the Seven network and its associated channels). The twin tuners add an impressive amount of extra functionality to the unit and allow users to watch one channel whilst recording another channel, or even to record two channels simultaneously.
The digital television component is well supported by the 250GB hard drive, which provides recording and time-shift functionality, allowing users to pause and rewind live TV. Although we found the time-shift buffer to be quite useful, it was slightly clunky to operate, especially with the strange range of rewind and fast forward speeds available--1x, 3x, 10x, 30x, 100x and 600x. A speed somewhere between 3x and 10x would be welcomed and would make searching through large chunks of recording for a specific point a lot easier. The other recording functions were also clunky, but useful. One-touch recording isn't an option, and users must select either manual recording (where the recording must be stopped manually) or automatic recording (where the recording stops at the end of the program) after hitting the 'record' button.
The interface is well laid out and easy to navigate. However, the responsiveness of the interface is somewhat slow. We did find a few of the system's menus and some of the buttons on the remote to be a little less than intuitive, but on the whole, operating the HDRM7250 is a reasonably simple affair. The only drawback is a slight lag (one to three seconds) when changing channels or trying to bring up certain menus.
AV buffs will enjoy the TEAC's full array of connection options. These include HDMI, component, composite, Ethernet, USB and S/PDIF audio outputs (optical and coaxial) as well as analog stereo output. The USB and Ethernet ports not only provide users with the ability to watch videos (including MPEG-4 and HD-WMV files), listen to music (MP3, WMA and OGG), and view images from external sources (such as a hard drive or a home network), but also the ability to export their recordings to an external source. This feature helps to make up for the lack of editing features on the device itself, as recordings can be fairly easily transferred to a PC for editing.
Overall, the TEAC HDRM7250 presents itself as an incredibly useful and feature-packed interface to the world of digital television, albeit one that isn't for every user. Its massive hard drive, wide range of features and connection options, and high price tag put it squarely in the realm of enthusiasts and advanced users.
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