Imagine Christmas without telly. It’d be a horror show of
board games, having to talk to elderly aunties and even more of a reason to stuff your face full of food.
Thankfully, the TV schedulers tend to save up
some pretty tasty treats to put on television just for Xmas, so as always there should be lots
to ensure you never miss a second of your favourite soaps, dramas and classic Christmas repeats, here’s my guide to the best Digital TV Recorders to save down as many hours of festive TV as you can handle.
You can find out more about Buying a DTR with our guide to what to look for when you purchase one.
Perhaps the box to buy if you’re on a strict budget, or just
want something simple that records without further complications. This small box has 320GB of hard drive memory, a seven day programme guide and 155 hours of recording time. The only downer
is it won’t let you rewind live TV, which for some people is an absolute
A well-priced, handsome box – this is a sleek and minimal
black slab to sit nicely under your TV and next to your Xbox. There is 320GB of
memory, you can pause live TV and even link together episodes of a series to record automatically, as you would with a Sky+ box. There’s 154 hours of recording time on offer, Freeview and in-built access to
the internet meaning you can use BBC iPlayer, Skype, YouTube and more without
having to reach for your laptop. There’s even a Skype button on the remote.
Designed for Freesat customers, with a sizeable 500GB of memory you get a big fat 250 hours
of digital tape time (120 hours if you’re recording HD content). Simple to use, and
easy enough to set up, there’s series linking options, and access to YouTube and other apps.
A tidy small box with a HD Freeview tuner inside too, this also has 320GB of memory and everything else you would expect from a chunkier, more expensive device. It does lack some
multimedia networking capabilities, but a function that might make this model
stand out over its competitors is its ability to organise. You can
create little personalised folders for your recorded content, meaning you can
tuck An Audience with Justin Bieber well away from your Top Gear Christmas special.
Well-priced for a good looking 500GB machine with all the
expected bells and whistles, built-in Wi-Fi lets you watch BBC iPlayer and other apps but the real standout feature is the Smart Hub which lets you put all
your home video recordings, music, movies, Facebook rants and Twitter onto
your TV too, as well as accessing apps such as LoveFILM on-demand. The downside is you can’t record two programmes at once.
A big but pretty machine with 500GB of memory, it promises a very impressive 300 hours of non HD TV and 125 hours of HD. If
that’s not enough for the entire series of Only Fools, you can now get a 1TB version of this. It can connect to the internet and also to an external hard drive to
up load family photos, or backup your content.
A real value-for-money 320GB Freeview machine, there’s no Wi-Fi, no HD, but you can connect to an external
device through a USB, link episodes, pause live TV and more. This no frills device is a popular one.
Humax’s big HD machine has 500GB of memory, Wi-Fi, iPlayer
access and the ability to record two channels while watching a third recorded
channel. There is however no Freeview digital tuner, which means you need to have a
satellite dish with Freesat to be able to use it. It also has a clever device that works out when
shows are running late before adjusting recordings according – never miss the soap cliffhanger again.
Pricey but with a Freeview tuner and a 500GB hard
drive promising 300 hours of recording space (125 hours of HD), this is essentially the Foxsat one with a digital Freeview tuner. The “Home Media Server” allows you
to share whatever you’ve recorded
content with other devices around the home, like you do with a PC.
Not cheap, but good value-for-money
when you consider there’s a built-in 3D Blu-ray player on top of the 500GB
Freeview HD recorder. There’s even a 3D converter that allowed you to transform
your 2D content – but you will however need a 3D TV for that to be of any
use to you. Access to the Samsung hub is a real draw, the only downside being,
once you’ve gone there, you’ll probably realise you don’t really need a Blu-ray
in your life anymore with so much web-connected catch-up content on offer. You might not even need normal TV channels.
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