Beyonwiz's latest PVR, the DP-H1, delivers an interesting twist to the traditional design. Without an included hard drive, the H1 relies on USB hard drives to record to. Like beyonwiz's other units, the H1 includes media streaming and digital reception, and its USB-based nature gives it an added layer of flexibility that will appeal to many users.
- Dual HD tuners, simple recording, great range of supported file types, USB hard disk drive-based nature gives flexibility
- No customisable recording modes, hidden cost with USB hard disk drive required to record
A great product, although ultimately its usefulness hinges on the use of a USB hard disk drive instead of an internal one. If this appeals to you, then the DP-H1 is well worth considering.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The initial channel scan tends to be somewhat slow, but for something that only needs to be performed once, it's not a huge issue. Once scanned, the channels can be easily arranged into one of several favourites menus to make navigation easier, although a slight lag (less than a second) may hinder rapid channel flicking.
Recording is simple enough, although as with other beyonwiz products, it still lacks customisable recording modes. Nevertheless, a simple and well laid out timer and recording interface makes for quick recording or setting up timers a breeze, and dual tuners mean that users can record two channels at once.
The use of USB-based hard disk drives is an interesting choice, with both benefits and drawbacks. For instance, it allows users to select the size of the drive they wish to use, but it also adds an extra cost. The convenience of being able to remove the drive is great, but at the same time it also causes extra clutter in the living room. Once a USB hard disk drive (note that flash-based USB memory, such as memory sticks, will not work in this capacity) has been selected, it must be formatted, and will then become recordable.
Media streaming is available over Ethernet, although no wireless is available. Still, it works well, with a broad range of supported file types including DivX, MPG, MP4, AVI, WMV, WMA, AAC, Ogg, MP3, JPEG, and many more. The same file types are supported when played from USB flash memory storage.
The H1's design is in line with the other products in beyonwiz's range, sporting a flip down glass front panel and a circular navigation pad in the centre. The back houses connections, including HDMI, Ethernet and two USB ports, as well as the standard range of AV outputs.
As with its sister products, the H1's interface is large and well laid out, making it easy to navigate the large array of options available to the user. Plenty of options are available, however the unit's multi-tiered menu system makes finding them quite simple.
Overall, the DP-H1 is quite an impressive PVR with media streaming capabilities. What really sets it apart is the support for USB hard disk drives. Whether this is an advantage or disadvantage will depend entirely on the user, however for those to whom it appeals, this product comes highly recommended.
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