- Simple and easy to use, Effective recording capabilities
- Expensive, No way to back up recordings, Limited features, Awkward interface
A pricey option, this is a product that should appeal to users who are only looking for a unit with twin high definition tuners and a hard drive.
Price$ 849.95 (AUD)
Philips' DVR5100 is a capable device for users looking for high definition digital reception and recording functionality. However, its relatively limited list of functions combined with a high price, make it an unsuitable choice for a majority of users. Lacking DVD support, its overall usability is quite limited. Dual high definition tuners and a 160GB hard drive make it an adequate recording device, but it's hampered by its interface.
Digital TV reception on the DVR5100 is quite good, and it picked up all local channels quite quickly. Image quality was respectable, without noticeable flaws in either standard or high definition video. It's a good option for those without an integrated digital tuner in their current TV; most users who have recently purchased a new TV will find that it comes equipped with digital reception. Nevertheless, the dual tuners and high definition capabilities make it an attractive product for those looking for something extra.
Recording is quite streamlined, although at the same time lacking advanced options. One-touch recording works well, with the DVR5100 automatically setting the recording to end at the end of the program. Similarly, recording can easily be set to stop after a pre-determined time, adjustable in half-hour intervals up to six hours. Users concerned that the 160GB hard drive might not be large enough for their needs should also be aware that the Philips DVR7100 is available, which ships with a larger 250GB hard drive. One of the only downsides is the lack of a way to get recordings off the hard drive. Without a DVD recorder, Ethernet, or USB support, recordings can't be saved to other media, forcing users to delete recordings if more space is required.
The included time-shift buffer, an almost required feature on set-top boxes these days, works well, giving users the ability to pause live TV. A slight downside is that the time-shift buffer must be manually started, meaning that users don't have the ability to spontaneously rewind live TV. Apart from that, it's one of the better time-shift buffers we've seen, for its simplicity; it helps to make the DVR5100 an attractive product for inexperienced users.
The timer function is similar in its functionality and ease of use; it works well and is simple enough to be operated by almost anyone. Combined with the time-shift buffer and dual tuners, it makes the DVR5100 a useful and functional recording unit.
One let-down of the DVR5100 is its interface. Continuing the trend of simplicity, it unfortunately serves to make things harder to use rather than easier. Setting up a favourites menu (a very important feature, with digital TV's multitude of channels) is an awkward and almost hidden process. We also found several options to be missing or limited; the lack of adjustable recording modes is one of the most notable.
Overall, despite a few omissions and oversimplifications, the DVR5100 is a highly functional device, but unfortunately, one which still fails to justify its high asking price. Those in the market for a dual high definition tuner set-top box with the ability to record programs to a hard drive will be well-served by the DVR5100, but others will be more likely to find better value in other products.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- 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
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
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.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!SA
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- TPSoftware EngineerWA
- TPSpatial Science OfficerQLD
- TPProject ManagerOther
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- CCFullstack .Net DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCNetwork ArchitectWA
- TPBusiness Analyst - Technical BackgroundQLD
- CCFront-End DeveloperQLD
- CCStorage System EngineerNSW
- CCTest Planner - Infrastructure/Data CentreACT
- FTOnline Solutions AnalystNSW
- FTWeb Developer / Applications AnalystQLD
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- FTDeveloper - Java/J2EEQLD
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- TPAPS6/EL1 Database Modelling SpecialistACT
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global BrandNSW
- TPSenior Java Developer / DevOps - ContractQLD
- TPMaster SchedulerNSW
- CCMidrange ProvisioningNSW