Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Great picture quality, Dual tuners
- No HDMI or optical audio connections
Another solid offering from Topfield that does all the basic functions very well, although it lacks some advanced connectivity options.
Price$ 669.00 (AUD)
The TF4400PVRt from Topfield is a good Standard Definition set top box that boasts great picture quality and is easy to use, but only contains an 80GB hard drive. It also lacks advanced connections but for many people this will not pose too great a problem.
The TF4400PVRt is very easy to set-up. The unit scans and finds all available channels and sorts them into television and radio categories in around five minutes. Not the quickest unit we've seen, but it is one of the most thorough. The picture quality across all channels was excellent, and there is no real lag when changing between them. The transparent menu system is easy enough to navigate around and will not pose any problems even for novices.
Recording is straight forward, with the option of one touch or timer recording. Once recording is activated it can either be stopped at the press of a button or programmed to finish at the end of a certain programme or at a specific time. Programs can also be selected to record in advance using the EPG (however, this function is next to useless in Australia as only the next upcoming program is actually listed due to copyright restrictions on the TV guide listings). Editing saved clips is also relatively straight forward with the intuitive menu system lending itself well to this feature.
Two tuners have been included so two programmes can be recorded simultaneously. Alternatively, one can be recorded while you watch another, or the picture-in-picture function can be used. The time shift function works very well with no lag evident when live TV is paused. Once play is pressed an indicator in the top right corner displays how far behind live TV you are, with the option of fast forwarding or simply skipping back to the live signal.
There are a range of connections, but unfortunately USB and optical audio are both omitted. Instead there is a single composite port, an S-video plug, and both S/PDIF and SCART connections. The PVR also comes with three old school video games, including Topfield's version of Pacman, which we thought was a cool addition and kept us entertained for hours.
As with most set top boxes the design on the TF4400PVRt is not particularly inventive, but it is quite serviceable. It comes in a dull silver colour, with grates running along the top. The remote however is well laid out and labelled, adding to the easy to navigate menu system.
Overall, this is a good set top box from Topfield. The hard drive is not overly large and the player lacks some more advanced connections, but the TF4400PVRt is an otherwise efficient product.
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