At last – a rival for Sky+

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The Sky+ satellite/video recorder is a wonderful product and we certainly couldn’t live without it. The trouble is though that you need a dish and a subscription to Sky for it to work.

So we are very excited by Digifusion’s announcement that it will soon be delivering a digital TV decoder/recorder that uses Freeview – TV though your aerial that anyone can access.

The FVRT100’s big feature though is that, unlike similar products from Pace and Humax, it features an on-screen electronic programme guide that gives what’s on information for up to a week in advance. The Pace and Humax recorders, to say nothing of the other digital TV decoders, only say what is on now and what is coming next.

Another bonus is that for each programme it records it takes a screen grab every five minutes – just like DVD menus – so you can negotiate your way round the programme much quicker than you can on a Sky+ box.

Another plus is that while it has a 40Gigabye hard disk – the same as Sky+ – it has a series of different recording quality settings so if you choose the lowest resolution option you can squeeze up to 60 hours of programmes on the hard disk (20 hours more than Sky).

It also performs all the usual hard disk recorder tricks in that you can watch one channel while recording another and pause and rewind live TV.

The FVRT100 goes on sale in April for £250.

Later in the year the company will debut a similar product with a 120Gigabyte recorder and apparently some very exciting software features. Given the company’s heritage, one of its founders Barry Rubery was a big cheese in Pace manufacturers of the Sky+ box, it looks like Digifusion are a company to watch.

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