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Toshiba Freeview+ HD PVR announced

June launch for Toshiba's first PVR: the HDR5010

Toshiba HDR5010 Freeview+ HD PVR

The new Toshiba HDR5010

Toshiba has stolen a march on its rivals and is the first to confirm the launch of a dedicated Freeview HD PVR.  It’s Toshiba’s first ever digital TV recorder – and Toshiba claims it’s capable of recording up-to 120 hours of HD TV.

At a glance the HDR5010 doesn’t look like anything special – its the standard glossy black box – but scratch beneath the surface and some of the spec sounds impressive. It’s the first confirmed PVR dedicated to the new Freeview HD digital platform. 

Initially BBC, ITV and Channel 4 HD channels will be available on Freeview HD. Freeview’s HD transmissions began in December 2009 in London, and will be rolled out to Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford and Newcastle in Spring 2010. The rest of the country will start to receive Freeview HD in line with their digital switchover dates.

Record and watch Freeview HD TV on the HDR5010

Freeview HD support aside, the HDR5010 has standard PVR functionality too – two tuners so you can watch one channel and record another, plus the ability to pause and rewind live TV. 

Features of note include a 500GB hard drive for recording up to (an estimated) 250 hours of standard-definition TV or 120 hours of higher quality high-definition (HD) TV. It has two USB ports for plugging in digital cameras or music players. You can view digital photos on your TV, listen to MP3s or even play back digital video. 

An ethernet port for connecting to home broadband should allow future digital interactive features to be downloaded straight onto the machine.

Toshiba has also included the Audio Description system – an additional narrative for the visually impaired which describes events on screen.

HD TV on Freeview  

To watch HD TV you will need a HD ready TV as well as Freeview HD equipment.

The Toshiba is the first Freeview HD twin tuner PVR with a confirmed launch date, but expect a Freeview HD box from Humax over the next couple of months. We’ve taken a first look at the Humax HD-Fox T2 and currently have a model in our test lab.

Keep an eye on Which? Freeview and Freesat set-top box reviews as we’ll put both Toshiba and Humax set-top boxes through their paces as soon as they are released.

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