Best cheap PVRs for under £200
By Martin Pratt
We've taken a look at the best PVRs we've tested to find you models that will deliver great picture and sound without breaking the bank.
When you buy a PVR you'll want to make sure it's one of the best going – if you're watching and recording TV every day, then cutting costs and compromising on quality could quickly drive you mad. Fortunately, our testing has uncovered five great, cheap PVRs that will save on both money and frustration.
In the table below, we reveal the models that scored best in our testing – while also costing you less than £200. These models have gone through the exact same rigorous lab test as their more expensive rivals, and have shown that they have the picture quality, clarity of sound and the top-notch electronic program guide required to improve your TV-watching experience.
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Best cheap PVRs
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Top five things to consider when choosing a PVR
While you'll only know just how good a PVR is by checking out the results of our bespoke testing, there are still some factors you can check before diving into our reviews:
- Hard drive size may be the most important specification listed on the box. The size of the hard drive will dictate how much recorded footage it can hold, with some models even having multiple choices for the same product. 500GB is the minimum you should consider, with 1TB being plenty of space for most.
- Ethernet or wi-fi will determine how your PVR connects to the internet to offer you catch-up and on-demand apps, such as BBC iPlayer. If your home router isn't located near your TV then make sure the PVR you're after is wi-fi enabled, otherwise you'll have to trail an ethernet cable through your home.
- Freeview vs Freesat is your choice when it comes to the service your PVR will use. The big difference to consider is how they're delivered: for Freeview you only need to plug an aerial into it, but for Freesat you need to have a satellite dish installed. In exchange for that hassle, though, Freesat will give you 119 SD channels plus 14 in HD, compared with Freeview's 70 SD and 15 in HD.
- Connections on the rear of the device will determine how you hook your PVR up to your TV. Most modem boxes will presume you have an HDMI port on your TV, but if you have an older set then you'll want to make sure it supports a phono or Scart output. Optical audio is also an option on some, for those looking to connect to a sound-system.
- The number of tuners is largely what determines how many channels you can watch and record simultaneously. It's not always as simple as 'three tuners = three channels to record at once' but you can use the figure as a general indication. The higher the number, the more channels you'll be able to record at one time.