With devices as powerful as the TViX 4130 and 5130 PVRs, there are no operational differences. Nonetheless, other differences between the units allow you to choose a unit that best suits your needs. So what are these differences between the three models?

TViX 4130 PVR

HDTV_LEAD.jpgFirst, and most affordably, there is the TViX 4130 PVR. This costs just $645 but offers all the functions and features described in our articles, as well as the flexibility of customised storage capacity. This unit does not come with a hard disk drive installed; rather, you buy one with the capacity that will suit your needs. The unit is compatible with the latest format SATA hard disk drives, which provide high performance. And these are very reasonably priced.

For example, you could use a 250GB model for not much more than $100, but if you really want to have plenty of storage, you could install a one terabyte drive (ie. 1000GB) at a cost of around $500‚to $600.

The TViX 4130 PVR is, unlike the two 5130 models, conventionally shaped. That is, it is rectangular. But it is still nicely small. In fact, it measures only 183 mm wide, 139 mm deep and 75 mm tall. Will you have trouble lugging it to your computer to load it up if you aren’t using a network connection? No way. With a hard disk drive installed, it still weighs just 1.3 kilograms!

TViX 5130 PVR

homemovies_LEAD.jpgThe other two models are different versions of the TViX 5130 PVR. The lower cost version comes, like the 4130, without a hard disk drive. At $699 it is identical in every way, aside from this, to the ‘standard’ 5130.

Yes, this version of the 5130, supplied with a 320GB hard drive, costs more at $799. But that’s only one hundred dollars more, and 320GB SATA hard disk drives typically cost $150 or more, so this is exceptional value for money.

Both versions of the 5130 are remarkably attractive in styling. For one thing, they aren’t boxes but cylinders! They stand 185 mm tall and have a diameter of 131 mm. Yet, like the 4130 they still have a useful front panel display and a full collection of connections at the rear.

To go with the unusual shape, the 5130 is finished in a glorious brushed aluminium enclosure that would look good with any home entertainment system, and is a welcome departure from the usual boxy look of much home entertainment equipment.

In all other ways, all these units are the same. They all support a huge range of multimedia file types, with more becoming available on a regular basis. They provide top-quality signals to your home entertainment system, with sound coming via stereo analog audio, or optical or coaxial digital audio, or HDMI. The picture can be delivered as standard definition S-Video or composite video, but far better are the component video and HDMI outputs, which can deliver all resolutions up to 1080 lines in progressive scan.

And they have plentiful connectivity to digital devices, with an Ethernet port, a peripheral-style USB 2.0 port, and two host-type USB 2.0 connections.