Price (RRP): $999
The Beyonwiz PVRs have been around for several years now, with the DP-P2 being a second-generation version. It has the relatively unusual ability to record external analog video signals, fed into it via composite video or S-Video.
Why? If you have pay TV but haven’t made the leap to an iQ, then you can use your Beyonwiz to do the recording from that box. That’s become a less common need these days, so let’s focus on the unit as a PVR. Well, PVR and media box. If you plug the Beyonwiz DP-P2 into your computer network then it will play most formats of video, photo and music. You don’t even need to have ‘client’ software running on the computer: just ‘share’ the folders containing the material.
For TV work the unit has two high definition TV tuners and, now, a large 500GB hard disk drive. It has some conveniences that make life easier if you’re relying on your recording. For example, you can have it automatically insert padding – more recording time – at the start and end of every recording. There is a good range of ‘repeat’ record features such as specific days of the week.
The unit supports IceTV so for a modest cost you can have a bunch of traditional TiVo-like recording functions, with suggestions, programming remotely and looking out for specific program titles. Without IceTV, you will have to rely on keeping an eye on the unit’s EPG and manually select the things to record.
The recorder and playback worked with complete reliability. So did the playback of media files from my computer. You can add more recording space via a standard USB hard drive.
The picture quality with HDTV was excellent. That with SDTV was surprisingly poor, though. Whether set to 1080i or 576p output (if does not have 576i over HDMI), the result left distortion and movement around the tops and bottoms of hard edges of onscreen images, rather than cleanly drawn lines. That’s a pity, because this unit has everything else going for it.