Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
In developing this high definition personal video recorder (PVR)Â Teac seems to have decided to go for several features to add real value to it.
The basic recorder featuresÂ two high definition digital TV tuners so that it offers excellent recording flexibility. There is a time shift function and a 250GB hard disk drive to hold all your recordings (about 200GB is available for these).
There are computer-style host USB ports on both the front and back of the unit. These can be used for a USB keyboard or for mass storage devices, such as flash card readers or even USB hard disk drives. With the latter you can even copy your recordings onto the external hard disk for backup.
There is also an Ethernet connection, so that the unit can become part of your home network. With a connection to a router you can access the internet and display web pages. You can also play a wide range of digital media directly from the internet and from shared folders on your computer. Or directly export your recordings to the computer.
A time shift facility is by no means rare on PVR, in fact most units have one in some form or other. But this one was rather a surprise. About 5 minutes after I connected up the unit and switched it on, I hit ‘rewind’ to check that it was working. It dutifully rewound through the last 5 minutes of TV that had been showing, and then kept on going, back and back, through strange and unexpected shows.
I was puzzled for a while, but then it became obvious that Teac’s time shift was unique. In all other cases, the time shift buffer is emptied whenever you change stations or switch the unit off. But that doesn’t happen with this one. It keeps everything, or at least it does up to the limits of the space allocated for this purpose (quite a few hours it seems). That means that if something you watched last night is puzzling to you today, you can just fire up the unit, rewind, and watch it.
The internet access worked very nicely. Thanks to the high definition picture delivered via HDMI, the screen size was not anywhere near as constricting as other TV-type internet access options are. You should purchase an inexpensive USB keyboard, though, because keying in web addresses using the remote control is a job only for the persistent.
The HDMI output was interesting in that it protects against setting a resolution that is incompatible with your display. If you change it, it gives you a few seconds to confirm with an onscreen message, otherwise it reverts the former setting.
The picture quality was par for the course with HD PVRs, which is to say excellent with HD channels, but not very good when scaling up SD channels. The recording timers were, initially, not entirely reliable, but a recent firmware update (which became available just a few days ago) appears to have fixed this.
Teac has, with the HDRM7250, come up with an excellent high definition personal video recorder with great expansion and media centre features.