Price (RRP): $1,099
Every few years Topfield releases a ‘Masterpiece’ PVR which is basically a no-holds-barred device. The TRF-2400 is its current one, and as PVRs go it is indeed no-holds barred.
Let me dispose quickly of its primary function. It has two HD tuners, a massive 500GB hard disk drive and plenty of recording options, including automatic padding for the tail end of recordings. When it comes to watching TV, the unit does a great job with HDTV, and is up there with the TiVo and nearly up there with the Panasonic for the quality of SDTV programs, even delivered at 1080i. If you have a particularly high quality TV, you can set the output resolution from the HDMI to ‘Native’, so that the unit outputs whatever the resolution of the particular signal is.
To make life a little easier, this unit also comes with a universal remote control that you can program to control your TV, DVD player and even a number of AV receivers.
The unit has USB sockets for playing back multimedia material, including AVI and DivX video (but, oddly, it would not support a standard MPEG2 video file), most music formats and JPEG photos. Or you can download these to the unit’s own hard disk drive via its network connection. Indeed, you can log onto the unit either with an FTP program or as a web page from a computer on the network for transferring files – at quite high speed – in both directions. And that includes the recordings you have made on the unit.
It also supports IceTV if you wish to subscribe, thereby permitting intelligent recording. The unit requires a network connection for all these features, but Topfield sells a wireless dongle for $69 that can free it from being hard wired.
Also available on the network is access to YouTube videos, Flickr photos and ShoutCast Internet radio. There was a weather page, but this didn’t work at all well in my area, showing figures and forecasts that didn’t match what the weather bureau was saying.