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Test Report for Opensat 9900 HD PVR

Opensat 9900 HD PVR

There are several advantages to using a PVR to record your favourite TV shows: no tapes to rewind, the ability to pause live TV, integrated programme guides, and series recording, plus a lot more storage space than a standard VHS cassette. You can copy programmes down onto video tape or a DVD recorder for archiving, if you wish. One of such Personal video recorder from Opensat is 9900 HDPVR.

Switching on the Opensat 9900 HDPVR for the first time will give you a pleasant look. There's no wait for software to boot up, no pretty logo to sit through for those impatient seconds that last forever when you know the show you want to see is already starting. As soon as the power button is pressed, we're up and running and this speed is echoed throughout the whole machine. There's no delay from pressing a button to the action happening on-screen.

Switching between channels and navigation of the menus is nice and quick. It's a real pleasure not to have to wait at all. Setting up the antenna is as simple as it can be thanks to DiSEqC and USALS. All we'd expect from this kind of setup is available, from selection of DiSEqC ports for multiple LNBs through to a fully motorised system with the positions calculated from the user's latitude and longitude. Just about every other setup possibility is cov-ered. A host of preset options are available for LNB types and if yours is somehow not included, all the required frequencies needed can be added manually. Scanning for channels is always the most tedious part of setting a receiver up, there's no getting away from it. Opensat have done well though, and the menu clarity continues into this step. Once the satellites we want to scan are set, the Multisat search will search each one in turn – either for all channels or just free-to-air.

Once the channels are in memory, a comprehensive editing section allows them to be sorted, renamed, deleted, moved or added to one of the favourites lists. The manipulation of the favourites lists is the quickest I can ever remember using, it is so fast it is almost a pleasure instead of a chore – I never thought the day would come when I would hear myself saying that. Up to 200 channels can be added to each of the eight favourites lists, which can be renamed as required. More innovative buttons exist – the HD button gives us a channel list of only the HD channels, and this can also be used as a filtering button when inside the channel list. The more obscurely named “M-F” button gives access to multi-feed channels. There's also a recall button, but not just the usual recall button – this is recall on steroids, giving us a menu listing the 10 last viewed channels to choose from.

Thankfully my old faithful 40GB USB drive worked perfectly. In fact, even a USB memory stick will do the job. I tried it with an everyday 4GB memory stick, and it worked with only occasional jumps at the start of recording or playback, even with the high amounts of data. Pressing the record button adds the show into the receiver's timer, which is best thought of as being just like the timer found on an old VCR, remember those?

The timer entries can be edited to run daily or weekly which helps a little, but just seven available timer slots are simply inadequate for life in today's multi-channel.

Time-shifting is also present – this can be turned on permanently in the setup menus, or accessed as required by pressing the pause button.



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