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Test Report for Fortec Star Zeta 2CI PVR

Fortec Star Zeta 2CI PVR

When the VCR was first introduced to the public, the television industry reacted with panic. Here was a device that would let people record programmes, watch them when they felt like it as opposed to when the programming staff decided they should, and (scariest of all) skip through the commercials. This was called personal video recorder (PVR). The new 2 CI Twin PVR from Fortec Star has just hit the market and has reached out test centre. Yet, the success story of the Fortec Star Zeta PVR continued all the way.

The Fortec Star PVR is an ordinary looking set top box unit that won't detract much from any living room design. From the front, buttons control power, menu selection and quick access to the EPG function, along with menu control and selection buttons. The selection buttons will also flick up and down through volume and channel selections outside the onscreen menu displays. There are total seven buttons on the front panel of the box. The four character LED display, which gives details of your current channel, as well as simple indicators if you're recording the current programme.

There are two CI slots on the right side for all standard modules However, one must think in the future, Fortec Star Zeta PVR will also be available with an integrated card reader.

On the back panel there are two tuner inputs with their respective loop-through outputs, two scart connections, three RCA jacks for stereo audio and video, an RS-232 interface for linking the box to a PC, as well as an optical dig audio output. The included remote control is the standard one, which has an easy access to all the functions.

During the installation, a short information is displayed at the bottom of the menu screen. After you finish the setup procedure, you can start watching TV or listening to Radio. After turning on the TV for the first time, the pop-up menu for language selection will appear. Select one language and press the OK button to proceed. Press the MENU button to display the main menu. Most of the menus shows a short information at the bottom of screen.

The Fortec Star Zeta PVR is able to output the video signal as RGB, CVBS, YUV and S-Video using either the PAL or NTSC color mode. Apart from LNB settings the Installation menu includes the channel search as well. An automatic search can be performed with the network mode on or off and can be restricted to FTA signals or scan all available signals.

With the network search mode activated the Fortec Star Zeta completed a full scan on our 80-transponder test satellite in approximately seven minutes. This is a very good result, albeit one we have come to expect products.

The channel edit menu deserves special mention as it is a very effective tool: channels can be renamed, moved, deleted or sorted according to all kinds of parameters as well as protected with a PIN code to make sure your little ones don't watch anything that's not suitable for their age. Channels can also be copied to an unlimited number of favourite lists, a feature that is both fun and extremely useful for keeping everything close by and handy.

Zapping is fun with the Fortec Star Zeta PVR, as the time it takes to switch from one Channel to the next is around one second. This receiver features two tuners and therefore is able to record two different events from different transponders at the same time, while simultaneously a third programme from one of these two transponders or a recording on the hard disk can be watched on the screen. All this needs two distinct signal inputs to work, of course. Eight different events can be added using Timer Event function to record and different program in different dates and time automatically.

In conclusion, we can happily state that the new Fortec Star Zeta PVR is the ideal Personal Video Recorder. It offers top features and includes everything most users will desire - like the USB 2.0 interface.



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