The Beyonwiz DP-S1 seems to be an ideal personal video recorder (PVR). It has two HD digital tuners that deliver good quality reception and can record different channels simultaneously.
Unlike a standard PVR, you get a DVD player to watch movies when there is nothing appealing on TV. Also, if you’ve got a lot of content on your computer, you can sit in the lounge room and use the Beyonwiz to watch movies and listen to music stored on your computer over an Ethernet connection.
The 200GB hard drive is only average for a PVR in this price range, so if you want to keep all your recordings at HD quality (with the unit able to record video at up to 1080i, or 1920 x 1080 pixels) you’ll find yourself running out of room very quickly. One option would be to connect external memory of some kind — the Beyonwiz supports USB 2.0 external hard drives and removable flash drives.
A memory card reader allows you to download your digital photos, video or music files directly from an SD or Compact Flash (CF) card. High quality component video, digital audio and HDMI connections allow you to enjoy the best possible viewing quality, with standard composite video and stereo audio connections also available if you need to hook up your old VCR or TV.
If you think all this sounds too good to be true ... you’d be correct. The Beyonwiz is certainly not without its drawbacks. You can’t record to a DVD disc, but if you normally watch recorded shows and then delete them, this shouldn’t be a big issue.
The DVD player didn’t perform well in our damaged DVD test, so you may have trouble watching movies if the DVD has any scratches or marks on the surface.
Unfortunately, you can’t move video from the Beyonwiz to a PC over an Ethernet connection (which would allow you to burn a DVD), as the function was greyed out on the menu. We hear this will be resolved in a future firmware upgrade, as will other issues, such as being unable to record a TV show while watching a DVD, and renaming recorded programs.
While the Beyonwiz streamed music and video from a network drive over a network cable, streaming media over a wireless connection was not possible in our test. Despite the company’s claims, our tester could only play the video after the entire file was downloaded to the hard drive on the DP-S1.
Computer users often have to cope with the endless round of firmware upgrades for products that are not ready to be released, but you shouldn’t have to deal with the upgrade merry-go-round in the lounge room.
In time, the Beyonwiz DP-S1 may become a great PVR. But until then, it remains half baked.