A PVR (personal video recorder, also known as DVR or digital video recorder) lets you pause, rewind, replay and record your 'can't miss' TV shows. We lab test and review the latest models to help you find the best PVR for you. Our PVR buying guide explains the features to look for, and how we test explains how we get our results.
Our expert testers give every PVR a thorough workout to help find the models that:
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which models have a dedicated Netflix button, which support 4K or Ultra HD, and which let you record to external storage. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.
List of brands we tested in this review.
The prices shown are recommended retail however you should be able to find most of these models for a lower price if you shop around.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 299 and 849
We recommend models with an overall score of 70% or more.
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Ultra-high Definition (also called 4K) could be the next 3D in the sense that there's a lot of hype, but virtually no content available yet. UHD TVs have a lot more pixels than an HD TV, but they also cost a lot more. This is one of those features that may turn out to be a nice feature to have, but shouldn't be a factor in your purchasing decision.
FreeviewPlus features include the ability to display of all TV networks' programs without the need to change channels, a search function and the ability to enjoy catch-up TV channels such as iView, 9Now and SBS On Demand.
Recordings can be recorded directly to an external drive, however you may need to have the drive connected to the PVR to view the video delivering a certain amount of copyright protection.
Ease of use We look for an auto-tuning system that's informative and simple to use. We make instant recordings and check the menus for ease of understanding, navigation and clarity. We also play back recordings to check the quality and range of functions that are possible. We look at the front panel controls to see to what extent the machine can operate various tasks without using the remote control, and look at the quality of information conveyed via the front panel display.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0
For EPG performance, we assess:
Onscreen information for simple or well organised layout of times, channels and program titles.
How easy the characters are to read – considering the size, contrast, font, colours, background.
The quality of descriptor words, phrases or symbols and that selections stay on screen long enough to read.
Which keys to use and whether there's support for one-button recording.
Whether the EPG delivers instant, or near instant program information updates.
We test series recording by using the Series link feature on the PVR. We note any discrepancies with the end and start times and penalise PVRs for any truncated footage or dropouts, as well as for any times where the Series link feature fails to locate a program within the scheduled period.
The dedicated Netflix button on the remote will excite binge watching enthusiasts – you are sent to the Netflix opening screen with a single button press.
Recorded programs do not have DRM protection so you can move the video footage onto a USB device and watch it wherever you like.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 500 and 2000
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.