I have a Goodmans GHD1621F2 Freeview Playback personal video recorder (PVR) and it is extremely good at what it does, which is viewing, recording and managing Freeview digital TV broadcasts. The unit is dark grey with a mirror oblique front and looks rather stylish. The picture it outputs from the Scart is crisp and clean and navigating through the Freeview electronic programme guide (EPG) is simple and intuitive.
At any point you can set a reminder for a programme in the next 8 days, or set for the programme to be recorded. If the broadcaster issues the necessary Freeview Playback meta data then you may be offered the opportunity to be reminded or to record the single instance of the programme or all future programmes in the series. Since ongoing dramas such as Coronation Street never end, one can essentially have a permanent rolling record on such series. To view the recorded programmes you press the “play” button and all the recordings you have made are shown. Simply select which one you wish to view and using the remote you can play, pause, FF or rewind as if using a DVD player. Playback is smooth and high quality. What you can’t easily do is see all future recordings planned, although that can be done by scrolling back and forth and up and down in the EPG and looking for the yellow underlining that denotes a future recording. This is therefore not quite as good as Sky+ which lists all previous and future recordings on a single page. [EDIT: System Setting > DTR Setting > Timer. No wonder I couldn’t find it . Thanks to kopperdrake for the correction] I also have not found an obvious way to bookmark part of a recording or to restart from the last point viewed, also a feature of other PVRs. The recordings seem to start exactly on the button, without the need to pad out the recording time. I believe this is a feature of Freeview Playback and it works very well.
The unit has 2 tuners, so that you can record 1 channel and watch another, or record 2 channels but not watch a third. Some PVRs can magic 2 recordings and a live channel (Sky+ and the Topfield I believe), but this unit can’t.
This box cost me £99 from Currys and given that there is a good range of channels on Freeview it replaced our second Sky+ box very well, with a ten month payback period.
If you haven’t tried digital with a PVR recorder then this is a very low cost, good quality box that performs well. Right now I am watching Jeeves and Wooster on it.