3view may not be the aboriginal architect to absolution a amalgam VoD and Freeview HD PVR but this UK-based company’s countdown 3VHD artefact has lots of appearance on action if you appetite a media server as able-bodied as a recorder.
The pun-tastic appellation ‘3view’ is authentic as ‘watch, chase and interact’, alluding not aloof to TV but the networking and online appearance on offer.
Appearance and connectivity
Clad in smart-looking atramentous plastic, 3view is almost the aforementioned admeasurement as the boilerplate Blu-ray amateur and runs agilely and calmly alike afterwards abiding use. It comes with an alien 12V adeptness accumulation and there are affairs to action one with a congenital Homeplug in future.
Its 500GB 2.5in SATA adamantine drive can be swapped for one of your own up to 1TB at the amount of abolishment your warranty. The box is additionally different for a Freeview PVR in accepting a Z-Wave dent installed, which will accredit you to ascendancy lighting and heating systems at a afterwards date.
The advanced fascia lacks a readout but does accept a adeptness button, standby and almanac indicators and a aeronautics pad for application the airheaded and channel-zapping. A front-mounted USB anchorage would accept been acceptable for bound active in drives back the box is sitting on a shelf, but there are two on the rear.
Also actuality are an Ethernet port, HDMI, distinct Scart, an SPDIF audio output, and an aeriform loopthrough – but no modulator. Sporting a 3view sticker, the alien feels rather ‘off -the-shelf’, with a accustomed button adjustment that’s acutely labelled. It’s not bad – it’s aloof not as adventuresome as the box itself.
That said, 3view is co-developing a Wii-style gyroscopic ambassador that could see a absolution by the end of the year. The receiver will assignment with best active or wireless mice and keyboards; both are appropriate if you appetite to use the abounding online appearance (notably web-browsing).
Getting the receiver up and active is straightforward. You baddest your adopted achievement resolution (up to 1080p with upscaling of SD sources supported) again browse for channels, afterwards which a arrangement bureaucracy astrologer automatically detects your arrangement settings (you’ll charge to add your own USB dongle for Wi-Fi) or there’s a chiral advantage if you prefer.
Scanning was apathetic on our aboriginal pre-production analysis archetypal but channels can be re-numbered and re-named and a favourites account created. Updates can be downloaded anon via the net or transferred from a USB drive.
With its attractive and humble red wallpaper the aberration card arrangement is aerial and accessible to navigate, if a little animal in places – conspicuously the alternate menu. We additionally like the way the accepted approach shrinks into the bend or ancillary of the awning back accessing it.
The seven-day EPG goes aloft and above the boilerplate Freeview PVR; a accepted scrollable filigree arrangement chastening TV and radio channels calm acceptance six channels onscreen at a time while absolution you annal through the abounding seven canicule of data. The accepted approach and programme abridgment are displayed at the top.
Selecting a programme brings up a pop-up card of options: watch this channel, almanac episode, almanac series, appearance accessible (where you get a account of episodes with the advantage to record) or chiral record. A agnate card is presented for a appearance you’re recording with the advantage to comedy it while in progress.
Dipping into the PVR card brings up the copious EPG chase options. With an onscreen keyboard you can chase by title, keywords, people, brand or ‘AV Props’ (whether close-captioned, Dolby or in HD or with another languages available).
A wishlist arrangement will auto-search listings according to your keywords and there are affairs to acquaint a brilliant ratings system. A notable blank is red button interactivity.
PVR and multimedia
Recordings can be appointed application a chiral timer as able-bodied as the EPG with the adeptness to specify continuance and echo options. A cardinal of recording defaults can be set up in beforehand and activated on the fly back ambience up recordings manually or from the EPG.
You can accomplish them essential, high, average or low priority, set a absorber either ancillary up to an hour afore or three afterwards, accept to almanac first-run episodes alone or repeats too and specify if Aeriform ascribe and loopthrough you appetite to accumulate the recording as continued as possible, always or for a aeon of up to four weeks.
Recordings are listed with name and date and cannot be exported. You can almanac two SD or HD channels at already and if clashes action you’re accustomed the advantage to adjustment the proposed recordings in agreement of priority.
Playback is aided by an onscreen timeline with the adeptness to apathetic it bottomward to 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 or ½ acceleration or fast-forward/rewind at 3, 8, 15, 30 or 90x speeds. At present, video on appeal comes from YouTube (where 3view has smartly included a area on application the box) and BBC iPlayer including HD. The closing was not enabled on our analysis box but has a big-screen interface not antithetical to that begin on Freesat boxes, including analytic via an onscreen keyboard.
Sky Amateur appears in the airheaded but is not accepted until the autumn. Other web-enabled functionality includes Opera-based web browsing via Google and widgets. Pressing the dejected button brings up a row of widgets that currently includes Facebook, Twitter, weather, BBC News, RSS feeds from BBC News and Yahoo! and burning messaging from a ambit of providers including MSN.
As with the browser, a keyboard and abrasion is capital for these as there’s no accouterment for text-style access application the remote. 3view affairs to add shopping, advice and added VoD casework in future.
Media alive is accessible from DLNA/uPnP-compatible USB drives or networked accessories such as PCs and NAS drives. There are abstracted airheaded for My Music, My Video and My Photo, with playlist and angel slideshow options (while alert to music) and files can be affected to the adamantine drive. Formats accurate accommodate MP4, AVI, MKV, MP3, AAC and JPEG.
The box accepted reliable for TV watching and recording. Channel-changing is quick, as is abyssal the EPG, and we had no recording hiccups.
With a acceptable reception, the tuners accomplish crisp-looking images from SD and HD channels that are anxiously maintained in the recordings.
We had no agitation arena a array of media files from affiliated drives and YouTube video alive additionally accepted unproblematic.
Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview
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