The Manhattan Plaza UPM has a similar spec to the Technomate TM3500 D+ USB PVR, combining an embedded multicam reader with PVR upgradeability.

It's looks dated, but we like the silvery curve of buttons on the fascia and four-figure display that shows channel number and time.

At the rear are an LNB loopthrough, UHF loopthrough (unused), a single Scart with RGB and composite support and a composite video output. For separate audio there's a choice of stereo phonos or S/PDIF.The remote is well laid out and easy to grip, but could do with fewer than 56 buttons.

Fast blind scanning

There's support for all forms of DiSEqC and USALS control. An installation wizard can be used to configure one satellite only at a time, or you can perform three scanning modes – automatic using a transponder database, individual transponder scans and blind search – looking for FTA, encrypted or just TV or radio channels. Blind searches are fast (10 minutes for Hot Bird) and you can search by polarisation or within a symbol rate range.

Channels can be moved, deleted, renamed and searched for. Eight favourites lists can be created, and organised by transponder, network or encryption using the remote keys. A seven-day EPG shows a grid for six channels at a time, skippable day by day, with synopses.

Attach a flash stick or hard drive to the USB port under a flap on the front and you can record one channel at a time (while you watch another if it's on the same transponder) and pause live TV creating a buffer after you press pause.

You can fast-forward and rewind at up to 20x normal speed, set bookmarks and a there's a neat draggable progress bar. You can display JPEGs and MPEG-2 recordings from drives but, sadly, not MP3.

Picture quality is great, especially with RGB enabled. Recordings match the source and audio is crisp and clear.

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