The Thomson DTI6300-16 Freeview PVR is the model currently being used to promote the Top Up TV Anytime service, which is no surprise as the DTI6300-16 is packed with features. Its neat styling is also easy on the eye and it comes with a smart looking remote handset with a hot button direct to Top Up TV services.

Connectivity is fairly standard with two Scart sockets (one RGB), S-video, analogue stereo and coaxial digital outputs. There's a CAM slot for a Top Up TV subscription card and a USB input behind a front panel flap.

Personal services

The 160GB hard disk drive gives you around 20hrs of personal storage, with the rest allocated to Top Up TV Anytime downloads. There are two tuners (fed by the same aerial lead) to enable you to watch one channel while recording another, or record two channels at the same time.

Time-shifting facilities are impressive, and the DTI6300-16 allows you to rewind and pause live broadcasts by up to an hour. Automated recordings are selected from the 14-day EPG, and there's a series link option too. Manual timer recordings can also be made.

Chase play gives you the ability to watch the beginning of a recorded programme while recording the end. Also, trick play facilities allow you to fast forward or rewind through six incremental speeds up to x64. Sadly, this PVR has a few operational niggles.

The remote handset occasionally skips when stepping through channels incrementally, and there's a momentary delay before programmes appear onscreen when selecting a channel directly.

More irritating are the viewing hiccups when images drop out or momentarily stutter, despite decent signal strengths from the aerial input. Images look sharp, but the over-enhanced edges while watching football matches make viewing a disappointment and unsuitable for big screen sports fans.

Colours are good, but not as vibrant as we'd like. Shadowy indoor material lacks black depth during darker sequences shot inside the Queen Vic pub in Eastenders. Recordings exhibit similar flaws but there are no further degradations from the hard drive.

Smooth operator

There's no cause for complaint on the audio side. Dialogue is smooth and free from any splutters, and has a naturalness that's easy on the ears.

With a stack of flexible facilities, the Thomson DT16300-16 is one of the most powerful time-shifters for terrestrial digital TV. It gives access to the Top Up TV Anytime service, but sadly the operational glitches and gritty pictures work against it.