To our mind the usability of a machine's graphical user interface is crucial for it to have any worth, but for a potentially complex recorder such as the DHR8203U, it's critical. So kudos goes to Digital Stream for producing one of the simplest and best-looking user interfaces around – it's certainly in another league when compared to most Freeview HD receivers (bar those from the likes of Philips, Icecrypt and Humax).
An interface that's well designed and easy to get to know is always welcome, but the best thing about the DHR8203U is its picture quality for both SD and HD. Recordings are easy to set-up and MP3 playback is imaginative.
Although it plays MP3 and JPEG files from a USB stick, some compatibility with video files such as DivX would be useful – as would some basic DLNA networking. Though the remote is too crowded, our main issue with the DHR8203U is its EPG, which is slow enough to take the shine off an otherwise impressive box.
It has its foibles, but the DHR8203U is a well designed and highly functional Freeview+ HD machine that can offers stunning HD and standard definition channels that are upscaled well. That unusual skill helps put the DHR8203U in pole position in the Freeview+ HD recorder market.
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