TVonics DTR-Z500HD review

This Freeview+ HD recorder with HDMI switching is as slick as they come

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The user interface is quick and slick, with great use of colour and, most importantly, speed. Pictures from Freeview HD channels are stunning, and though standard-definition channels are upscaled to a reasonably good standard, we've seen better.

Watched on a mid-size TV you're unlikely to have any complaints, but the low bittrate of some channels is obvious if you attach the DTR-Z500HD to any display above 42-inches.

TVonics dtr z500hd

Audio is punchy with enough bass response to impress in a home cinema setting, too. Surround sound can be a confusing area since most boxes now offer 5.1 despite it not being broadcast much on Freeview HD.

Happily, when it is broadcast – in the compressed HE-AAC format – the DTR-Z500D converts it into Dolby Digital 5.1 (which all AV amplifiers can handle) to send over both HDMI and optical audio. There's also a Dolby Surround option, which puts normal stereo into a Dolby format that all AV amplifiers can then convert into 5.1 using one of the Dolby Pro Logic codecs.