Philips second-generation media centre PC ticks most of the boxes when it comes to living room system integration.

Unlike its name, the Philips LRPC7500 Streamium Freevents is wonderfully small, measuring a mere 45mm high. This downsizing is possible because the power supply has been separated out from the box.

Powerful system

It's also whisper quiet in operation. To allow use from a distance, it also comes with a Bluetooth wireless integrated keyboard and mouse.

It's built around an Intel Core 2 Duo T5200 processor, with 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Wi-fi is integrated. The OS is Windows Vista (Premium, but it won't play graphically intense games) which has Media Centre built in as a default.

As a front-end for browsing images and audio, it's great. Its limitations as a PVR, though, are considerable. The LRPC7500 has a single integrated Freeview tuner; there's also an option to control a set-top box, but WMC simply doesn't work well with Sky.

Image quality from the aerial input is also average at best. But forget the PVR aspect and there's much to like here.

Highs

Fabulous form factor. The box can be stacked either horizontally or vertically.

If you want a device to provide IPTV to your screen, this box delivers: BBC iPlayer, YouTube, you'll encounter few problems streaming TV.

A built-in DVD burner makes archival back-up on disc a breeze.

Lows

No HDMI output. Hook this up to a TV and you'll probably need to use a DVI-HDMI or a DVI-PC VGA adaptor.

Ultimately, the PVR integration within WMC is limited. Try and control set-top boxes and you'll enter a world of compatibility pain. Better options exist elsewhere. The single DVB tuner means you can't watch one channel via the PC while recording another.