Echostar PVR-5020 review

A powerful and intuitive successor to the DVR-7000

The PVR5020 constantly buffers the incoming signal

TechRadar Verdict

A superb PVR but at a truly exclusive price


  • +

    Excellent software


  • -

    Only for the well-heeled

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A successor to the pioneering DVR-7000, the PVR5020 is still a highly competent PVR. Twin tuners allow for multi-channel recording on four channels and watch two more (using the picture-inpicture), across two transponders. It's neat and easy to understand; the PVR5020 works out what you can and can't do for you and menus are intuitive.

As well as storing 7,500 channels, each of the PVR5020's tuners can handle a DiSEqC 1.1 switching system to choose between 16 LNBs, but the PVR5020 also has old 0/12V switching too, so you could connect 32 LNBs to each tuner. Motorised DiSEqC 1.2 and USALS are also available.

The PVR5020 'knows' when both tuners are getting the same signal so you don't have to search a satellite twice. Searching is extremely fast - it Astra 1 in about 2.5 minutes.

The PVR5020 constantly buffers the incoming signal so you can instantly pause or rewind. Programmes can be set to record from the excellent EPG and encrypted channels can be recorded either as-broadcast, or unencrypted if you have a suitable CAM.

You can't play back a recording until it's complete - unless you select the channel and rewind to the beginning. Although the PVR5020 has faster playback cue and review speeds than many PVRs (16x and 8x, respectively), there is no means to jump directly to any point in the recording.

However, recordings can be edited to cut out unwanted parts. MP3 music files can also be downloaded from a PC and played back, and even edited like video files.

The great joy of the PVR5020 is that it is so easy to use, and the software almost seems to know what you want. But for £449, you'll only get an 80GB HDD, and although 160GB and 250GB versions are available, these raise the price by a massive £100 and £160 respectively. Ultimately, the PVR5020 is an excellent machine, but too expensive. Geoff Bains was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.