Digital Stream DHR8203U review

A slow EPG blights this Freeview+ HD recorder's otherwise impressive performance

Digital Stream DHR8203U
The touch sensitive buttons change colour to yellow when pressed

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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).

We liked:

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.

We disliked:

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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Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),