Not to be confused with the satellite tuner-equipped model, at first glance this Freeview PVR seems like a cosmetic upgrade to the Inverto IDL-7000T, the biggest amendment being the ditching of the former 'iPod' white stylings for a more polished silver (or, once again, optional black) casing.
It retains the large blue LED display that shows which mode you're in or the name of the channel you're watching. A pull-down flap on the front prises open to reveal a set of operating buttons for all key functions alongside blanked-off CI slots (no Top Up TV compatibility here).
The remote is also cut from the same, er, plastic as its predecessor. It's slender and lightweight with a central direction pad (used to both fast-forward and rewind recordings as well as navigate the menus) underneath which are the PVR controls.
A well-stocked rear panel features twin Scarts with RGB composite and S-video support on the TV Scart and composite and (most welcome for archiving) S-video on its VCR counterpart. Also present are separate S-video and composite outputs, together with optical and coaxial digital audio outputs and stereo phonos.
Alongside these are six UHF connectors enabling you to pipe an analogue signal to other equipment and, with the aid of a UHF modulator, watch digital TV via your TV's UHF input. There's also a dedicated power switch and an RS232 serial port for software updates (also handled OTA).
After one of the quickest scanning sessions we've seen it's time to admire the purple menu system which is overlaid over the current channel rather than obscuring it.
Pressing the central pad when viewing a channel brings up a programme information bar which can be used to view what's on other channels, but not to set recordings.
Topping Freeview Playback is a 14-day EPG populated by information provided by 4TV that is updated overnight by leaving the receiver in standby. This is displayed as a grid of channels accompanied by side-scrollable programme information, or you can view a list of programmes for a selected channel.
In both cases you can skip back and forth 24 hours, schedule programme reminders or instigate a recording directly by hitting record.
The twin-tuner arrangement allows you to record two programmes at once and you're notified of clashes. Scheduled recordings are highlighted in the Record List, where you can adjust the start and end time and set it to record the same channel and time slot once, daily or weekly. You can also choose to start watching the current programme while it's still being recorded.
Programme reminders and scheduled recordings are also stored in the Personal Planner - a calendar that can be used to enter personal reminders using the remote keypad.
Completed recordings are accessed in the Recording Library, where you can generate thumbnails (used as bookmarks) or archive them to VHS. But the most notable feature here is the ability to compress them to 'long play' to save on hard disc space.
The 160GB drive can store up to 80 hours by default or 160 hours in long play, although long-play recordings can look overly compressed. The Inverto keeps a running cache of what you watch in its pause buffer, which can be set to last up to 60minutes or turned off altogether. You can record subtitles and set a start and end buffer for recordings lasting up to five minutes.
Recordings and cached material can be fast-forwarded and rewound at up to 64x normal speed or slowed to 1/2 or 1/4 speed. A progress bar indicates where you are in a recording, but this can be a little slow to appear. You can also create a favourites list or re-organise the main one, pin-lock channels and there's a picture-in-picture mode.
Standard-play recordings match the quality of the source material but the Inverto's tuners generate a soft picture that's most noticeable on larger-screen TVs.
Audio, meanwhile, is crisp from the digital outputs and meaty from the phonos too.
While its picture performance isn't stellar, £170 for a twin-tuner PVR with a 160GB hard disc and 14-day EPG is undoubtedly a bargain, at least until the latter feature makes it to the DVB EPG.