Philips HDT8520 review

A difficult birth, but this Pace/Philips Freeview HD PVR is now as able bodied as any

Philips HDT8520
With twin Freeview HD tuners on board, you can watch one channel and record another

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We liked

The software update has made this a Freeview HD recorder of some status in terms of functionality, and though it's not the finished article the HDT8520's picture quality and ease of use should be enough to please most users.

We disliked

There's nothing flash about the HDT8520. There's no dabbling with USB playback, BBC iPlayer or any kind of networking, while the lack of Dolby Digital support and a Common Interface slot – for Top-Up TV – makes the HDT8520 a closed, albeit impressive, experience.

Final verdict

A solid performer, but there's nothing flash about the HDT8520. And though it comes with no extras, if you're after fairly advanced Freeview HD recording functionality it's a good option. As a bonus, its poor rep pre-software update would appear to be translating into a discount price.

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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),