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There are swathes of HD hungry Freeview TV viewers eager to feast on as much high quality content as they can digest without paying through the nose for a subscription.
Being first out of the traps gives Sagemcom a huge advantage in this fledgling market with a box that, price aside, looks like a very enticing proposition by delivering those HD pictures and offering a means of time-shifting them. But what should be an all-round triumph falls down in a couple of significant ways.
The RTI90-500 T2 HD doesn't disappoint in what is perhaps the most important aspect – it's HD pictures are superb. To be fair, we've seen a lot of Freeview HD boxes and most of them have delivered equally impressive results but ultimately it needs to be stated this is not a duff box in this respect.
The other not insignificant plus is that you can pause, rewind and record Freeview HD with as much confidence as you can with any other decent PVR. The recording management is also a bit more sophisticated than most. The versatility and user-friendliness of the EPG is also to be commended.
Features-wise there are a few absent friends such as a CI slot, multi-media playback and network capability, but whether these would be considered deal-breakers is a matter of personal preference.
The lack of surround sound is a big disappointment and makes a mockery of the Dolby Digital logo splashed on the front of the box. Having said that, audio quality is fine so long as you don't mind it in stereo.
The main dislike is the operating system, which is clunky, ugly and annoying. Much better menus are to be found elsewhere.
Anyone in the market for a Freeview+ HD box wants to hear that this is a brilliant all-rounder. Sadly, that simply isn't the case.
Our overall opinion of the RTI90-500 T2 HD is that if it were a car it would look like a Toyota Auris from the outside, feel like an Austin Allegro on the inside and drive like a Jaguar XK with a dodgy gearbox. And who would want that combination? No matter how good the performance you just wouldn't be happy being transported along in such unglamorous surroundings.
It's probably worth waiting for rival PVRs to come out from the likes of Humax, Sharp, Philips and Toshiba before raiding the piggy bank for an RTI90-500 T2 HD.
On the other hand, if you're desperate for a Freeview+ HD box and don't mind the tatty menus or slowness of its operating system you can at least rest assured it will deliver the HD goods.
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