REVIEW – DVX 555u set-top box/DIY PVR
Some months ago, I wrote about a set-top-box I picked up from Strathfield Car Radio called the DVX555u. It was unusual in that it was actually a do-it-yourself personal video recorder (PVR) as well.
Remove the back cover and there was the space, the IDE data and power cables to add in your own IDE hard drive.
At the time, it retailed for about $90 however it’s available now on Deals Direct for $49.95.
Now not only did this make a great little standard-definition PVR, will a little work, it was possible to extract to digital video stored on the hard drive and convert it to DVD. It could also capture (but not replay) high-definition digital TV streams as well.
Although IDE hard drives are starting to get a little thin on the ground in the face of the SATA2 revolution, they’re still available and you shouldn’t have much trouble putting together a 250GB drive and one of these little units for under $130.
Look, it’s certainly not perfect and there are a few features I wish it had (like using the USB interface for outputting video rather than accepting USB drive external storage for reading only) but it’s a compact little unit that actually gives you more functionality than many units I’ve seen at five to ten times the price.
The ability to actually get at the video stored on the drive and burn it to DVD is pretty cool especially at this price. Although the box only mentions a maximum of 250GB, the word is you should have no trouble getting a 400GB drive working in this unit.
The one thing in the manual that does need correction (and also in the on-screen display) is its capacity display. The unit claims to be able to fit 52 hours of video onto an 80GB drive. The real figure is closer to 30 hours.
But all in all, I love devices that give you options and certainly the ability to turn this set-top box into a fully fledged PVR for the price of an IDE hard drive is a definite plus.
* Add your own IDE hard drive to turn it into a PVR
* Possible to remove the drive, load it into your PC and with a small software tool, take the video off the drive and store it on your PC for burning to a DVD movie disc.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
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