Have to say, this is one of those rare occaions where I can't agree with WHF on their review for this box. The only good thing going for it is picture quality which is very good. Unfortunately, that's really it, and after this things go wrong to badly wrong. In usability terms, I had this box for over 3 months and, although at first I lived with the poor interface (which has admiteddly been slightly improved with the current August update), even with this update it still lacks basic things like a PIP while using the EPG and even cuts the sound so you can't quickly check the EPG and still hear the programme you were watching.
But when it comes to basic functions of a PVR, like pressing Pause to pause live TV, more and more often the box would suddenly skip back to where you started watching the programme, meaning to start off again, you had to then fast forward through the programme to find the place you pressed Pause. This could happen again and again and got extremely frustrating. There's no mention of this anywhere in the release notes for the current patch, so I assume this still occurs.
There's still no 5.1 sound available, there are still users reporting lip sync issues etc. etc. (for a full list, see my thread which is linked at the bottom of the main review). The support from Philips for this box is also some of the worst I have ever encountered - if you like being treated like a mushroom, you'll get on fine with them, but if you actually like to be kept informed of progress when it comes to fixing issues, you'd be better off talking to a brick wall. I know this is down to the fact that it's actually Pace that have developed the box, and clearly they're not communicating with Philips, but to be fair, as a consumer, I don't really care about the whys and wherefors, I just want to be treated like a respected customer.
When you compare this with the likes of the Digital Stream (which I own now), for the same money you get none of these issues, and a much more usable interface. And you also get a team which, although based in South Korea, do actually communicate with their customers and provide updates. Not a lot to ask you would think! Aside from that, the Humax is another box worth considering instead of this Philips.
In my book, I would give the box 2 stars in its current form - it should definitely be avoided as it currently is. If Philips can sort out all the bugs, it might just warrant 4 stars, but unless they completely revamp the interface, it'll never compare with the likes of the Digital Stream or Humax (or possibly the 3view if this ever appears) and I would look into these instead.
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The large screen and punchy picture are highly attractive for this price, but you’ll have to forego the smart features and Full HD resolution
A decent effort from Boston Acoustics, but it’s nothing remarkable
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