Sagem RTI90-320 T2 review

Strictly mediocre, even at this modest price. You can do better elsewhere Tested at £170

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Strictly mediocre, even at this modest price. You can do better elsewhere


  • +

    Good HD picture quality

  • +

    able to record two programmes at once


  • -

    Poor video processing

  • -

    clunky to use

  • -

    no streaming or network capability

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With the analogue switch-off looming large in the UK, there's never been a better time to upgrade to a Freeview TV recorder. And this one is also able to receive high-definition TV via the Freeview HD platform.

So, with 320GB of twin-tuner recording capacity and a modest price, the Sagemcom RTI90-320 T2 might look a sensible buy.

The Sagemcom's trump card is its HD picture performance which is, it must be said, very good, so long as you leave its video output settings at 1080i (the standard for the majority of broadcast HD, with a few 1080p exceptions).

The RT90-320 T2's video processing, you see, isn't up to much. Set it to 1080p, and it introduces noise, especially background block noise, into images that it's attempting to deinterlace (essentially, turn from 1080i into 1080p).

Too many ergonomic irritations
That, though, is the least of its problems. There's an ethernet port plus a USB in, but neither interface does anything useful, despite the company's suggestions that a BBC iPlayer update might be made available at some point.

Then there's the EPG, which is frustrating to use and worse to look at, the haphazard remote control and the distinctly confused digital audio output, which (despite the prominent Dolby Digital logos on the unit's fascia and the clear use of the word 'Dolby' in its set-up menus) chooses to transcode broadcast HD audio not into Dolby Digital, but into DTS.

Set against all of that, the Sagemcom can record two programmes at once, and its recordings are reasonably faithful to the original.

All the same, this is a poor advert for the delights of hard-disk video recording. Go for Freeview HD by all means, but get there by some other means if you can.

See all our Freview set-top box reviews

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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