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The DSTV Personal Video Recorder

I have been promising a review of the DSTV Personal Video Recorder for a while now, but to be true to any products one needs to use it for a while. It has now been 2 weeks and I believe it is time.

The DSTV PVR can do the follow:

  • Stream 2 channels thus allowing us to watch 2 DSTV channels simultaneously
  • Record 80 hours of television, this actually could be considered a 3rd channel as it does not interfere with the other two

The following is available on both channels:

  • Pause live TV
  • Instant playback
  • Rewind live TV
  • Access to the TV Guide
  • 3 programs visible in the i-Plate (the panel at the bottom)

But there is so much more to this device, some of it  I like, some I don not.

So I will start with what I do like:

  • Whilst I am watching one channel or, and this is important, viewing a recording, it will record a scheduled program. This is irrelevant of what PVR channel or DSTV channel I currently am on.
  • The recordings contain all the TV Guide information
  • To set one program for recording once is but a single button away
  • Optical digital output (5.1 sound)
  • The possibility to set the device to a 16:9 aspect ratio (Widescreen TV) not that I saw any differences yet.
  • Software upgradable

So what don’t I like? 

  • Repeat programs can not be set up using the record button, one has to go to the "Time Based" option for that. Much like a video recorder.
    I think that an option should be added when the "Record" button is pressed to be able to choose one of the following: Once, Every Day, Every Week.
    It would be a great function.
  • The remote control switching mechanism has much to desire
    To go from controlling one PVR channel to another take time and a dial… A dial? Come on…
  • The program schedule is only for 7 days…
    DSTV has at at least 30 days of future scheduling, why not making it available?

  • There is 2 USB port and one serial, it says "For future use…"
    OK tell me what future use, please…

I was going to add on the "do not like" but yesterday I upgraded the software and it was gone. Let me elaborate.

The PVR has a digital optical output, but did not have 5.1 abilities, so why bother? After the upgrade I had a 5.1 signal and when recording it was recording the 5.1 signal too. Giving the PVR DVD quality sound. It is also announced, as shown in the image, for a short while at the beginning of the program. You got to have an amplifier capable of 5.1 and that has an optical input to make use of this function.

Generally, save for a few quirks, I am satisfied. Now all DSTV needs to do is to do better programing.

More information is available from DSTV and DSTV PVR

Pascal Parent

Pascal's day job is as a technologist but you can mostly find him behind a camera after hours. As a passionate photographer he regularly shares his experiences with the world. From how-to to reviews you will find it all in his regularly updated blog and other places.

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