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AC Ryan Playon! DVR HD Review

The Playon!DVR HD arrives in a very flashy box with a high resolution picture on the front as well as specifications on both front and rear.

The unit is sent shipped in a protective wrapper with thick foam on either side to protect it during shipping. All other accessories are inside a seperate white box.

  • Composite A/V cable
  • Component Y/Pb/Pr Video Cable
  • AC Ryan HDMI Cable
  • DVB-T Antenna
  • USB cable
  • Remote Control
  • Remote Control AA Batteries
  • AC/DC Adaptor / Power cord
  • HDD Mounting screws
  • User Manual

The package is comprehensive with cables to cater for every requirement. We also like the fact they include a high quality HDMI cable in the box, as this adds £15 to the product value.

The remote has undergone a reconstruction and one which is worth mentioning. In the image above right you can see the DVR HD remote on the left, next to the remote which is shipped with the standard Playon! HD unit.

Obviously there are new buttons for recording on air shows, however the more observant among you will immediately see that A.C. Ryan have listened to user feedback and have shifted the pause button to the same position as play. The older remote was a little inconvenient as pausing playback involved moving your finger to the bottom left of the controller. Sadly A.C. Ryan have omitted the instant replay function button which was one I used very often.

The Playon! DVR HD ships with a protective wrap on the front which is a nice touch. The front of this unit marks very easily so it is good to see all precautions being taken.

The Playon! DVR HD is a very attractively designed product, simple in design and immensely appealing. There are a row of buttons on the front if you need quick access and don't have the remote handy.

Be aware that the glass style front fascia will be in frequent need of cleaning with a high quality cloth as it attracts fingerprints very easily.

At the side are two USB 2.0 ports (USB-A) and a card reader. There is also a USB 2.0 Slave Port (USB-B).

As with the Playon! HD unit, the rear is home to the majority of the connectivity. There is however also a Dual Digital DVB-T Controller inside so there are connections for that daughtercard on the right hand side above. e-SATA is also supported, so it already gets bonus points.

Underneath is access to the internals of the DVR HD by removing two screws.

Our unit shipped with a high quality 1TB Samsung drive, which according to the buy now page on the official website adds 70 euros to the asking price (229 euros/299 euros). Misco are selling the 1TB model in the UK for £239.99 inc vat. Otherwise you can easily install an inexpensive, high quality 5,400rpm 1TB drive for only £47 inc vat if you buy the basic unit.

Connecting a drive is as simple as a desktop PC, it just needs bolted to the door and then a SATA and power connector attached. After a simple format procedure within the operating system you are ready to rock.

The insides are based on the same hardware that we noted last time – a Realtek processor which is passively cooled in the middle of the PCB. At the rear are two daughter boards which handle connectivity such as the USB ports, and the front panel receiver for the remote controller. The memory can also be seen here. In the image above right you can see the Dual Tuner daughtercard which is obviously exclusive to this product.

Everything is cooled by a 40mm low noise fan – which helps to flow some air over the heatsink and keep the hard drive operating within specifications.

Above left is the Playon! DVR HD (left) next to the Playon! HD unit (right). The family all follow the same, very sleek design ethic. Above right is the unit with the antenna on top, this is magnetic.

The image above shows the antenna/aerial ontop of our Panasonic NeoPDP 600hz Plasma TV. Thanks to the magnetic base it sticks to the fascia without the need for any messy materials. Very nice touch from A.C. Ryan.

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