Since then, there’s been a slew of recording options on the market, with combination DVD/hard-disk recorders proving a popular – if expensive – option. Pioneer’s DVR-440HX-S finds itself up against highly rated rivals from the likes of Panasonic and Sony – so how does it fare?
No HDMI, no problem
The DVR-440HX-S immediately distinguishes itself by being anywhere between a little and a lot cheaper than rivals from the other big manufacturers.
Underneath the serviceable if slightly dull black and silver exterior, you’ll find twin analogue/Freeview tuners, RF ins and outs, two Scart sockets and a pair of component outputs, although those paying attention will have noticed that there’s no HDMI output on offer, which, although not great news isn’t as bad as it first seems. It seems to have kept the price down and, at this level component outputs often prove just about as effective.
The DVR-440HX-S’s 80GB drive also leaves a little to be desired, but it’s more than happy to make nice with DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW and DVD-RAM discs. And you can be sure of some decent recordings thanks to the solid Freeview receiver performance, with a sturdy, noise-free picture.
And the quality of the Freeview tuner is also evident when recording: images are replicated with cavernous blacks, a vibrant contrast and decent balance. The only black mark against it is the slight lack of detail in fast-moving images.
While all of this means the 440HX can deliver an interesting, realistic picture, it doesn’t match up to the market-leading rivals – Sony’s RDR-HX510 and Panasonic’s DMR-EX75. Then again, those options will leave your wallet at least £100 lighter. As a value option, the Pioneer doesn’t disappoint.