Goodmans GFSDTR500HD Review
It comes equipped with twin tuners. And picture quality is really rather good, although noticeably inferior when compared side by side with the Humax Foxsat HDR. Recordings are clear and bright too, and HD programming very enjoyable (if only there was more of it, but all in good time!).
What Else Is Good?
The program guide (EPG) and the menus and interface in general are all really nicely done. And the remote control too is nicely laid out and easy to use. Setting timers is all very easy and logical just as it should be with a modern PVR. Those of us young enough to have missed out on VCR machines with 3 hour tapes will never truly know how incredibly easy and convenient a PVR is.
The Goodmans is also a neat looking little box. At barely 29cm wide and only 5cm high it will probably find itself in some homes just by virtue of it’s dinky size. Although it should be pointed out that this is achieved in large part by moving the mains transformer out of the PVR box. So you end up with a big lump on the end of the power cable like laptop computers do. Annoying to some, irrelevant to others.
As all PVR boxes should, it has an HDMI output. Use this if your TV has an HDMI socket. It does offer 2 scart sockets too but HDMI will of course give you the best output quality.
Unusually we are spoilt here with audio outputs as both SPDIF and optical output are provided.
Thankfully ethernet connection is there too, so you will be able to watch iPlayer on your TV when this service launches. Although of course WiFi would be a lot more convenient (Manufacturers are you listening? The Nintendo Wii can do it!).
So Why Shouldn’t I Buy The GFSDTR500HD Then?
Well, having covered all the good, and there is plenty of good here. Here’s the bad.
The product killer for me has to be the cooling fan. All PVR’s have a little fan in them to help keep them cool. That’s normal. But sadly the Goodmans GFSDTR500HD obviously sourced their fan from Hoover. I’m probably more sensitive to fan noise than many people, but this is too much. It’s loud and it is distracting. And it runs constantly. (Hopefully Goodmans will fix this?)
Any Other Problems?
Nothing huge. The box doesn’t have a display though. I just couldn’t decide if this was merely odd or a serious flaw. I’m just so used to seeing at least a channel number (or name) on the front of a box while in use – and the time when in standby. I’m sure I’d get used to it but did kind of miss it.
And the USB port can’t be used for playing media which is a shame. This is unlikely to change either as it’s located on the back of the box.
It’s not a bad PVR, if the noisy fan problem can be fixed. But even then with a retail price of £280, it doesn’t quite do enough to beat the rivals.
[Note: This box is identical to the Grundig GUFSDTR500HD]