A personal video recorder is a truly essential piece of kit. What with all the fuss around iPlayer and 4oD, it's often easy to forget that the best source of digital entertainment is a box underneath your TV. It's a simple solution -- often no more than a few clicks are required to record your favourite show and keep it for as long as you desire.
With Freeview+, it's almost impossible to miss a show. If it moves or gets cancelled, the PVR can easily compensate, without any intervention from you. The series link feature means you can record every single episode of Top Gear, Dragons' Den or Coronation Street at the press of a single button.
Although PVRs are now unlikely to surprise us with a raft of new features, they are improving. Hard-drive space, for example, is increasing massively -- some machines now have 500GB hard drives built in. It isn't going to be long before we see 1TB machines, but, if you can't wait and you're handy with a screwdriver, you can replace your PVR's hard drive with a larger-capacity model for just a few tens of pounds.
The PVRs we've selected here vary significantly. The Digital Vision GiGo is the most interesting. While it's as ugly as sin, there are people who will find its ability to record directly to memory sticks totally invaluable. It's cheap and allows you to add storage as you need it. It also provides commuters with a way to record TV for watching on the train.
The other PVRs are all skilled in their own way too. The Humax PVR-9300T is an accomplished all-rounder. The Sagem DTR 67500T is more of a rough and ready machine, but with some really impressive features thrown in, including the ability to save recordings to a memory stick. It's not as cunning as the GiGo, but it's a great start.
We should also point out that, when we reviewed the PVR-9300T, it had a terrible fan-noise problem. This has since been fixed with a firmware update, and you can safely ignore any complaints about operating noise in the review.