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A.C. Ryan Playon! DVR review

Seth Barton
12 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
202
inc VAT

It’s an interesting hybrid device, with reasonable media streaming capabilities, but the PVR component is frankly woeful.

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Specifications

A.C. Ryan has been producing media streaming devices for some time, such as the Playon! HD. With its Playon! DVR the company has combined such a device with a dual DVB-T tuner and a 1TB hard disk. The result is an all-in-one set-top-box for media playback, storage and TV viewing.

Scanning for channels and saving them was quick and easy, the tuners are very sensitive, getting a perfect signal even from the supplied mini antenna. You browse through channels using the up/down buttons on the remote’s 4-way pad. The volume controls are two tiny buttons though, and are orientated horizontally, which makes them hard to use. Also the EPG is accessed by a button right at the bottom of the remote, while the record button is at the very top. It all feels a bit thrown together, when compared to remotes for Sky+, Windows Media Center or Humax PVRs.

A.C. Ryan Playon! DVR remote

You can time shift programmes easily enough, but once activated you can’t simply press the record button to store the buffered content along with the rest of the on-going programme to the hard disk. There’s no one-touch recording of programmes at all in fact, ie. recording till the end of the current show. Instead, you simply designate recording in half-hour increments from when you press the button.

The EPG doesn’t use the usual timeline view. Instead channels are listed horizontally at the top of the screen, with days underneath, and then a vertical list of programme times and names. With various elements of this mess controlled by different buttons, it’s tough to find what you want, and there’s no search function to help. There’s a video window showing your current programme, but as you browse the EPG it changes to match channel selected. Not what you want when you’re browsing for your next programme while watching a current one.

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