First Look: Foxtel iQ2, the good and the bad

First Look
First Look: Foxtel iQ2, the good and the bad
Rating
Overall:

Our first impressions of FoxTel's new HD box are positive - four TV tuners means more HD than you can handle, though it does miss some of the tricks of the TiVO.

Specs
Cost: RRP $10 per month plus $200 installation
Pros
- Hard drive capacity
- Superior Electronic Program Guide
- Series Link for favourite shows

Cons
- Monthly subscription
- No media player features
- Frustrating onscreen EPG and display


Cost: RRP $10 per month plus $200 installation
The good: four tuners and a 360GB drive
The iQ2 now screens all the free-to-air HD channels and many radio stations, as well as EPG data for all networks (Seven had been holding out), although customers on satellite will need to wait until the new bird comes online later this year before some features are available.

The iQ2 features an impressive four TV tuners - but you can only record two programs at once. Eventually you'll be able to record two whilst watching a third channel, with the fourth tuner reserved for trickling down on-demand movies.

The iQ2 features a 320GB hard drive and, like most PVRs, it offers timeshifting and chasing playback, as well as instant replay thanks to the 60 minute buffer.

The not-so-good: no ad-skipping, other quirks
There's no ad-skipping and surprisingly no skip-back button - which would be useful when you get to the end of fast forwarding an ad break (even the pay TV channels have ads).

The iQ2 downloads a seven day Electronic Program Guide for the subscription and free-to-air channels. You can program recordings from the EPG screen, but frustratingly it doesn't display any info about shows under 30 minutes long - not even the title. Even scrolling over the entry doesn't reveal any information until you press the i button.

The lack of a progress bar during playback is also annoying, the onscreen display only reveals how many minutes you've watched so far.

The iQ2 lets you create a Series Link to regularly record your favourite shows and will delete old recordings according to your preferences. Still, the recording margin for error, overlap handling and storage management isn't quite as intelligent as that of TiVo.

Fiddly bits
On the rear the iQ2 features HDMI, component, SCART, composite and s-video outputs along with optical and coax digital audio. There's an Ethernet port, but it's not yet enabled so you can't stream content from the web or your local network.

The iQ2 is a solid PVR and the only Australian recorder that works with both subscription and free-to-air TV. If you can afford a Foxtel subscription, it's certainly worth paying extra for the iQ2.

See more about:  foxtel  |  iq2
 
 

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