Loving Youview

I have long been an enthusiast for Freeview+, the Freeview equivalent of Sky+ without the unseemly act of putting cash in the pocket of Rupert Murdoch, but to be honest, the first generation of Freeview PVRs was usable but a bit poor on user interface. However we have just upgraded to a Youview box and it is absolutely brilliant.

What do you get for those hard earned pennies? Of course there are the usual PVR features - pause live TV, record two programmes at the same time, record a whole series with one click... But that's just for beginners. Firstly, the Youview box has a beautiful user interface. Clear, crisp text, good structure and an attractive, intuitive remote. Second you get the main 4 channels in HD. And then the biggies. You have the catchup services of all 5 main channels (plus Dave) on tap on a proper TV. (If you really can't resist giving money to Rupert you also access Sky's Now TV sport/movie service.) 

But most delightful of all, the electronic programme guide goes back a week as well as forward. Of course you can still use the iPlayer (say) interface if you want catch up on a whole series, but to watch something you missed yesterday or at the weekend you can simply flip back on the guide and press play and it magically digs the show up for you. Brilliant. And as icing on the cake there's an iPhone app where you can set a programme to record wherever you are if, for instance, you hear about an interesting new show while at work. 

And every time you watch you can think I'm not paying to see this. The box I got was the 1Tb Humax although the 500 Gb equivalent is a particular bargain on Amazon.co.uk at the moment. There are other Youview boxes, but this struck me as the best balance of cost and capacity.