- Easy To Use
- Pause rewind and record functions work really well
- High quality recordings
- Sleek design
- Great features
- Lack of some free to air channel information for the EPG
- No ability to automatically skip adverts
- Sleek design
Foxtel’s iQ is its original DVR that has been around since 2005. Whilst there are some other more advanced products on the market today including the iQ2 it still stands up as a great DVR and definitely good value for money when combined with Foxtel packages.
The Foxtel iQ box comes in silver, and whilst there are a few buttons on the front they have been kept small so not to spoil the sleek look. The most prominent feature is the green playback LED in the middle of the unit, which has the same design as the iQ logo. This lights up when a recorded show is playing or if you’re recording, then the surrounding circle also lights up.
As you might expect from a service provider box, there’s little variety of connectors around the back of this Foxtel iQ set top box. There is a SCART output that connects into your TV, and another SCART for connecting to a VCR or other such devices, there is a S-Video and composite output, plus an optical audio and digital audio output.
At first glance the Foxtel iQ box provides you with an excellent and detailed guide to what features the personal digital recorder has on offer.
This Foxtel iQ Digital set top box acts as a cable set top box but also allows you to record up to sixty hours of content on its 160GB hard drive. The hard drive also enables you to treat live TV as if you were watching a DVD – you are able to easily pause and rewind up to 60 minutes, fast forward and even watch content in slow motion. The Foxtel iQ also comes with 2 tuners, so you can watch and record content all at the same time, in fact you can even record 2 shows at the same time.
The Foxtel iQ enables you to sync with Foxtel’s electronic program guide (EPG), this means you can use the same EPG to brows and set your recordings up to 2 weeks in advance. The Foxtel iQ also has a great Series Link function, that lets you set the box to automatically record every show from a particular series (for example, Breaking Bad) every time it’s shown.
The Foxtel iQ performs well. Working out how to manage the new functions like record, play fast forward is dead easy- you definitely won’t need to sit and watch the video tutorial. If you have ever used a VHS or a DVD device, then transferring that functionality and control to a live TV experience easy.
Pausing live TV is a great option especially if you have children or if someone comes to the door or your phone rings during that important game. There is no loss of quality when you are watching recorded or rewound TV – the video quality is still very clear despite it not being watched LIVE.
Recording is really easy – simnply press the red record button and it will start recording whatever is on screen. You may also want to go to the Foxtel EPG and select any show to record by simply pressing the record button again.
Some shows feature the Series Link fnction – just press this button and the iQ will automatically search when the next episode of the program is and it will record it.
Almost everything on Foxtel can be recorded, and these recordings will remain on the hard drive until you decide to delete them.
All of your recorded content can be accessed via the Planner on the Foxtel EPG. This Planner arranges and organises all your recorded content, and saves when you recorded that program, and if you recorded the whole show or just a part of it, if you’ve already viewed it, and if you have viewed it it remembers when you stopped so it can start it again from that same place.
While the Foxtel iQ has some great features, there are still a load more we wanted it to do.
Additional search criteria like genres or favourite actors within the EPG would also add to the personal recorder experience.
You have to know exactly what you want to record and tell the iQ to record it –its frustrating that it doesn’t have the smarts other PDRs have to automatically cater for your needs and tastes.
Another Foxtel’s iQ doesn’t have that some alternative providers around the globe offer is the functionality to automatically skip adverts in shows you have recorded. We all know skipping commercials is a difficult issue for any commercial TV provider, but if such services as TiVo can do it in the states, why can’t our Australian customers get it?
Foxtel’s iQ doesnt know in actual time if a program you’ve set to be recorded ends, so if a show goes over the time stated in the EPG then the recording will be cut short. There is a feature that does allow you to ‘add some time at the end of your recording but this is a manual feature.
FOXTEL iQ Summary
It is some of these issues that prevents the FOXTEL iQ from automatically being a selection over other set-top boxes that have hard drives, Media PCs or even the old DVD recorders. Having said that the FOXTEL iQ is a must have for anyone who has Foxtel. It is also with checking out the iQHD as this is the latest product offering in the family.