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Philips DTR5520 review

Does the Freeview HD basics well, but this Pace-y box lacks features

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Philips has made a set-top box that's centered on achieving the highest picture quality – and with Freeview HD on the menu, there's really nothing wrong with that.

Compare the DTR5520 to other options on sale, though, and it doesn't come off too well – with its relatively high price the main reason why we can't give this well-designed box top marks.

We liked

The best reason to buy the DTR5520 is for its stunning picture quality. Both standard and hi-def channels are treated well, and in this respect the DTR5520 is in the upper echelons of Freeview HD receivers.

The chance to pipe Dolby Digital sound into an amp is also welcome and the product's interface is generally easy to use.

We disliked

Without any Common Interface slots the DTR5520 isn't a box to aim for if you've any interest in adding pay TV to the Freeview roster of channels – and with Sky Sports channels likely to form part of Top-Up TV packages in future, that could harm the DTR5520's chances in this competitive market.

We'd also like to see some kind of digital media playback from the USB slot, such as DivX or MP3.

Meanwhile, the remote's buttons are just too small, making the occasionally clunky EPG tricky to navigate.

Final verdict

Good-looking and an excellent picture performer, Philips' DTR5520 nevertheless seems rather overpriced. There are plenty of other Freeview HD boxes that do a similar job and add a few extra features, to boot.

Common Interface slot for adding subscription channels would be very welcome, though its ability to create Dolby Digital is a useful – and unique – feature that could see the DTR5520 do well in a home cinema set-up.

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