Astro Malaysia launched the B.yond Personal Video Recorder (PVR), a set-top box with a built-in hard disk that allows you to record up to two channels at the same time.
Similar to the original Astro MAX set-top box, the B.yond PVR also allows the user to pause and rewind live TV, as it uses a buffer system which saves 30 minutes (and can be set up to a maximum of 90 minutes) of the currently watched programme by default.
Also, the B.yond PVR comes with a dual tuner, which allows users to record two channels simultaneously, or alternatively, to watch a previously recorded programme while recording two other channels.
However, if the user is currently watching a live TV channel, only one other channel can be recorded during this period.
The built-in hard disk on the B.yond PVR is 500GB in size, which allows for up to 290 hours of standard definition recording or up to 100 hours of high-definition content.
However, due to the dual-tuner function, there will be extra wiring work involved as the PVR requires a special outdoor unit and dual cables to be installed together with the set-top box.
A one-time installation fee of RM400 will be charged for new subscribers, while existing subscribers need only pay RM300 for installation and have to return their current decoder.
The good news is that subscribers who bought the original Astro MAX recorder will be able to swap to the B.yond PVR for free.
Additionally, there will be an RM10 monthly charge for the recording service.
Not willing to pay the installation fee and the additional RM10 monthly fee for the PVR but still want the recording feature?
You’re in luck as the current B.yond set-top box can also be turned into a video recorder by simply plugging a 320GB Western Digital My Passport AV external hard disk into the B.yond box’s USB port.
Users will also need to call Astro to activate the service and there will be an additional RM5 charge per month.
According to Shahrul Imran, vice-president of Technology and New Media at Astro, only the 320GB Western Digital My Passport AV hard disk drive is currently certified to work the with the B.yond box, although the company is working to certify other brands and models.
The Western Digital external hard disk is not provided by Astro, and can be bought from any third party vendor.
However, the main difference between the B.yond PVR and the external hard disk option is that the PVR has a dual tuner while the regular B.yond box only has one, which means you cannot watch one channel while recording another.
Also, Astro announced that three new HD channels will go live on June 16 — AXN HD, Astro Zhi Zun HD and FX HD.
For more information, call 1-300-82-3838 or visit astro.com.my/byond.
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