The death of the VCR has been painless, as there are so many Hard Drive Recorders (or Personal Video Recorders) on the market to take their place.

These come in various guises, from Foxtel’s IQ through the Standard Definition to the High Definition variety.

What’s in the box does become a bit confusing. There are standard definition twin-tuner + hard drive models which are for off-air recording/playback only. There are single tuner + hard drive + DVD recorder models.

Then there’s the Twin HD Tuner + hard drive, and now there is the new twin HD tuner + Hard Drive + DVD player + video streaming model, known as the Beyonwiz DP-S1.

The combination of HD tuners, Hard Drive PVR, DVD player and network streaming make this product an alternative to a media PC. Beyonwiz DP-S1, available from Len Wallis Audio, enables a number of functions in one neat console not much bigger than a DVD player.

Beyonwiz DP-S1 can record off air while you watch a different program on the screen, it can play a DVD, or it can play video files stored on your computer hard drive. This last function is becoming more common every day as such is the power of the internet.

If you can do without the DVD player or are happy to go on using the one you have, there is another model, the DP-P1 which omits this function.

Like many modern devices there is considerable computing technology under the lid of both these, and it is fair to say that regular firmware upgrades have now become a normal part of owning new technology.

These updates can be downloaded from their website any time, keeping the performance fine tuned or adding functionality.