Pure Avalon 300R Connect review
Like the Humax DTR-1000, the Avalon is a Freeview+ box with a twist. Pure is best known for its range of digital radios but its parent company, Imagination Technologies, also produces the PowerVR graphics chips that are used in many mobile devices – including a number of iPhone and iPad models.
Pure has used the PowerVR chip to provide the Avalon box with the sort of graphical eye-candy that we would normally expect from Apple. Press a button on the remote control and the list of channels slides out from the edge of the screen using an angled perspective effect. Press the ‘Info’ button and more detailed info about each channel smoothly fades into view. You can get a picture-in-picture preview of what’s on other channels while still watching the current channel, and there’s series of animated wipes, peels and other transition effects that you can use when switching between channels.
It’s very slick and stylish, and certainly leaves most other Freeview boxes looking rather old-fashioned. However, in other respects the Avalon is a fairly conventional Freeview+ box – and an expensive one at that, costing £299.99 for a model with 500GB hard disk or £349.99 with 1TB.
But, to be fair, it does work hard to earn its keep. Unlike many Freeview boxes it includes both Ethernet and built-in wifi networking, and has no less than four HDMI inputs that allow you to plug in additional devices such as a games console or an iPad. You can use it as a media player by plugging a memory stick or hard disk into one of its two USB ports, or by streaming files from a NAS drive or other device that supports UPnP networking.
The online services are a little disappointing, though. At the moment it only supports the BBC iPlayer and YouTube, with no word on whether Netflix, LoveFilm or other UK services will be available in the future. It does, however, include Pure’s own Connect service, which allows you to listen to a range of Internet radio stations and podcasts, as well as buying music or subscribing to its extensive library of streaming music.