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Reviews placed here are based on our experiences with the units described. Faults & advantages of the various models are listed as we have encountered them.

Nextwave THD-5000

Nextwave have been one of our higer rated brands since our first contact on their TDR3100 model. With this entry into the high definition market, it's to be hoped that the company can manage to continue their excellent work thus far.

The back panel is complemented with 2 separate composite video feeds, an S-video port, plus component video & an RGB connector, however no DVI which some people may miss if their connectors are full on their equipment. Audio is via either analogue stereo, coaxial RCA or optical connector. A pair of slide switches on the back panel changes one setting between component & RGB, while the other switches between the different video output settings such as 576p, 1080i etc...

The remote has a nice feel & has an extra set of buttons with a PIP feature which are also used to switch the second composite output on for recording a separate channel while watching another. This is a rather unique feature & while a little complicated for the average user initially, after a few goes at switching it on, it becomes almost second nature. A bonus with this particular feature is that while using the secondary composite output, no menus from the main interface show up, so you get continuous digital without your STB menus showing up on your recording.

The auto setup differs from the other Nextwave products we have encountered, though it's reasonably speedy, if not as quick as some of the other Nextwave products. Signal hold is about on par with the other Nextwave products, whih is to say quite good.

The construction of this model differs from some other brands & models about with a metal base chassis while the side is a plastic silver finish & the top is also plastic with a dark grey/black panel with a fairly large amount of ventilation holes moulded in. The plastic top may present an issue with sitting other components on top, not only because of the weight factor, but also because of ventilation.

The display is a very nice blue halo effect LCD & shows up extremely well in both day & night, bringing me to the only fault we found on this particular unit. On first switch on, the front panel did not come stright up, nor did the buttons on the front panel respond. However, we have seen a few others of these & Nextwave tell us that this is the first time this problem has arisen. After the unit fully warmed up, the problem did disappear & I expect this is an issue peculiar to this individual unit.

The Verdict - With the exception of encountering the minor issue with the display & front panel, we'd have a hard time faulting this particular model. Nextwave have done a sterling job for the most part here. The addition of DVI output would be handy for those who need it & the ability to hot-switch the output of the video resolution is another issue common to some high definition set top boxes, so Nextwave are not alone in this. With the slide switch at the rear, the unit needs to be powered off, then back on before you can see a change in resolution.

We'd also have liked a slightly more sturdy top. The unit we tested over a period of time showed a slight bow in the top. Whether this is a natural shape or a heat induced bow, we can't tell, but a metal top would be a welcome addition. Overall, this is one of the better high definition models out there. The second composite output which allows for separate channel feed to that output is great. It could be made simpler, but as it stands, it's still qite impressive.

IT & AV Services rating - 87%

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