First impressions of the 870 were very good. Pictures from the digital tuner were crisp and vibrant, and bear in mind that i have it hooked up to a 32" CRT T.V for now, so its going to look so much better on a Lcd or Plasma screen. Again, this is another reason to use the digital tuner as images appear so much more life like. You will however need to make sure that you can receive freeview and that a rooftop aerial is fitted with a good quality coax cable being recommended to receive the best signal possible.
When it comes to recordings the Sony is first class. With HQ level recordings the highest quality the picture is utterly pristine and even the lower quality settings are acceptable, although I would not advise setting the recording level lower than LSP. I have my level set at SP from which you will get 68 hours of very good quality recording time.
Dvd playback is where this recorder really shines, with full upscaling all the way to the heights of 1080p. Again, once this is connected through the HDMI output to a Hi-Def screen this is going to look stunning. Black levels are excellent and contrast levels look very natural. It can also handle Divx playback.
A comprehensive array of sockets including DV and USB inputs are present at the front of the recorder behind a drop down panel.
If you're wondering what you could do with a USB input, there's a pleasant surprise. It lets you instantly rip music from a USB device onto the hard-disk using the music jukebox feature. The sound quality from the USB drive was as good as playback from an actual disc.
You can also transfer images to the hard drive from a digital camera from the USB input. As an added bonus you can then print images on your hard drive by connecting a compatible pictbridge printer to the USB input on the recorder.
Overall this is a feature packed Dvd Recorder that does everything you would need a Dvd recorder to do, and at a very competitive price. For these reasons i would give this a highly recommended rating.