As well as being a High Definition digital set top box with HDMI out, it has a USB host port on the front and can record to a USB key drive. The device has the electronic program guide broadcast from each station and you can select a program in that and it will record it.
The user interface is pretty clunky but it does the job and works well for me with a USB flash drive (I'm using an 8GB stick). I tried to get it going with a 750GB hard disk but ran in to multiple problems: it wouldn't format unless I'd already initialised the drive FAT32, formatting took ages, when I did record it seemed to lose the plot and didn't record.
There's a good thread on Whirlpool about this device and I'm not alone having FAT32 drive issues.
Pretty good for the money.
Update - firmware update
Just noticed there is a software update available here. It installed smoothly for me and all seems well.
Nothing terribly dramatic in the update, they say:
This (Nov 2 2010) firmware upgrade eliminates the SA Daylight Saving Bug. The following improvements were also added
- During Record, the orange “Record” graphic and the elapsed time indicator can now be removed from the screen by pressing the “Exit” button. If you attempt to change the channel or switch the unit off during a recording, the Record Symbol will re-appear as a reminder.
- The “Recording Complete” message now disappears after a few seconds instead of remaining on the screen until “Exit” is pressed.
- After a Time Limited recording (30, 60, 90 etc) the elapsed time indicator disappears at the end of the recording
- The “Do you want to re-scan” message now only appears with a major programming change, and disappears after a few seconds.
Aside from some problems recording to certain USB sticks, I'm still happy with this device for the price.