What’s Inside A Thomson DTI 6021 Digital Television Recorder?

So I decided to take the top off of my Thomson DTI 6021 digital television recorder (PVR) to see what was inside and thought I would share what I found. I had owned this ‘Top Up TV’ branded Thomson DVR for quite some time before curiosity got the better of me.

The cover is secured to the base with security screws that need a star shaped screwdriver head to open them, luckily I had one to hand. Sets of these are available from both Screwfix and Toolstation. There is also a plastic tamper tab that has to be broken off to get to one of the screws, as the unit is well out of warranty this was not an issue.

Once the screws are out the cover slides back and then lifts off. What I found inside is shown in the picture below.

The first thing I noticed was the Seagate 3.5″ SATA hard drive. For some reason I was expecting to find a 2.5″ HDD but given the case size installing a larger and cheaper 3.5″ HDD makes perfect sense.

The next thing worthy of note is the power supply circuit on the brown pcb. This is physically separated from the main green printed circuit board by the black plastic barrier and a cooling fan which can be seen between the power pcb and the hard drive.

The Thomson DTI 6021 is a twin tuner DVR. Two different television programmes can be recorded at once, or one recorded at the same time as another is being watched. The two individual tuner units can clearly be seen in the picture, they are the metal screened units to the top right of the photograph. It is interesting to note that the two tuners are linked together in a loop through arrangement by an external plug in link.

There is a plastic bracket screwed to the hard drive which holds it in place. To take the hard drive out this bracket needs to be unscrewed from the pcb. There is a second screw holding the hard drive behind the front panel.

To get the front panel off plastic tabs need releasing on both the top and bottom of the machine. The three top tabs easily unclip, the bottom clips are not quite so simple.

The small image shows where the bottom tabs are located. A small flat bladed screwdriver poked through the very narrow slit releases the clip.

The picture below shows the unit with the hard drive out. The board revealed which is connected to the main pcb via a ribbon cable is a smart card reader. These digital recorders were made to receive the premium paid for ‘Top Up TV’ services authorised by a subscription smart card.

To see how easy it would be to  replace a faulty hard drive I plugged in a 500 GB SATA hard drive I have and hooked the machine back up to the television. On switching on the Thomson DTI 6021 recognised the new hard drive and showed it as empty and ready to record.

I acquired the Thomson DTI 6021 via a subsidised offer that included a free month trial subscription to ‘Top Up TV’. I cancelled my subscription after the free trial.

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