Fast-moving Freeview will be selling a digital television recorder version of its set top box before Christmas.
At an event in Auckland last night, Freeview boss Steve Browning showed the new gadgetry, which will be marketed under the brand MyFreeview - not entirely dissimilar in name to the Sky network's MySky product.
He said it was a natural progression now that Freeview has come of age in terms of content, with 12 TV channels and three digital radio broadcasts available over satellite, and 10 television channels - including high definition programming - on UHF.
A prototype Zinwell set top box was demonstrated, running the minimum specification of two tuners and a 250GB hard drive, allowing about 80 hours of recording.
Several other manufacturers will bring their own systems to market in 2009, some with higher specifications.
Output will be via HDMI, and an Ethernet port is included for eventual internet TV delivery.
The Zinwell box doesn't have UHF modulation - to send signal to other sets in the house - but other DTR models next year may.
Users will be able to record two channels while watching content from the HDD, and it will have live pause capability.
Browning demonstrated an updated version of the current Freeview programming guide, which takes a cue from TiVo, providing recommended content listings and automated series linking - to record each episode of favourite programmes.
Sports fans will be impressed by the one other trick that MySky can't do - 1/4 and 1/2 speed playback, ideal for settling arguments over dodgy tries.
It will include functions to manage recorded content, plus features a warning when the hard drive is nearing capacity.
Currently eight per cent of New Zealand homes are using Freeview capable, with an additional two per cent using Freeview HD.