Rogers Communications has announced that its latest high definition personal video recorder (HD PVR) is now available across Ontario.

The Rogers 8642 HD PVR, which Digital Home first told its readers about in early March, first went on sale six weeks ago but was only officially announced today, presumably after stocks of the older 8300HD PVR which it replaces were drawn down.

The 8642 HD Whole Home PVR is manufactured by Cisco systems and was first unveiled at the Cable Show in April of 2009. The set top box features: dual tuners with hard disk drive storage ranging from 160GB to 500 Gigabytes; 1 GHz Tuning which could allow Rogers to expand network bandwidth to provide additional services; MPEG-4 (H.264) decoding support; support for tru2way, MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) and DLNA technologies (Digital Living Network Alliance) which may or may not be implemented by Rogers in the future.

Connections to the Rogers / Cisco 8642 HD PVR include Component output, digital and optical audio output, S-Video output, HDMI, USB 2.0, eSata, Ethernet and cable out.

Thanks to more memory and more processing power, the 8642 will be an improvement over the antiquated 8300HD HD PVR now being peddled by Rogers. With more processing power and more memory, the new set top box should allow Rogers to provide its HDTV customers with a 16:9 electronic program guide as opposed to the 20th century 4:3 electronic program guide on the existing line-up of HD boxes.

Unfortunately the higher resolution graphics on the 8642's user interface screens is still only 640x480, a significant improvement over the 320x240 resolution of earlier set top boxes but still woefully lacking in the this age of 1920 x 1080 full HD.

Early feedback from 8642 owners is generally been positive with owners saying the new device is generally faster and more responsive than the 8300 HD PVR which it replaces and the lack of Rogers hated Quickstart menu.

Negatives include a weak IR sensor which some owners complain does not pick up their remote button presses and an overly bright clock display which is annoying in a darkened home theatre environment.

The 160GB, 320GB and 500GB versions of the Rogers 8642 HD PVR are available now for $500, $550 and $600 respectively.

Discuss in Digital Home's Official New 8642 PVR from Rogers discussion thread.