A Freesat HD Box
The Humax HB-1000S box is rather nondescript in appearance. Compact in size with dimensions of 200 x 155 x 30 mm (W x D x H), the metal box is well perforated with punch holes on the top and slots along the sides and base of the unit. An on/off button and infra-red sensor are accompanied by logos for Humax and Freesat HD on the front panel. Four small feet on the base of the unit raise it above the surface to aid w the free flow of cooling air.
Arranged along the rear of the set-top box are the various connection options. Situated on the right is a screw-in connection for the satellite dish lead. Next in line are sockets for additional video and audio signals. There are also two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and Ethernet connections plus a socket for attaching the box to mains power using the supplied lead and three-pin plug.
As well as the just mentioned power lead, you get an HDMI lead and Ethernet cable. Also provided in the box is a large style remote control for carrying out all the supported features of this set-top box. A User Guide and Quick Start Guide form part of the supplied documentation.
Setting up the Humax box is relatively straightforward as you attach the satellite lead, HDMI link to the television and connect your box to a Broadband router. Disappointingly there is support for a wireless link to the router and so you are stuck with a cable connection. The link to your router is needed in order to access the various catch-up and on-demand services that are available via BBC Player, ITV Player and the like.
When first connected, you will be led through various set up options as you opt for features such as display format, resolution, audio type and whether to implement parental control with a PIN number to block possible unsuitable content from young eyes. A check will be carried out to test for the best satellite signal and you will be advised that a second satellite lead will be required if you wish to watch one program while simultaneously recording another channel. Unfortunately I was unable to test this latter feature as part of the review process.
You will be required to enter your post code so that the box can be set up to receive local news services. This information can be entered using an on-screen alphanumeric keypad or a keypad on the remote control. Based on my South London location, the Humax box gave me a choice of 157 television channels and 38 radio stations. I was rather disappointed to discover that Sports channels barely got a mention which brought on withdrawal symptoms for my usual Sky box (but then that requires a monthly hit on my bank balance).
The Freesat TV Guide allows you to view seven channels, which can be categorised by type, at a time. Programmes will be displayed as to what is currently being broadcast and what comes next. Further options are available to check out what you might have missed earlier or what will be available later plus jump forwards or backwards by 24 hours. Brief information is available for whichever programme is highlighted in the guide. Reminders can be set for those programmes you do not want to miss.
Although the Humax box supports recording, it does not possess its own storage capacity. You will need to connect an external device such as a hard drive or flash stick using a USB port. Recordings can be scheduled or implemented immediately. As the Humax box automatically saves up to 30 minutes of the channel being watched, this content can form part of a recording if you decide, on impulse, to record a program you have been watching.
By selecting the box’s Home screen, from the remote control, you can access features that include Showcase with recommended programmes, on demand services and a search facility. You also have access to parental control to hide unsuitable channels.
The Humax box delivers good quality pictures and sound. There was a noticeable slight delay when the TV Guide was moving between screens but this was not excessive. While not the most stylish unit, this Humax set-top box delivers with regards to quality and functionality without taking up too much space. I just wish it supported wireless for linking to a router. Remembering you will need to provide storage capability, this Humax box is priced at £99.95.
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