As its first foray into the field of Freeview Play, Humax has launched its FVP-4000T set-top box. This product has been developed to combine catch-up TV, on-demand services and live television in high definition resolution with a hard drive of either 500GB or 1TB capacities. This review is based on the 500GB version of the Humax FVR-4000T unit.
Adopting a plinth-like shape with curved slick lines, the Humax FVR-4000T is very similar in appearance to the Humax HDR-1100S reviewed recently. The set-top box has dimensions of 280 x 48 x 200 mm (W x H x D). One major difference is the top of the box with Humax having gone with a faux leather look. In the case of my review sample, this was coloured Mocha to blend in with the silver trim and black base. There is also a white unit with gold trim and a cappuccino topping.
The latest PVR from Humax now comes with catch up TV for the times you forgot to set your PVR. It also has the ability to allow up to three channels to be recorded simultaneously. Read on for more details of this coffee themed recorder.
Most recent Freeview boxes have two tuners which mean you can record at least two channels at the same time. This unit has three tuners so you can record at least three channels simultaneously. However if the channels are on the same multiplex this number could even reach six simultaneous recordings. It is 28x19x5cm, the middle figure the depth can increase by a couple of centimetres dependant on the cables inserted.
Although misnamed as they generally sit below instead of on top of the television, set-top boxes have become a must have feature for the modern living room. With its flag firmly attached to the Good Ship Freesat, Humax has delivered numerous set-top boxes including its HDR-1100S model.
There are set-top boxes and set-boxes. Some of these units provide access to free services, such as offered by Freeview and Freesat, while others deliver a gateway to the various paid for channels available from Sky, Virgin and BT. The Humax Freesat HDR-1100S belongs to the former category (its title gives it away) and can provide the viewer with a choice of over 200 channels on a no subscription basis once a satellite dish is in position.
This unit arrived shortly after the Humax YouView unit, at the same time as a brilliant Humax Sound Bar (review to follow). Things did not start out well but after a couple of conversations things improved and I now trust it.
Trust might seem a strange word but if you want to watch a program that is broadcast when you are out then you have to trust the machine to record it. Initially I could not but a firmware update brought things into sync until Freeview did a channel reorganization and then I found that my schedule was lost, not disastrous as I found out the next day, but if you had been away for a holiday it could have been. The version of the Firmware that I found worked correctly was 1.
All PVRs work in slightly different ways to achieve the same goal. This is not important providing you know how your machine works. Here however is a machine that works differently in that you can watch items from up to a week before which you forgot to record.
There is a basic ‘Getting Connected Guide’ and a ‘Your You View Guide’ that is a sort of User Manual, I say sort of as you need to read it all to find out things you had figured out as well as those that you had not and it has no index. The machine is 35x34x4cm not including the extra couple of centimetres required for leads to fit into the back of the unit. The front has a small white LED on the front left when power is on but the machine is in standby.
For various reasons I was not able to pursue YouView when it first launched. Here then is my first look at a technology that those with unlimited broadband download allowances can use to catch up with TV programs they missed when they were broadcast.
A very good well illustrated ‘Getting Connected’ booklet takes you through everything required to get up and running. If you have a digital TV then by using the supplied HDMI cable you should be up and ready to watch in around 15minutes.
Its been a while since I have looked at an Freeview HD PVR, in fact I have never looked at any TV device from Pure, a huge name in DAB radio. This unit is a twin tuner PVR and it can also connect to the Internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
It is 43x13x4cm but you will need around 4cm more on the 13cm depth to allow for cable insertions in the rear. It weighs 2.9kilos. Before switching on for the first time insert your aerial lead in the rear and also attach the supplied DC lead and HDMI cable. It will then briefly show the Pure logo and then go into tuning mode in the first minute mine found 77 TV channels 25 radio channels and 18 data channels. This will vary according to where you are.
Having reviewed TV recording devices from early VHS tape devices through most other methods including those using external memory sticks and hard drives this still came as a shock because of the units sheer lack of size.
This is a Freeview + HD box with a 500GB recording unit inside and the quality to include Dolby Digital Plus sound. It is 27x20x1cm, yes the thickness is just one centimetre. With cables inserted in the rear the depth becomes 25cm. You are totally reliant on the remote control as the unit itself has a single on/standby button with an LED beside it. The rear is where the connections are, Aerial Out, Aerial In, HDMI out, Ethernet, two USB and finally the DC input.
One day last summer, I know it was summer because it rained on that day as I attended an event that included an introduction to a product known as View21. As can sometimes happen with an introduction look at a product, several months were to fade into distant memory before I was able to get my hands on a product to check it out.
View21 is a twin Freeview HD television tuner/recorder. Included in the box with the View21 box are the two-piece power lead, HDMI cable, aerial linking lead plus a remote control unit with the accompanying two AAA batteries. Although not included in the box, you could find an Ethernet cable, SCART lead and a modem/router would prove useful in some situations especially when giving you access to content that might be available from the Internet.
While all of the UK has now gone Digital there are a significant number managing on a simple device to import and view the signal, a lot are discovering that their video recorder now just does not function anymore.
So here is a small box that not only imports the signals it allows you to record two at once and even has a working pass though that can watch any digital TV using the same single aerial signal and if that is not enough it has an Ethernet connection so that lots of things like iPlayer and other such things are all available on your TV. The box is 31x28x5cm the middle figure the depth is with all relevant leads plugged into the rear of the View 21.
No sooner do I complete my review of the Eminent EM7280
hdMEDIA RT3 product than the
next version of this high definition multimedia player arrives for
testing. This new member of the hdMEDIA
RT3 family is the limited
edition EM7285 HD media player which offers a range of additional features over
the previous model.
With dimensions of 196 x 180 x 55mm (W x D x H), the media player’s aluminium body is predominately black in colour although it does feature a raised silver Eminent logo prominently displayed across the top of the box. As with the previous model, the rear of the unit is well populated with a full complement of connection options. There are jack sockets for coaxial, AV OUT / Composite, optical audio and Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr). You get a USB 3.
This box connects to your TV via an HDMI lead. Then the box connects to your network. The box itself can also have a hard disc or just stream content. It can also attach other hard discs with content or USB sticks to play music or video.
The box is 22x16x6cm but you need to allow up to another 5cm to the 16cm depth for the attachment of various cables. The top, sides and base are all smooth while the face has one small blue LED when the unit is on. All the connections are at the back. These are in a line, DC input, USB2 (host), USB3 (client), HDMI, Ethernet, Coaxial, Audio out left, Video, Audio out right (these last four in two rows of two) and finally Optical.
Helping bring together your collection of digital photos, music tracks and album plus videos so that they can be directed towards an appropriate output medium, such as a television, is the role ideally suited for a multimedia player. These types of devices tend to come in a range of shapes and sizes with some variety in their feature set. The latest such device to make its presence felt on my desktop is the ACME Portable Media Centre (MPO1).
With its dimensions of 142.5 x 85 x 23mm (L x W x H), the ACME Portable Media Centre (MPO1) could easily be mistaken for a small portable hard drive. This mistaken is easy to understand when you realise that it is possible to insert a 2.5-inch SATA drive, of up to 1TB capacity, into the body of this brushed metallic silver multimedia player. However this particular feature does not form part of this review which will concentrate on other aspects of this product.
Bringing together video, music and pictures is the role of a media player such as the hdMEDIA RT3
Newly arrived from our Dutch friends at Eminent is the EM7280 HD Media Player otherwise known as the hdMEDIA RT . This black box device is considered to be the successor to the company’s EM7180 HD Media Player that gave you control over the various aspects of your media content stored on various devices. Slab-shaped with dimensions of 222 x 155 x 55mm (W x D x H), this product comes with a collection of leads and a full size remote control unit.
Acting as a link between various sources of media content and your high definition television, is the role of a product from Eminent
Once upon a time home entertainment was relatively basic and straightforward. Mum, dad and all the other family members would huddle together around the wireless to listen to the best that the BBC could offer. Later the wireless would be replaced by the box in the corner as television, first in black & white with the BBC and then colour plus ITV to add some choice, took over.
This is the latest offering from TVonics, the 500GB machine has what some would describe as a bare interface with the front showing up to three pin hole LEDs these appear in different combinations of red and green.
The TVonics DTR-Z500HD measures 18cm long by 22cm deep (with cables inserted) and it's 7cm tall. The unit is black and the corners are rounded off. It is totally controlled by the remote – so don’t lose it – the only connection on the front is a USB socket.
Having looked at an earlier model (not HD) this was an eagerly awaited arrival. Very different in size and shape. My first check was the pass-through and that performed correctly, is this to be the unit I have been looking for?
The TVonics DTR-500HD measures 37x20x9cm but the last figure the height is only 3cm at the front. For me anyway that creates a possible problem. Tuning takes around three minutes mine found 72 TV 23 Radio and 11 Data channels. As with most such units almost everything is controlled from the remote control. Here a 52 key model that of course contains the ubiquitous five position joystick. As always various major buttons are in differing places but once used to the layout it’s easy enough.
This Pace unit (badged Philips) was the first HD unit I saw in a presentation in the spring, here now the production unit. If you need HD recording then this 500GB digital unit may just tick all the boxes on your wish list.
The Philips HDT8520 Dual HD TV Recorder measures 24x20x6cm but you will need at least another 2cm behind the middle figure the depth in order for the cables to be attached. Installation is quite straightforward, the easiest is just to attach the supplied HDMI cable and tune to that channel. The screen should show a Philips Welcome screen. There are a few simple questions to answer before the scan for channels but everything is explained in Quick Start Guide.
It's a while since I've looked at a hard-disk video recorder so I was eager to see what innovations
the SmartBox 8320HD could bring to our family entertainment.
First of all the basics. The product name, "SmartBox 8320 ", should be the first clue that this is one of the recent FreeView HD receivers. It includes two independent tuners allowing various combinations or watching and recording different channels.
As part of its expansion into areas other than purely media storage, Verbatim has released a new product designed to deal with your media management.
Bringing together the functionality to record, store and play all your multimedia content with wireless LAN capabilities is the designated aim of Verbatim’s MediaStation HD DVR product. This kit consists of a black box, various leads, remote control, and a CD containing Nero Move It Essentials, transcoding software plus the User Manual in PDF format. You also get and some Getting Started documentation but this is minimal rather than comprehensive.