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 is certainly the thinnest soundbar I have seen. It does however have a separate rather meaty sub woofer. So any thought you may have of a thin or sub standard sound reproduction should immediately be banished from your mind.
The sound bar is one metre long, 5cm tall and 2cm deep. The small plastic stand that it rests in is 40cm long, 5cm deep and 3cm tall. The sub woofer is 19x26x27cm. As with all sound bars the main use will be with your TV and an optical cable. In my past tests with such items I have had mixed results. Here however anything that would normally throw volume from the TV speakers worked, that is of course what you want but with some devices not what you get.
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.
Having recently looked at a Freeview device from Humax it seems only fair to offer the same for those who use a Satellite to receive their signal. So what if anything can this method offer to persuade those with a decent aerial signal to switch.
The unit is 33.5x26x5cm and as the current custom seems to be has a front that shows only small LEDs and nothing else when on standby, in just there is a small display to show which channel or recorded item you are watching. My first surprise was that it required Ethernet to do ‘catch up’ TV most units today will do the same with Wi-Fi but if Ethernet is close by it is no real problem.
From the one-channel television on offer that some may remember, we now have subscription free offerings with over 200 channels for our entertainment.
As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of digital set-top boxes, Humax has recently increased its range of products with the release of a new version of its Freesat HDR-1000S device. This latest model comes with an impressive 2TB hard drive giving the user the capability to store 1,200 hours of standard definition content or 500 hours of high definition programmes for viewing later.
Freesat HD is a subscription free service giving access to a range of television and radio channels with some addition features. To gain access to this service you do require to have an installed satellite dish and a set-top box such as the Humax HB-1000S which is the subject of this review.
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.
HD TV down your aerial is now possible, some people do not want it with a PVR and this solution from Humax is one such option. So currently apart from all the standard definition stations channels 50-52 are HD channels.
The Humax HD-FOXT2 is 27x20x4cm but the middle figure the depth will need 5cm added to insert a standard SCART plug in. It has a 57 key remote that for most will need some explaining as it tries to cover items not included and also futureproofing as well as current use. The 16 page Quick Star Guide should get most up and running. The 92 page User Guide starts by repeating the Quick Start Guide but when you delve further you should get your answers.
I have had a satellite disk for years so long in fact it predates Sky however the box with it has long been faulty. Humax now have a service that installs a dish and your unit, when the installer arrived my original disk position was unsuitable because of trees in neighbouring gardens.
So he found a new position on the side of the property, fitted a new dish (with dual LMB’s) nearly fitted the cables and drilled through into my lounge. The Humax Foxsat-HD unit came out of its box and was switched on. It then tuned to the satellite (far faster than Freeview tuning) and that was it, less than one hours work and I was up and running.
Freesat is a digital television service that has come about as the result of a co-operative venture between the BBC and ITV.
This offering will provide subscription free access to satellite delivered television channels and services without the need to tie a customer to a contract. Currently the Freesat offering stands at 80 channels featuring those available via Freeview with one or two extra morsels. While this is subscription-free, some expense will be necessary in order to receive this service. For a start you will need a Freesat digital box or a television with built-in Freesat capability.
This new Personal Video Recorder (PVR) from Humax provides 160Gbytes of storage, enough for around
100 hours of recorded TV.
The PVR-9150T joins the established
and the PVR-9300 product. We were impressed with the 9200 - it was the products stability and reliability that made
it stand out from the crowd as much as price and features. Connections on the 9150 have been significantly simplified from those of it's older stable-mate and it's clear
that this product is aimed at the majority of people that want an easy to use, no fuss video recorder that
attaches to their TV with the minimum of hassle.
From the same company that recently supplied the 19inch offering for a prize draw, this is a Digital and Analogue offering that has all the possible external connectors you might want and its HD Ready and widescreen with 16:9 viewing.
Most of the modern breed of Digital TV's are more of less the same to operate. Plug in the mains lead and your aerial and then switch on. If it's new then it should offer you the chance to scan for channels, if not you need to enter the menu and maybe search a bit for the option. Some scan both Digital and Analog at the same time others like this you need to scan twice.
In the coming weeks and months you will get a real alternative to Sky or Virgin that has only a one off payment to buy the box and fitting for your own satellite disk to view -at launch- 80 TV/Radio channels. In the coming months this will rise initially to 232 including (with the correct box) HD offerings from both BBC and ITV (the ITV is exclusive) and others as they become available.
Freeview has opened the market and with the immanent turning off of the Analogue spectrum we all have to find a way of getting digital TV. If you live in a good reception area this may just involve upgrading your loft/roof aerial. However there is a solution that is stated to work for 98.5% of the country and that is Freesat. Not only do you get all the free channels currently on Freeview but a lot more.
Over the last few years the trend in television has been for ever bigger screens - whether LCD or Plasma. There
is however still a market for the smaller set - either for bedroom, kitchen or den. Humax have addressed this
somewhat neglected market with a range of 19 and 22" highly functional sets.
I'm reviewing the 19" version here. Like it's slightly larger 22" sibling this set is available in either black or white. The display is a 1440x900 wide-screen panel with a wide 160° viewing angle. This sits on an integrated stand that contains the stereo speakers. Dimensions for the whole unit are approximately 500x439x170mm (Width x Height x Depth). The depth is due to the base of the unit that houses the stereo speakers. Weight is a fairly modest 8.2Kg.
The Humax PVR 9200TB is the equivalent of the Sky Plus box for those of us that don't want to be tied to monthly
subscriptions, but prefer the flexibility offered by FreeView.
It was with some trepidation that I plugged my very old TV aerial into the back of this Humax FreeView PVR. Having been on cable for the last 5 years with the aerial dangling in the garden I was expecting the worst! Luckily though the box sprang to life and discovered a good range of digital channels. The Humax PVR9200T provides everything you need to receive and record FreeView programmes onto it's internal hard-disk drive (HDD).