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.
Somewhat different from the previous two Freesat units I have looked at from Humax and Panasonic. The first things I noticed are that it has no visible clock on the front and also no obvious means of knowing how far into a program you are.
The Grundig Satellite Recorder I'm reviewing measures 29x25x6cm and black in colour. The only noticeable controls are three buttons and the ubiquitous five position joystick. On the left of the front is an LED (red on standby, blue when on) and another on the right that shows red when recording.
When I requested this it was the only Blu-ray recorder for use with a TV, as far as I know it still is. However it also has dual Freesat receivers built in as well as a hard disc and it is even possible to transfer items via SCART from another PVR.
My first task was to get items from my PVR onto the hard disc of the Panasonic unit (real time) and then transfer them (real time) to a Blu-ray disc. The second part allows several items to be transferred at a time so I used to move six to eight hours of recordings in a single day while working elsewhere. You can even do it while watching something else on the TV. The unit is long and thin at 42x30x5cm.
Snow falls and the UK comes to an almost halt as we do not seem able to cope. Yet a recent visit to Munich, where there was several inches of snow all around, showed that it was possible to cope. But why was I in Munich?
With Munich as its chosen destination, Panasonic revealed a raft of new products to the European Press Corp. I was one of those fortunate enough to attend this event that had several new products and technologies fighting for our attention. The event was held in the snow covered Olympic Park Centre. Luckily no snow fell during the event as there was already more than enough to make us glad we were safely ensconced inside the event centre.
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.
This is not just an Analogue and Digital TV but also (as far as I know) Panasonic are the only manufacturer to put Freesat inside the unit, so just add your satellite dish for the complete solution with both Freeview and Freesat.
The Panasonic TX-L37G10B TV measures 89x55x10cm the latter figure with leads inserted in the back. The viewable area is 82x46.5cm giving the notional 37inch measurement. The base raises it by 6cm and is 40x28cm. First tuning on Digital also finds however Analogue channels you have. In my case six as I still have my video recorder connected. The channels on Digital are shown in four categories. TV ‘Free’ 59 ‘Pay’ 5 ‘Data’ 11. Finally Radio 23.
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.
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.