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Humax FOXSAT-HD Freesat Receiver review

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Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Review Price £259.95

After years of waiting, the BBC and ITV finally launched Freesat, a subscription-free TV service offering over 80 TV, radio and interactive channels broadcast from the Astra and Eurobird satellites. It's available to 98 per cent of UK households, bringing digital TV to people who aren't covered by a Freeview signal or don't want Sky.

The service includes all the BBC and ITV channels, as well as E4, Channel 4 and a range of children's, news and music channels, and the line-up is set to swell to around 200 channels by the end of the year. But here's the best part - you also get hi-def channels from the BBC and ITV, and although ITV HD hasn't yet gone live, when it does it will be exclusive to Freesat.

The Humax FOXSAT-HD was the first Freesat receiver on the market, and the £150 price tag includes the box but not a dish or installation, which will set you back a further £80. The box itself is remarkably compact, and attractively styled in black with a couple of silver strips that inject a dash of glamour. Either side of the central information panel (which only shows the current channel number) is a drop-down flap, one of which hides a cluster of menu controls, plus buttons that call up the programme guide and setup menu.

On the rear is an excellent array of sockets including an HDMI output, which is the best way to watch hi-def channels or standard-def channels upscaled to 1080i or 720p. Alternatively you can use the component output (which supports HD), composite or SCART, the latter offering RGB, S-video and composite video output. A second SCART allows you to hook up to your VCR or DVD recorder and make recordings of Freesat channels (in either S-video or composite), which will be useful given the lack of a built in hard disk.

You'll also find an optical digital audio output that allows you to connect the unit to your AV receiver and listen to Dolby Digital broadcasts found on channels like BBC HD. There's also an Ethernet port that isn't enabled at present, but in the future will enable you to access IPTV services (such as BBC's iPlayer), plus the USB port can be used to upload software updates.

The lack of a built-in hard-disk is a shame, but otherwise the digital TV feature list is fairly generous. It offers a 7-day EPG, digital text, subtitles, audio description and fast interactive access, plus its software can be updated using over-the-air upgrades.

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The Pope

June 9, 2008, 6:24 pm

Sounds like we have a winner for my Freesat installation later this month :)

David 8

June 21, 2008, 5:37 pm

With regard to the HD content (BBC, Luxe)I would agree the performance is superb HOWEVER, no doubt due to the quality of the s.d. programs any upscaling causes the picture to appear soft and sometimes ill defined! On some channels apart from loss of edge definition solid areas appear to be too smooth, as if noise control has been introduced into the scaling process??. Having tried both Grundig and Goodmans receivers I found that their upscaled s.d. was far more pleasing to the eye, edge definition and general detail being to my mind noticably better. I will keep the Humax as it is a lot more flexible for interconnects etc. Comments welcome.





David Clarke.

Steve Oll

July 11, 2008, 10:04 pm

Sounds like a decent set top box. I just purchased an SD digital satellite system from Lidl here in Ireland for 80 Euros that includes the dish and coax cables, etc. I installed the system myself and can get 800+ channels from Astra 28.2E Satellite. Sounds good that I can just plug this new box in addition to the one that have already and get HD channels as well.





The channel setup on this box needs a postcode to get the local channels setup right (seems like from the review it couldn't do this properly). As I now live in Ireland I was wondering if this function can be overidden so that I can choose the regional channels that I want that I can do with the SD satellite receiver I already have. Also, does the box have phono output so I can hook it up to my old stereo (no fancy surround sound setup yet)

Andy Vandervell

August 29, 2008, 6:38 pm

Well I wouldn't read too much into the price just yet. Humax were unwilling to name a price and simply said something along the lines of: "you could say it's twice the machine of the FOXSAT-HD". Like all these things it'll probably start high and come down fairly steadily.

Martin Kulin

September 9, 2008, 7:25 pm

I have SKY + and pay about 㿌 a month for 2 boxes and basic package and was fed up with its monopoly, I thought of upggrading to SKY hd but have to pay for teh box 𧵎 + 㾶 a month (why should I?) I went to Currys got the HUMAX Free SAT HD box and was blown away, I will certainly buy the recorder version when it arrives and then dump SKY totally, its amazing, teh quality and the small footprint of thsi box is just 100%, no issues other tahn I wish there were more channels, but there will be and I like teh fact ITV will not allow sky its HD version. Go for it, its brill

roger.j

December 22, 2008, 10:32 pm

I have a Humax hd box and have tried the new hd pvr and find on both the optical digital conection does not work with my sony str-da1200es multichannel av reciever.I have sky hd which works perfectly but is expensive.Niether sony or humax can help.Can anyone tell me why please.there is no fault on any of the equipment that i can find.

Andrew 21

September 17, 2009, 1:15 am

I bought the Foxsat hd after reading the reviews and I can tell you it is a piece of junk. The remote broke after a couple of weeks and had to be replaced. Ok this can happen. The main problems are as follows:- There is a delay after pressing the remote buttons which means you have to wait for the machine to catch up after pressing a button and I can tell you it drive you mad, you have to have the remote pointing exactly at the machine for the remote to work at all, the remote buttons are all over with the most used buttons hidden amongst the ones you never need, now I cannot delete the programs i have watched (i could do at one time) so I will be back on the phone to Humax, and to top it all there is no return path built in to the back (as you get on sky boxes and is industry standard) so if you want to output the signal to a distribution amp or to another room you are stuffed. The picture quality is good and the hdd is good but the machine is a pig to use and drives you round the bend. Better to wait till something better comes out.

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