Humax Foxsat-HDR Freesat PVR - Humax Foxsat-HDR

By Danny Phillips


  • Recommended by TR
Humax Foxsat-HDR Freesat PVR


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Review Price £259.95

The EPG is also superb, using an instantly accessible grid layout and excellent use of the remote keys to skip forward in time or switch to a List view. When you set something to record, it asks if you want to record the whole series or the single event, and if a programme is being simulcast in HD it asks which version you want to record.

Finding recordings is easy thanks to the Media List's terrific layout - it's broken down into video, radio, music and photo and from here you can setup playlists or copy content to a USB device.

There are a few other helpful features on board, such as lightning-quick digital text, SD channel upscaling, audio description support, auto padding and Instant Replay, but unlike the Foxsat-HD there's no non-Freesat mode, which means you can't access the hundreds of other free-to-air satellite channels out there.

In operation the Humax is a real trouper, delivering consistently clean, solid picture and sound quality, and playing back video with pleasing smoothness and stability. Many people will also be concerned about fan noise, but we're happy to say that the unit runs as quiet as a mouse.

The quality of standard-definition pictures on this box compares very well with those of Sky and Freeview, but as with any digital TV platform the quality varies wildly depending on the broadcast quality - ITV channels, for example, look awful but the BBC's roster looks a lot sharper and cleaner.

HD material looks fantastic too. BBC HD's mixture of costume dramas, wildlife shows and sitcoms are delivered with the sort of mesmerising sharpness that we've come to expect from this channel, and there's no doubt that hi-def makes the Foxsat-HDR a much more compelling proposition than any Freeview box - although the limited HD content is still one of the main downsides of the Freesat platform.


If you can get over Freesat's limited hi-def content and the lack of support for non-Freesat channels, the Foxsat-HDR makes a fantastic digital TV proposition. There's a capacious hard-disk on board, its faultless operating system makes it easy to use and picture quality is as good as it gets. It's also stylish, operates with no fan noise and is packed with more features than you'd expect for the money. In fact, the Humax is so good it might even tempt Sky customers to make the switch just for the hell of it.

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January 15, 2009, 5:42 am

Great review...I have pre ordered one of these this week.

Any reason why it only supports 1080i and not 1080p?


January 15, 2009, 12:43 pm

Actually, the reviewer is incorrect when he states that the HDR can not access non-freesat channels, because this has always been possible on the HDR (It was one of the first things I tried when I got mine last year). To do this, simply perform a manual channel scan from the set up menu, once the scan has completed, a further option appears on the menu to switch the device into non-freesat mode.


January 15, 2009, 1:04 pm

id wait for the topfield to be reviewed before considering this, and that has one considerable advantage over this for me in that its of a standard width and can therfore sit neatly above my dvd player and av reciever systems

Chris Beach

January 15, 2009, 1:11 pm

Isn't it more likely that FreeSat doesn't support 1080p? So the official specs say the same?


January 15, 2009, 2:11 pm

This unit is fantastic. I bought it a month back as i just moved into a new house and the previous owner did not have a aerial installed, all he had was a SKY dish, but i did not want to pay a monthly subscription as i do not watch that much tv, hence why i bought this.

The picture quality is amazing and when connected to my 5.1 system via an optical is amazing!

a recommended buy, and the price is well worth it.

Peter Morris

January 15, 2009, 2:15 pm

I wish you'd stop reviewing FreeSat products. You're making me miserable because I can't get FreeSat. Being on the side of a hill with trees at the top means no line of sight. Oh yes, I also live in a valley so no FreeView. Oh yes, we survive off a small relay transmitter which, at best, gives three channels on a good day. Oh yes, there's cable in the area but, since I live on a private road, Virgin won't dig it up to give me a line. Thank goodness for iPlayer. Now stop reviewing products that I could buy but can't use!


January 15, 2009, 2:42 pm

@Peter Morris - You can't get Freesat OR Freeview? Where do you live, the mines of Moria?


January 15, 2009, 3:18 pm

I have Sky HD, and multi room, could i ditch the muti room (Pace 3100 (PVR2)), and add this baby instead? Is this possible or do i need an other dish, or none at all? I'd be interested in seeing how this compares to Sky's offering!

Jordan McClements

January 15, 2009, 3:36 pm

As above, I also want to know .. Can I just hook up my existing Sky+ Dish to this box without having to make any adjustments?


January 15, 2009, 4:04 pm

At least the reviewer is now mentioning BBC iPlayer on these sort of devices as a possibility for the future. When is the industry going to deliver......?


January 15, 2009, 5:35 pm

To the above comments, I believe you are able to connect a Freesat receiver to an existing Sky satellite dish at the same time as a Sky box (Does not matter if its Sky+ or Sky HD) without having to reposition the dish. They should capable of receiving two feeds at once and sending them to separate boxes.


January 15, 2009, 5:50 pm

For those querying Freesat and Sky combinations...

The folks have just added a Quad LNB to their existing dish (purchased with a Sky contract). Two cables now feed a plain old Sky box and the Freesat receiver in their Panasonic TV.

This is specific for the Panasonic TV: the Sky box appears under the AV options button on the remote. To access Freesat, select it's option, accessible via the TV button.



Mark Booth

January 15, 2009, 7:44 pm

I have a quad LNB feeding Sky+ as weel as my Panny freesat tv and it works fine. Now I just need a Octal LNB so I can put a Humax (or two) upstairs!


January 15, 2009, 9:49 pm

I really really want to get this receiver, but at the moment I just feel its overpriced for what it is. Unless im missing something fundmental then this is really just the Human HD received (Currently available for 𧴺) with a 320GB HDD (with some additional electronics and software so it is able to record obviously) for an additional 𧵢!! More than twice again, which considering a HDD only costs 㿔 or so...

Obviously value is subjective from person to person but to me, the same price again for the recording function just isnt good value, id be interested at closer to 𧶀

Matthew Bunton

January 16, 2009, 12:15 am

I must admit i'm getting fed up with paying Sky 50 pounds a month for and endless supply of poor channels if it wasn't for the footie it would have gone a long time ago.

That for me is the main conundrum as I would miss the football, though sadly nothing else.

Paul Nicolson

January 16, 2009, 12:47 am

Stelph said ^^^^^^^^^

Well all I can say is the build quality is great, the picture quality is fantastic, the Free Hd is super all 1 channel of it, some time itv !!! The recording is bang on and it all works as it should. For one box that does alot of stuff with no monthly fee its great, also you can add mp3s and photos and use a usb HD drive to archive. More updates planned and I have heard a whisper it will be doing DIVX ??? now that would be good, also they hase some future plans for internet use...................

Tony Gentry

January 16, 2009, 1:50 am

A stark choice has to be made... Either my children have a month of poverty, with only bread and water to eat or drink, or trustedreviews hand over their review unit. Which is it to be?

Can you live with your conscious chaps?

Paul Nicolson

January 16, 2009, 3:06 am

Fibble said on 15th January 2009

Actually, the reviewer is incorrect when he states that the HDR can not access non-freesat channels, because this has always been possible on the HDR (It was one of the first things I tried when I got mine last year). To do this, simply perform a manual channel scan from the set up menu, once the scan has completed, a further option appears on the menu to switch the device into non-freesat mode.

Bang on - then gives you nearly 395 tv stations + 100 radio :-)

Danny P

January 16, 2009, 3:08 pm

@Fibble and Paul Nicolson - apologies for the error, when I didn't see the non-Freesat option in the menu I assumed it didn't have one and for my sins didn't do a manual tune.


January 17, 2009, 12:00 am

As this is the only machine of its type I guess it's all too easy to wax lyrical about its good points but I have to take issue with "It's complemented by a terrific remote that's clearly been designed with simplicity in mind. The buttons are large, well spaced...". The remote is SHOCKINGLY bad, there has been absolutely no thought at all put into its design apart from making it LOOK good. Lets think, what buttons would be most used on a PVR? Maybe the play/pause/skip buttons? OK, we'll make them really small so you have to look at the remote every time. And while we're about it lets have two buttons that move the channel up and down. Oh yes, lets have an 'Exit' button and a 'Back' button that have to be used seemingly randomly throughout the interface. How often do users use the number buttons to change channel on a system with an EPG? Almost never? Right, lets make the number buttons the biggest on the remote then and put them in the prime real-estate where they can most easily be reached with a thumb and relegate all the useful buttons to the bottom of the control where they're almost impossible to press one-handed. And then there's the directionality problem - unless the control is pointing exactly at the machine and the machine is square on to you the control is useless. Danny P, I think you should find yourself a Tivo and take a look - THAT's how a remote should be.


January 17, 2009, 10:53 pm

I bought the foxsat hdr, just after Xmas - to say its a fantastic machine is an understatement!! Ok theres a few fixes to be sorted out, but i'd recommend this machine to anybody. Ive been using the Humax 9200 terrestrial, for a couple of years, and because of its build quality, performance, and support, there was only one machine to go for (ok theres only one on the market at the moment). As u guessed - i'm really pleased with it>>


January 18, 2009, 1:31 pm


Part of the extra electronics is the second decoder, so more than just the 320Gb SATA HD and the 'stuff' to allow recording. You are right though in that is does seem over priced, but Humax currently have no competition as they are the sole manufacturer with a product on the market. Now how long till the others put products out and the competition starts for Freesat PVRs?


January 20, 2009, 2:26 am

Hi, excuse my lack of knowledge but can anyone help me? I've just been looking at these and agree with "Stelph" that the 𧵢 extra for a recording function (+ 1 or 2 extras) is a bit steep. But my question is can i use my existing set top 'freeVIEW' box which has a 120gb recording function, in conjunction with the standard Foxsat HD Box? Is there any way of using IT'S recording feature still while watching the Foxsat for Freesat? Also, with the suggestion made to use an external HDD (㿔).. is this simple to do... am i running out of connections on my Panny TH-42PZ85 for all this?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Again apologies for my ignorance... all i want is to watch some HDTV on my HDTV!!


Larry Roxon

January 20, 2009, 11:14 pm

I've been trying to source one of these boxes since before xmas. John Lewis finally came through and I can't wait to get my grubby hands on it later this week. I'm even more excited having re-read this review and comments... I was a Sky+ early adopter but baulked at paying an extra 㾶 p/m for HD. OK, I'm losing the sports but much of that has gone to Setanta anyhow and at least the Humax will pay for itself over about 9 months.

quentin 1

January 23, 2009, 9:23 pm

I want to receive TV in The Algarve Portugal can I use this box and what else do I need to connect to the service??

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