The brand new Free Time EPG found on the Humax HDR-1000S is simply gorgeous, a million miles from the traditional Freesat EPGs you may be used to. When you first enter, the live TV screen shrinks down into the top right corner, with two columns displayed below – Now and Next – showing programmes for seven channels on the left. Hit the right direction key and you move to the familiar programme grid that covers a two-hour period.
You can page up and down, skip forward or back 24 hours or hit Info to bring up a synopsis at the top of the screen, alongside a comprehensive list of details about that programme (complete with little icons that let you know whether HD or Audio Description are available, for instance).
Highlight the programme you want to record, hit the Record button on the remote and the EPG is replaced with a dialogue box asking a simple question – ‘would you like to record the entire series?’ There are two options – ‘record entire series’ and ‘record single episode’.
Alternatively, if you press OK after highlighting a programme, the screen switches to a short menu, with four options: Record, About, Set Reminder and Close menu. It’s this level of simplicity and sense of logic that makes the Humax HDR-1000S such a pleasure to use.
But here’s the really cool bit. At the initial EPG screen, select the ‘Earlier’ option and you’ll see a list of on-demand programmes available to watch, displayed day by day in chronological order.
A column to the right of the programme list allows you to change to a different channel and browse its on-demand content – ITV1, CBeebies, ITV4 and so on. Recommended programmes are highlighted on the left hand side in larger boxes with a thumbnail.
It’s brilliantly done, but we would say that the handling of catch-up content on YouView’s EPG is more seamless. When you skip back in time on YouView, the EPG keeps the same programme grid layout, whereas here it changes to a list, which is a little disorienting – but it’s not a major problem.