In operation, the Humax HDR-1000S performs brilliantly. It calls up menus quickly, remote commands are carried out in a flash and online material streams without a hitch. Digital text and interactive channels pop up instantly too. The screen goes black for just a fraction too long when you change channels but that aside the Humax HDR-1000S is one smooth operator.
As for online performance, we tried streaming a variety of programmes from BBC and ITV, including Panorama and The X Factor, and they all played back quickly without interruption. Picture quality is superb, offering sharp detail and strong colours. There’s a bit of fuzz in the picture, but the convenience of having this catch up content on tap outweighs any minor concerns over picture quality. We also like the way BBC iPlayer programmes allow you to resume watching where you left off, although the inability to search through programmes is a bit of a pain – pressing the scan button just skips forward or back in chunks. There are also few PVRs that load up and play video files as quickly and smoothly as this Humax, and our gamut of test videos looked as good as we’ve seen them.
Freeview performance is terrific. High-definition channels look punchy and pristine, imbued with razor-sharp detail and rich colours. From the grubby surroundings of Albert Square to the opulence of Downton Abbey, the Humax captures everything with exceptional clarity. Some of this is lost when watching standard definition of course, but pictures still look great. In fact we’d say that Freesat’s SD quality is superior to that of Humax’s YouView box.
The Humax HDR-1000S captures these images on the hard-disk in identical quality, which means you don’t have to compromise just because you can’t watch something live. Pause and rewind live TV work without a hitch (there’s a two-hour buffer) plus operating speed and functionality aren’t affected when two recordings are in progress.
The Humax HDR-1000S is a wonderful Freesat PVR, mixing broadcast and on-demand TV content with even more panache than its YouView rival. The Free Time EPG is the highlight, making it easy to find content with its slick, sophisticated onscreen presentation. But there are many more strings to its bow, such as network media streaming, internet apps and USB media playback, while its capacious HDD, flexible recording functionality and outstanding picture quality make it one of the best Freesat PVRs we’ve tested.
The lack of built-in Wi-Fi is the only blot on the copybook, but that’s easily rectified with a £29 dongle. So if you’re after a stylish, simple and feature-packed Freesat PVR with easy access to free on-demand content, the Humax HDR-1000S is the perfect choice.