Humax HDR-FOX T2 review

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Humax HDR-FOX T2
  • Humax HDR-FOX T2
  • Humax HDR-FOX T2
  • Humax HDR-FOX T2
  • Humax HDR-FOX T2
  • Humax HDR-FOX T2
  • HDR-FOXT2 Freeview HD Personal Video Recorder (500GB)

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

We’ve had an influx of Freeview HD recorders on TrustedReviews over the last few weeks, which means at long last there’s a wide range for consumers to choose from. The latest model to come under the microscope is the Humax HDR-FOX T2, which was actually the first Freeview HD PVR to hit the shops. Humax is usually the brand to beat when it comes to free digital TV, so it’ll be interesting to see how its twin-tuner PVR measures up to rival machines from TVonics, Philips/Pace and Sharp.

In terms of looks and build quality it measures up very nicely indeed. It’s much bigger than Sharp and Philips’ recorders and more conventional than TVonics, yet it’s still immensely attractive. There’s a glossy black finish covering the casing, which is a fingerprint magnet but deeply stylish, while the front panel is pleasingly uncluttered. It features a ring of blue light in the middle, four tiny silver buttons and a dimly lit orange display panel that’s quite hard to read. It shows the full channel name and an icon that tells you if the current channel is hi-def.

On the back you’ll find an excellent array of sockets, which unusually includes a common interface slot that allows you to add pay TV channels like Sky Sports 1 and 2. You also get HDMI, Scart, composite, optical digital and stereo audio outputs, plus Humax even chucks in two USB ports for uploading firmware updates or playing back MP3, JPEG and DivX from storage devices and external HDDs – it’s the only recorder of the four we’ve seen that will play MP3 and DivX. Also worth a mention is the on/off switch on the back which comes in handy if you don’t like leaving devices in standby overnight.

Another of the Humax’s unique features is its ability to hook up to a home network through the Ethernet port on the rear. You can stream music, video and photos from connected PCs and other devices, and when you combine that with the USB functionality the Humax is more of an all-round entertainment hub than a digital TV box. We tested out the network streaming by delving into a wireless Vista laptop packed full of files, and after some brief hesitation at the start the Humax played all of our files smoothly with excellent sound quality.

Soon Humax will introduce an Internet TV portal for the HDR-FOX T2, which will bring Sky Player, catch-up TV services and internet radio into your living room. The HDR-FOX T2’s feature list is already first class, but IPTV will make it unbeatable.

The rest of the spec is equally impressive. On board is a 500GB hard-disk, which equates to 125 hours of HD recordings or 330 hours of SD, and of course the inclusion of two DVB-T2 tuners means it’s flexible when it comes to recording. You can record one channel while watching another or record two channels while watching a third, which is always a bonus (something that even Sky+HD can’t do). And of course you can also watch a programme from the start while it’s still being recorded.

AJ

October 8, 2010, 12:57 pm

Thanks for the review. Very interesting and confirmed my suspicion that this was the one to wait for. Just a couple of things.





1) I believe there is a 1GB version too, but you didn't mention that.





2) I bought a HUMAX PVR for my Dad two years ago. It was great, but it took ages to initialise and the more things you recorded the worse it got. It took ages from taking it out of standby to being able to view what you'd recorded. Does this issue still plague this new box ?

Tim Sutton

October 8, 2010, 1:53 pm

@AJ





I don't know about this particular Humax but I've not had that problem with either my standard def Freeview Humax PVR or my HD Freesat Humax PVR, it sounds like you got a buggy unit.





You could try an OTA firmware update, but by default the box should be checking for updates itself once a week. Drop Humax a line, even out of warranty they might do something out of goodwill.

Nigel

October 8, 2010, 2:22 pm

@AJ





We had this problem, too (my parents have the same older model). It's probably related to the recent digital re-tune. Once the firmware's updated, it runs fine. The latest firmware also seems to refresh the EPG far quicker when coming out of standby.

Matt

October 8, 2010, 2:40 pm

@AJ





My old 9200T could be updated via a serial cable and laptop - the firmware updates and simple instructions are on the Humax website.





@Trusted





Could we have some screenshots of this amazing UI? Rather than a bunch of pictures of the outside of the (typical black) box...





I loved my PVR, but it was a little noisy idling away when the TV was off. I don't think the relatively large, empty, thin-metal construction helped. Is this one quiet?





Also, why does every PVR review have to commend the recorder for displaying recordings with the same fidelity as a live broadcast? It's not VHS. All any of these machines do is record the digital stream straight to disk, then either play it immediately, or later. With 500GB+ hard drives so cheap, there's no need to compress anything, even with HD.

Simon Heather

October 8, 2010, 2:59 pm

A couple of points - this Humax PVR was actually one of the later to be launched - well after the Philips, DigitalStream and FetchTV. Also the box doesn't do any video encoding like most PVRs (there is no encoder) - it just stores the digital data to the hard drive so there never will be any difference between the live and recorded pictures.

Jmac

October 8, 2010, 3:03 pm

With two tuners, how can you record 2 channels while watching a third? Presumably this only works if 2 of the channels are in the same multiplex?

greycounciller

October 8, 2010, 3:37 pm

Hi. Thanks for the "short" review.


What I'd like to know is as with the PVR 9200T and other Humax's, does playback start from where you stop if you say switch the unit off?


Also, why oh why did you include a EPG and other screen shots with the Sharp TU-T2HR32 and not with this Hummy?

skinner

October 8, 2010, 4:02 pm

Can anyone confirm if this box can stream recordings across a lan to other humax HD-FOX T2 boxes?





i.e. I can stump up for one of these to make all my recordings on but then but have the cheaper boxes scattered about the house to stream recordings to if I want to watch something in bed for example.





Would mean I can ditch sky multiroom and the issue of having stuff recorded on different boxes...





I actually asked Humax directly about this a few weeks back and they said NO , but other previews suggested this would be built in.





Humax said "The unit is a client not a server, you can only stream things from the network to the Humax"...

Steve 12

October 8, 2010, 4:56 pm

Having owned the old Humax for a few years I new this was the one I was waiting for. I still don't have a HD television yet and thought this would justify it. But what about all this 3D revolution, What the heck do I do now? Am I correct in saying 3D will work with this Humax?





I could do with a "3D what happens next" article.





Cheers everyone.

@dickie

October 8, 2010, 5:32 pm

@TR - the one I'm really waiting for is the delayed 3View box....will you be reviewing this soon?

David

October 8, 2010, 7:59 pm

I've been waiting for this box to replace my dodgy Topfield TF5810 that has a nasty habit of deleting timers. My first PVR was a Humax PVR8000t and it's the only one I've been fully happy with.





However, Freeview HD in Wales does not have Channel 4 HD as S4C Clirlun (a HD Welsh language channel) nicks its slot. Most people, including Welsh speakers, already choose to watch Channel 4 over S4C in SD, so this was a bizarre decision (even more so given S4C's limited budget).





So a Freeview HD recorder for two HD channels will seem like overkill to me until its price drops.





Even if we did have all the '4 HD channels' that OFCOM describes as 'being enough' (in its idiotically short-sighted 'digital dividend') I'd still have to think twice as I have a (mostly) working Freeview SD PVR.

KeithB

October 9, 2010, 2:30 am

Ignoring the Blu-ray recorder and additional cost, does anyone have an opinion on how this Humax would compare with the Panasonic DMR-BS780/880 when considering performance, relaibility, ease of use, that sort of thing. Thanks.

horacethefrog

October 9, 2010, 11:17 pm

I have a Humax Foxsat HDR and cannot believe that they're continuing to use the same remote for this much newer (2 years?) model. The design is not 'fine', it's a travesty. There's absolutely no consideration given to which buttons are used the most - half the panel is devoted to number keys which most people will never use (they'll select from the guide). Have you never used a Tivo?

Powerful

November 16, 2010, 9:32 pm

Just bought this Humax to work with a Sony Bravia 46NX703. Set-up was easy and all works OK. A few questions:


Which will be better for upscaling SD content: Humax PVR or Sony TV? If its the TV, what should I change to make this work?


The Humax tuner gives a slightly washed out picture vs the Sony TV's own tuner, particularly in SD. Is there a way of improving Humax brightness or contrast?


I chose this PVR to archive recorded TV to USB hard disk. However, I can't seem to get this to work and the manual says you can't copy recorded TV to hard disk. I don't want to copy it, just move it to free up space. How do I do that?


Many thanks in anticipation.

Powerful

November 16, 2010, 10:20 pm

I like the idea of viewing photos & playing music via my network but the real world delay in getting the Humax to list all the folders on my PC is unacceptable. If you're paying extra for all the bells and whistles on this PVR it may not be money well spent.

Powerful

February 6, 2011, 11:04 am

There was a firmware update yesterday which added the promised TV Portal (iPlayer, Flickr, Sky Player, Wiki@TV and Internet Radio) although only in beta. The update also improved the copy/move/delete functions in that you can list actions on more than one recording at a time and copy/move/delete can now be run in background which is great if, like me your internal disk is full but you still have lots of recordings scheduled for the coming days. There may be more to this firmware update but this is all I've found so far. With TV, Blu-ray and recorder all connected to the web and updates often downloading unannounced, it would be good if someone (the manufacturer or TR, maybe) could list each update and what changes/improvements have been made.

Peter Bartle

December 13, 2011, 7:16 pm

There doesn't seem to be a way of setting this unit to record series on sd channels - or am I missing something?

Sheena MacBain

December 29, 2012, 12:20 pm

During installation of this box, it stopped & the tv screen turned green. I haven't been able to get it to continue installation as screen & remote are now frozen. The usual switch on/off technique has failed to get box to re-boot.

George

March 20, 2013, 1:50 pm

I am having difficulty with aborted recordings due to the limitation of the EPG to recognise uk channels (up to 800) and roi (800 +). Will recognise only one sequence (depending what channels you are in). Message received - "cannot track programme"

jason

May 31, 2013, 8:03 am

amazing device

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