Humax HDR-FOX T2 - EPG and Menu Features

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Humax HDR-FOX T2

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

We’ve always been big fans of Humax’s slick, informative onscreen design and once again the menus and digital TV displays are first class – even better than the Sharp TU-T2HR32. The main menu is superimposed over live TV and uses attractive hi-res icons and funky fonts. From here you can investigate different types of media or make changes in the thorough setup menu.

It also boasts one of the better Freeview EPGs we’ve seen. This eight-day guide packs a live TV box, a truncated synopsis of the highlighted programme and a seven-channel programme grid into a single screen without seeming cluttered. It looks great and displays a row of handy colour-coded short cuts along the bottom. You can hit the ‘i’ button to see a full synopsis, hit the yellow key to search by keyword or hit the blue button to group channels – doing the latter helpfully allows you to single out the HD channels.

Select a programme block, hit OK and a dialogue box asks if you want to record the whole series, a single programme or set a reminder – exactly the sort of recording simplicity users are looking for, and an example of the user-friendly, no-nonsense onscreen design that runs through the entire operating system.

Elsewhere the Media key on the remote is a gateway to all your content, whether it’s recorded programmes, stuff squirreled away on USB stick or on a networked PC. The clear, user-friendly screen layout and the ability to switch between the different types of content and storage devices using the yellow and blue keys makes it an absolute breeze to find your content.

If you select the ‘HDD Video’ part of the media menu, the box lists your recordings using static thumbnails alongside the programme details. It’s clear and easy on the eye, and when you select a programme you can choose to restart or resume playback. Here you can also rename recordings or create a new folder and dump a group of recordings into it.

As for the onscreen info banners, they’re by far the best of all the Freeview HD PVRs we’ve tested. Aside from its jazzy appearance, what’s most impressive about Humax’s display (which they’ve dubbed ‘iPlate’) is that it provides every last detail about the selected programme, using small, colourful icons and large text (see picture). It can also be used to browse the next seven days’ worth of programmes on any channel, which is a very useful feature.

Rounding up the other features, the Humax can transcode HE AAC to Dolby Digital and offers Dolby Digital Pulse output, a broadcast audio codec that adds Dolby metadata to the HE AAC core. It also offers subtitles, Audio Description, interactive services and digital text, 720p, 1080i and 1080p upscaling for SD and HD channels and pause/rewind live TV, with five search speeds and a useful timeline to show your position.

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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