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IFA 2008: Humax Quietly Unveils Freesat HD FOXSAT-HDR PVR

Andy Vandervell

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IFA 2008: Humax Quietly Unveils Freesat HD FOXSAT-HDR PVR

Few companies can rightfully be considered peerless, but PVR specialists Humax come pretty close so its army of loyal fans will be delighted to hear about the appearance of a Freesat HD PVR at IFA 2008 to join the FOXSAT-HD Freesat Receiver we looked at not all that long ago.

Despite being an eminently exciting development, there was very little fanfare - just a little section of stand in the outer reaches of the Berlin Messe. Nonetheless this is big news. If you want to watch HD broadcasts without paying Rupert Murdoch Freesat is your only hope, but who wants to sacrifice their viewing flexibility for Freesat, when you can keep it?

Ostensibly very similar to Humax's current Freeview boxes, the FOXSAT-HDR simply places dual Freesat tuners in the place of Freeview ones. Capable of displaying resolutions up to 1080i it can receive TV signals in MPEG-4 AVC, h.264 and MPEG-2 and has all the usual trimmings, such as an Ethernet port, a capacious 320GB hard drive, HDMI and optical audio out. It will also upscale standard definition broadcasts to your desired resolution.

Humax reps were coy about pricing - suggesting it could retail for as much as twice that of FOXSAT-HD - but did confirm this little beauty will be hitting the UK before Christmas. So, if you do have to endure the Christmas broadcasting, you can at least do it in high definition. Hooray!

Full Spec Sheet

JohnnyO

August 29, 2008, 5:12 pm

I'm a Humax fan and the new box looks great but does the ethernet port let me get any closer to my ultimate goal of recording programs on one PVR and playing it on another in a different room? (Not to mention pausing a show in one room and resuming play in another) Or do I have to go down the PC in the living route to achieve that goal?

Stelph

August 29, 2008, 5:44 pm

I see that this does sky's trick of recording one channel while you watch another, how many LNR's does it use then? The one porblem I have with my SKY box is that I only have 1 LNR (I am in a flat with a shared dish) and it plays merry hell with the sky box because there is no way to make it realise that you only have 1 LNR, meaning that when you try and record something it usually fails unless you are watching the channel!





If this box has the function to know how many LNR's you are using so that it will automatically record using LNR 1 (for example) then thats it, im sold

Stelph

August 29, 2008, 6:14 pm

Hmm, also &#163299 for the box seems somewhat expensive, I know its not a fair example but you can get a sky HD box from ebay for &#163140...

c128

August 29, 2008, 7:16 pm

...it's not a fair example though, is it. That's &#163140 for a box that you can't even record anything on unless you pay either a &#16310/month "PVR-tax" or have a Sky subscription. After 18 months of a &#163140 + &#16310/month the Humax will actually be cheaper...

Pbryanw

August 29, 2008, 7:42 pm

Also, remember that you have to pay an installation fee of about &#16380 for Freesat so that's another eight months before the Humax will be cheaper.

skinner

August 29, 2008, 8:07 pm

"Also, remember that you have to pay an installation fee of about &#16380 for Freesat so that's another eight months before the Humax will be cheaper."





Not if you already have Sky+ (as I do).


&#163 299 sounds like a bargain compared to Sky+ HD which is currently about &#163 150 for the box + &#163 60 "installation" (i.e. a man plugging it in) plus &#163 17/ month basic Sky channels PLUS another &#163 10 HD mix...

Hugo

August 29, 2008, 8:18 pm

You don't have to pay an installation fee for Freesat - you can install the dish it yourself for free if you so choose. That's according to the rep I spoke to at the launch.

bj33790

August 29, 2008, 8:42 pm

In reply to Stelph, if you want to watch one channel and record on another, you will need two independent feeds from a multi-output LNB unless you are tuning to two channels that are the same polarity on the satellite. This is because the receiver sends either volts or audio tones to the LNB to tell it which polarity to be on, it cant be on Vertical and Horizontal polarity at the same time.

c128

August 29, 2008, 9:34 pm

As stated above, installation with freesat is optional, but what Sky HD box off Ebay for anyone that doesn't already have a dish is going to include free/cheaper installation than that anyway? The installation issues are the same with either box.

Guest

August 29, 2008, 10:21 pm

You can easily buy your own dish and fit it yourself, they are not very expensive and if you need another input you can change the LNB on your current dish easily and cheaply.

Stelph

August 30, 2008, 12:57 am

Oh yes, I forgot that you hav to pay &#16310 a month if you dont have a contract! My bad, maybe the price isnt so bad after all :-)





In reply to bj33790 thanks for the info, Ill look into it!

Frankf9d

August 30, 2008, 3:33 am

Apart from, an at present, non-existant or feeble ITV HD, what proggies will be available NOW, over what so many of us have enjoyed for the best part of two years.


This system may be the future, but we will only be sure if the BBC and others, do a lot better (more) than they are at present.


Existing Sky subscribers are better of keeping their kit, &#16310 pm each for HD and Sky Plus at most, is cheaper than buying this box and even those subs may get terminated or reduced, in the near future.

Pbryanw

August 30, 2008, 3:48 am

BBC HD is also available on Freesat but Sky HD has by far the best selection of HD Channels, although it comes at a cost, as mentioned.





Still Freesat has ITV HD which is one more HD channel then my current V+ Box has (only BBC HD on Virgin). Actually I'm seriously considering Freesat, if only so I don't have to pay a monthly fee for TV but I was hoping the Humx PVR would be cheaper.





Plus, I'm sure you can fit the dish yourself but for someone like me, with little to no DIY skills, that would be a step too far.

Gordon394

August 30, 2008, 4:39 am

FYI - Sky HD+ box is currently &#16375 but still carries the &#16360 install fee.

c128

August 30, 2008, 1:48 pm

"Existing Sky subscribers are better of keeping their kit, &#16310 pm each for HD and Sky Plus at most, is cheaper than buying this box"





How can on on-going subscription at &#16310/month be cheaper than a one off payment - it will depend on how long you subscribe for. In addition you'll have *no* ITV-HD with a Sky HD box.





"...and even those subs may get terminated or reduced, in the near future."





On what information is that based? I'd fully expect the cost of freesat PVRs to drop too - both Humax post-launch and with Metronic coming on-line with their own product next year.

c128

August 30, 2008, 1:52 pm

"FYI - Sky HD+ box is currently &#16375 but still carries the &#16360 install fee."





Where's that? I find it pretty unlikely that you can buy a new Sky HD+ box for &#163135 installed that does not entail also having a Sky subscription...

Mike

August 30, 2008, 8:19 pm

As far as i'm concerned i think the introduction of Freesat from the BBC & ITV is great. It is free as an ongoing sevice albeit, once you have forked out for the installation, supply of chosen equipment. Though Freesat offers a somewhat limited selection of channels in comparison to SKY at present, that seems to be changing all the time, with new channels constantly being added. Granted the current suggested price of the pending Freesat DTR/PVR box is a tad expensive at &#163300 in comparison to SKY, i believe that as with most equipment electronical, this will inevitably fall in price and with the competion, probably have to fall quite quickly.That's competition for you!!I think Sky is going to have to re think a lot of it's subscription charges at this rate as quite simply it's going to lose a huge amount of it's market share in this line, anyway!





As with most people, the reason i'm for FREESAT is it's essentialy a free service and unlike my present Sky freesat, where most of the channels on the EPG i can't access anyway,all channels shown in Freesat's EPG you can access and at no extra charge as with SKY's premium channels!! My only gripe at present, is that the PVR shortly due on the market only incorporates twin tuners! unlike Virgin's V+ box that has three tuners, i would love to see someone like HUMAX/ SONY etc introduce a quad tuner box! so there would be no need to have two boxes installed if you ever wish to record more than two channels simultaneously! still i guess it's the old syndrome,the more we're offered on the market, the more we want!!

sugob

August 30, 2008, 8:34 pm

Spec sheet says


"Simultaneous viewing of one channel and recording another channel"





Seems like carefully chosen words i.e. is it able to record 2 channels simultaneously - maybe also watching one of those being recorded in chaser {or a third channel on the same mux} or watching something previously recorded?


And if all these video streams are HD...

Frankf9d

September 1, 2008, 4:50 am

http://www.avforums.com/forums...


It's obvious the links posted on here dont, well, link.





An AV Forums thread to the effect that &#16375 HD box & &#16330 install were offered in The Sun.


There has and still is speculation that Sky may cancel the &#16310 HD sub soon and free/no subs for 12 months IS used to close deals with waverers.


c128, your are correct to say it depends how long you subscribe, that was I thought understood in my post, because I refer to NOW, maybe the future will bring growth and appeal to Freesat, but not getting ITV HD is hardly an argument against staying with Sky, at the moment.

george catleugh

September 1, 2008, 5:04 am

very interested in this and been waiting for freesat pvr humax but the &#163300 talking price seems steep will you get a equal package if i just bought a humax freeview hd receiver and bought a hd recorder separate to save on cost ?

c128

September 1, 2008, 12:11 pm

"c128, your are correct to say it depends how long you subscribe, that was I thought understood in my post, because I refer to NOW,"





As you are making a comparison, based partly on cost, between a one-off payment for freesat against a continuing subscription for Sky, the continual subscription you will need to pay is absolutely key. Clearly existing Sky HD subscribers are better staying with Sky now as, well, there's no freesat PVR available at all. However, when there is, we need to be clear on one thing: there is absolutely no evidence whatsover that Sky have any intention of removing the &#16310 PVR-tax that you must pay, at a minimum, to have anything other than a Sky HD box that cannot record. Were they to do this, the argument would be different, but anything else in this area is, at best, pure speculation.





"...but not getting ITV HD is hardly an argument against staying with Sky, at the moment."





...and the FTA HD channel that "pips" ITV-HD and justifies a &#16310 subscription is...what?

Mike

September 1, 2008, 4:07 pm

In reply to George Catleugh's comment of 1/9/08, re: possibly buying a separate HD recorder with an Freesat HD receiver to save on cost, at present, i'm under the understanding that for the Freesat sevice there is no separate HD recording device? I'd be delighted to be proved wrong though!! However, i should imagine that by the time one forks out for an HD receiver and a HD recording device( should one become available on the market) i suspect one would be better of in terms of cost and space to just purchase the Freesat PVR in the 1st instance!

Frankf9d

September 1, 2008, 6:16 pm

...and the FTA HD channel that "pips" ITV-HD and justifies a &#16310 subscription is...what?





Channel 4HD, available NOW! as it has been for the last eight months or so, when many early adapters committed to their AV strategy and invested in boxes & installs.


Most people taking Sky packages don't pay "Plus" subs anyway, that's &#163120 pa less to come out of any price comparison.


I do gree there is speculation, the reason I employed the word in my first post and I hope Freesat prospers, especially if it provides a good alterative to paying through the nose to enrich Prem league players, even though I adore a good football match as much as the next pleb.


I actually long for the day when HD is just considered 'normal' TV, but for the moment I have to make a judgement on where to place my precious AV quids allowance.


Happy viewing to you and all.

Orinj

September 1, 2008, 6:22 pm

I've been waiting for this. I just bought the Foxsat HD receiver to check that it would work with my dish but I'm going to take it back and wait for this.





Correct me if I'm wrong but there are no standalone HD recorders available that could be used to record from a Freesat HD or Sky HD box even if you wanted to cut corners for a few pounds.





If you can record two different channels at the same time with this then I'll get it. Playing back previously recorded material does not require an additional tuner so I would expect to be able to do this.

c128

September 1, 2008, 9:13 pm

"Channel 4HD, available NOW!"





Ahh...4Upscaled - you're quite right, forgot about that. Either way, C4 viewer enquiries have responded to folk that have queried 4HD's potential FTA-ness in the future with "Neither the HD Channel 4 service or the +1s are currently avaiable, but we


hope these will be added in the coming months".





"Most people taking Sky packages don't pay "Plus" subs anyway, that's &#163120 pa less to come out of any price comparison."





No, it really shouldn't come out of any comparison, that's comparing apples with oranges rather than apples with apples. Sky exists as a premium *content* package for those that want it - and good luck to them. The discussion here is about the viability and value of a non-subscription freesat PVR for those interested in viewing and recording FTA channels usign an EPG - the cheapest comparable Sky model with regard to FTA channels is the Sky HD box with the &#16310/month subscription to ensure you can actually record something.

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