The EPG is also superb, using an instantly accessible grid layout and excellent use of the remote keys to skip forward in time or switch to a List view. When you set something to record, it asks if you want to record the whole series or the single event, and if a programme is being simulcast in HD it asks which version you want to record.
Finding recordings is easy thanks to the Media List’s terrific layout – it’s broken down into video, radio, music and photo and from here you can setup playlists or copy content to a USB device.
There are a few other helpful features on board, such as lightning-quick digital text, SD channel upscaling, audio description support, auto padding and Instant Replay, but unlike the Foxsat-HD there’s no non-Freesat mode, which means you can’t access the hundreds of other free-to-air satellite channels out there.
In operation the Humax is a real trouper, delivering consistently clean, solid picture and sound quality, and playing back video with pleasing smoothness and stability. Many people will also be concerned about fan noise, but we’re happy to say that the unit runs as quiet as a mouse.
The quality of standard-definition pictures on this box compares very well with those of Sky and Freeview, but as with any digital TV platform the quality varies wildly depending on the broadcast quality – ITV channels, for example, look awful but the BBC’s roster looks a lot sharper and cleaner.
HD material looks fantastic too. BBC HD’s mixture of costume dramas, wildlife shows and sitcoms are delivered with the sort of mesmerising sharpness that we’ve come to expect from this channel, and there’s no doubt that hi-def makes the Foxsat-HDR a much more compelling proposition than any Freeview box – although the limited HD content is still one of the main downsides of the Freesat platform.
If you can get over Freesat’s limited hi-def content and the lack of support for non-Freesat channels, the Foxsat-HDR makes a fantastic digital TV proposition. There’s a capacious hard-disk on board, its faultless operating system makes it easy to use and picture quality is as good as it gets. It’s also stylish, operates with no fan noise and is packed with more features than you’d expect for the money. In fact, the Humax is so good it might even tempt Sky customers to make the switch just for the hell of it.
Score in detail