Humax HDR-FOX T2 review
Packed with features, but still an expensive purchase considering the limited number of HD broadcasts. However, this is the best Freeview HD PVR around, and also has iPlayer built-in.
Review Date: 22 Feb 2011
Price when reviewed: £300
Reviewed By: Jim Martin
We’ve long been fans of Humax’s PVRs, right from the PVR-8000T, through to the HD-FOX T2, which we reviewed around a year ago. Few Freeview PVRs can equal Humax’s models for ease of use and intuitive operation, and the HDR-FOX T2 is no different.
Where the HD-FOX T2 had only a single Freeview HD tuner and limited recording capabilities, the HDR-FOX T2 adds a second tuner, plus a 500GB hard disk for storing 300 hours of SD broadcasts, or around 125 hours of HD programmes. A 1TB version is available for around £50 more.
This may sound good, but we held off reviewing it back in September 2010 because it was overshadowed by YouView, that was due to launch in early 2011. It would add the ability to ‘rewind’ the electronic programme guide by up to seven days and stream certain shows you’d missed via your broadband connection. With YouView now being delayed until at least 2012, and Humax releasing a major firmware update for the HDR-FOX T2, we thought it was important to take a look.
One highlight of the update is the TV Portal. It’s still in beta, but gives you access to BBC iPlayer, Sky Player, Internet Radio, Flickr and Wikipedia. This makes the HDR-FOX T2 the first Freeview HD recorder we’ve seen with access to iPlayer. The interface is the same as we’ve seen on Sony and Panasonic TVs, plus other set-top boxes. It’s also similarly slow to respond, but this is OK once you get used to it. It’s possible to stream the HD versions of shows where available, and playback was flawless in our tests. Episodes of Madagascar, for example, looked almost identical to the broadcast version, and there was no juddering or dropped frames.
Even without an expensive aerial, the HDR-FOX T2 picked up all four HD channels without any problems (the fourth being the new BBC One HD, which began broadcasting in November 2010). Images were fairly sharp, although BBC HD remains the best quality of all, and is excellent. Shows on the other three channels vary from little better than SD (because some are simply upscaled) to very good.
"expensive digital aerial"
ROTFL. There is no such thing as a "digital aerial".
How can you trust the rest of the review with such a piece of obvious crap in it?
By Briantist on 22 Feb 2011
get with it guys
"This makes the HDR-FOX T2 the first Freeview HD recorder we’ve seen with access to iPlayer." - seriously? I've been using iPlayer on my Smartbox 8320HD for 6 months now. Its £100 cheaper too.
By profet on 25 Feb 2011
Just to clarify, this is the first Freeview HD PVR we have reviewed. We didn't meant to imply it was the first of its kind. As the review says, we held off reviewing it (and every other Freeview HD PVR) for the last six months because YouView was due to launch around now. The only verdict we could have given was to wait for YouView since there was hardly any HD content being broadcast on Freeview HD.
By jim_martin on 25 Feb 2011
"expensive digital aerial"
FOOL! - read the review. It says "expensive aerial" No mention of digital aerials. Still ROTFLing?
By AndyS on 28 Feb 2011
Virtually flawless - blows Sky+ HD out of the water
As a long term Sky+ HD customer who was forced to cancel my subscription after moving (unresolvable issues with the communal satellite system at new address), I thought it may be useful to write a review in case anyone else is considering switching, whether the move is forced or voluntary.
I approached the purchase of this Humax PVR with a fair amount of skepticism after having used standard Freeview boxes and experienced alternative PVR services such as Virgin. As a result, I didn't hold up much hope for the EPG, ease of use and general performance. In my opinion, Sky's software is the most superior available and despite the odd grievance it was pretty much perfect... or so I thought.
I can't overstate how pleasantly surprised I was by this product. Firstly, the design, look and speed of the EPG software is just as good as Sky and overall I would say it is in fact faster and more polished. Virtually every button function from Sky+ is retained (occasionally and necessarily renamed e.g. the 'planner' is split between 'media' (things already recorded) and 'schedule' (things to be recorded)) with additions complementing the experience - a prompt that appears when selecting a recording in SD if an HD version exists, the ability to create a customised channel list and do away with Freeview's woeful channel grouping/ordering, the ability to add peripheral storage media via the USB port (and general 'openness' compared to Sky's somewhat 'closed' system) and access via the internet to iPlayer, web services such as YouTube and Wikipedia, and even Sky Player (!)
The box itself was 100% plug and play, very simple to setup and intuitive to use. The recording and live pause/rewind features are quick and responsive, and the 500GB storage is more than enough especially as it is not hampered by Sky's disappointing storage-hogging Anytime on demand service.
For me, even as a former Sky customer, I ironically tended to watch and record the vast majority of my TV viewing from channels available on Freeview, and the Humax does everything I had with Sky but better, and with no subscription fee (ok, a much higher initial cost) There are a number of affordable movie options cropping up so Sky Movies are not missed, the only thing that is lacking are Sports.
To summarise, I couldn't recommend this Humax PVR more highly. To anyone considering switching from Sky+HD or with viewing habits similar to mine, you will not be disappointed.
But before you’re will buy this Humax PVR, I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: Prices-comparison.info/HDRFOX-T2
Thank for reading.
By WarrenD on 4 Mar 2012
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