Lots of features and great online services, but this bargain Freesat HD unit only has a single tuner
The Humax HB-1000S is a compact Freesat HD set-top box that lets you view catch-up TV programmes through its regular electronic programme guide (EPG), stream media from media servers on your network and make use of its many online services, such as YouTube.
It doesn’t have a built-in hard drive to which you can record TV programmes, but you can attach a USB drive and record to that. Sadly, the HB-1000S only has one Freesat tuner, so you won’t be able to record a programme to an attached drive while watching another. Even so, with a drive attached you’ll be able to pause and rewind live TV and use it like a regular PVR in every other respect.
Setting up the HB-1000S is a simple affair. You simply attach a HDMI cable, Ethernet cable and the lead from your satellite faceplate. When you first switch on the HB-1000S you’re walked through the setup procedure. The setup screens are structured for clarity and instructions are easy to understand, so there’s no confusion about what you’re being asked to do.
The screens ask you to select the picture options for your screen, such as resolution, aspect ratio and so on, and enter your postcode to receive the correct ITV and BBC channels for your location. An onscreen keyboard makes entering your postcode a quick and easy process, and you can also use the remote control’s number pad to enter your postcode in the same manner as you’d write a text message on an old mobile phone.
The entire process takes only a few minutes, if that, and afterwards you’re ready to watch Freesat HD TV. The HB-1000S uses the excellent Humax interface and EPG seen on more expensive models such as the HDR-1000S. It’s mostly quick and responsive, with just the odd hesitation. It’s a very high quality interface that looks superb whether you’re browsing for a programme, searching through a recording or finding an online service.
To find a programme you can either use the full EPG, which also shows the channel you’re currently watching so that you don’t miss anything, search for a programme using an onscreen keyboard or use the Now and Next function. The image quality is great, even if you’re watching standard definition channels. Unfortunately, there are only five Full HD channels available at present, but hopefully more will be added in the future as more channels join the service.