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.
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.
|Certified Freeview Playback||yes|
|Picture in Picture||no|
|Interactive content support||yes|
|Analogue tuner RF inputs||0|
|Digital tuner RF inputs||1|
|Hybrid tuner RF inputs||0|
|RF passthrough sockets||1|
|Output resolutions||576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|Total SCART sockets||1|
|Stereo phono inputs||0|
|Stereo phono outputs||1|
|Coaxial S/PDIF outputs||0|
|Optical S/PDIF outputs||1|
|Surround sound formats||Dolby Digital Pulse|
|Other ports||2x USB, Ethernet|
|Optical drive type||N/A|
|Audio playback formats||MP3|
|Image viewing formats||JPEG|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption on||22W|
|Extras||SCART cable, HDMI cable, remote control|
|Warranty||two years RTB|