“ Humax / Freesat Set-top Box with High Definition Facility „
I bought the Humax because of three main features.
1. It's free!
Once you've paid just over £100 for the box itself anyway. There's no hideously expensive Sky contract or anything here. The humax lets you watch freesat channels which - funnily enough - are free. You get all the big channels that you'd ever want to watch (all the BBCs, all the channel 4s including film 4, the ITVs and so on) and countless more small channels (CBS action and Dave etc.). Unfortunately, there are also many Teleshopping channels and a few "unsavoury" ones too. They are well down the channel list (no.800 or so) so children are unlikely to stumble on them and you can remove any channel, if you want, from the box. Note that you can always re-tune to add back any removed channels.
2. Loads of space for recording.
When I bought this it had by far the biggest hard drive out of the competition. 320GB - the same as my then PC. We've only filled the Humax up completely a couple of times. This was mostly from recording an Attenborough series in HD which took up an insane amount of space. If you record in standard definition (personally can't tell the quality difference) there's room for many hours, days even of recorded shows.
3. Pause and rewind, live.
The killer feature. This was just when that advert - the one where someone rewinds a golf swing on their flashy new tv set - was new. With the Humax, you can pause a live show and it all sorts it out behind the scenes so that you can rewind, and watch what you've already seen, or fast forward. (You can only fast forward up until you're watching live, it's not a time machine). This absolutely brilliant if someone calls you right in a really exciting bit. Pause, have your phone call, play and it starts back where you left off.
The number of channels is great, but not as excessive as a Sky box for example. Recording and pausing shows etc. is good also, but not as good as it might be. The software often lets down the experience. When you resume a show it often puts subtitles on, even if you didn't put them on and it's really difficult to turn them off. You have to be very careful, and a little bit lucky when you record shows - it sometimes cuts the last, often crucial, 15 minutes off a film. And once it failed to record a whole series when we went on holiday. When you've paused something and are watching behind live, it's very easy to press the change channel button instead of the volume. This changes the channel and if you change back, the Humax has skipped forward to live broadcast and won't let you back. I have been massively irritated by this a few times.
Iplayer is also available - some of the time. Often iPlayer doesn't work because there's "no signal". This is strange because it only needs an internet connection to work and not a TV signal. When it does work it has to buffer a program every five or ten minutes. I won't blame the Humax for this though, it's probably just my internet connection being too slow.
This review is also posted on Ciao under the same username.
My partner and I had been used to our Sky+ box for nearly when 3 years, when I left full time work in favour of being a full time mum. We therefore had a lower income and had to review our expedniture swapping pay per view television for something simpler and more cost effective.
With the digital switchover looming ta Humax box seemed a good option. We had never heard of this brand before, nor knew anything about it but soon relaised it was as simple as a Sky box yet for only a one off purchase cost.
The box is simple and stylish. Black and so versatile for most homes and matching the blu ray player and HD tv that we already owned. The set up was easy, the remote non crowded and easily labelled to find media (stored programmes) and guide and a few other options at the bottom of it. We were also able to set up our remote to control our blu ray box and television.
On set up we instantly had access to HD channels and all the freeview channels that were available, and also radio stations. We began recording and saving to hard drive immediately, and found the storage capabilities good, able to record a huge volume of programme taking up little space.
We also found the internet connections easy to use and helpful, though we did have to change internet provider to fully benefit as we did not have a fast enough connection to view iplayer without it jumping.
Overall, I wouldnt recommend for elder people who are used to basics, but anyone who wishes to save money on pay per view tv yet still have the facility to record and watch HD etc, i would definitely say to buy one
Really really pleased with this purchase - great value for money and brilliant functions.
I bought this box for my husband's birthday as the sky+ box had been malfunctioning and irritiating us.
We loved the live pause and recording facility of sky+, but weren't interested in paying a sunscription for channels which, quite frankly, we weren't going to watch. So Freesat was the answer.
The Humax is supposed to be top of the range (It was the best we could get at our local Curry's anyway!) and although it probably works out more expensive than getting a sky+HD subscription in the short term, we wont still be paying for the box in the long term.
Reliability-wise, it's been great. It does everything we need it too including recording and live pause.
In terms of set-up, it was a breeze. neither my husband nor i are any good with technology, but we had the thing installed and running within nanoseconds.
A slight problem with the remote control turned out to be the fact that we had accidentally hit a button, but since our local Curry's is a five minute walk away and staffed by friendly local chaps, they just fixed it and laughed at us. Hopefully the issue we are having with subtitles appearing when we record or pause programmes will be a similarly silly mistake on our behalf rather than a problem with the box.
In all, I recommend this wholeheartedly for anyone with an HD television but no particular need for a contract for a million boring channels.
It's a basic, black box that doesn't offend the eye, it's easy to intall and easy to use. So far, no problems at all.
Freesat is one of the many ways you can get high quality digital television and receive HD channels (currently limited to BBC HD and ITV HD) delivered to your HD-ready TV. This method requires an externally mounted satellite receiver which you can install yourself but is best installed professionally.
The box itself is quite big compared to normal set top boxes but is no bigger than a dvd player. The unit has a nice remote which can also be programmed to use it with your TV so no need to loads of remote as this one replaces most.
Once installe you get a very good picture for all the normal freeview channels and the excellent HD quality of BBC and ITV which really is a dramatic step up. HD channels also have digital audio so films are broadcast in surround sound which is a massive plus if you have a surround sound system.
Overall the box records programs like any other and is able to record whole series easily. The box also connects to the internet and can get a basic version of BBC iplayer which works well.
The only issue i have is that the system sometimes gets the remote signal a bit after you press it so there seems to be a bit of delay but its a minor problem once you get used to it.
This system has no extra costs apart rom initially purchasing the box and dish and their installation so that is good for the package that you get. I hope in the future this joint venture from BBC and ITV gets some more HD channels.
For £130 this is an incredibly versatile and reliable model. I found it to be a touch yesteryear in appearance, but it delivers so much in terms of quality and quantity that its physical inadequacies can be easily overlooked.
The FoxSat FreeSat box is ideal for HD TVs. With dimensions of 280 x 45 x 200mm it is discreet enough to conceal around your television set, too. The box has facilities for HDMI, video RCA, scart (x2), Ethernet and USB. Video output is 1080i, 720p, 576p or 576i.
If you already own a satellite dish there is no need to invest in additional HD installation. Installation is very simple, and the instruction manual is good in that it provides detailed but not overly technical instruction on connecting the box up to your television. If you struggle with the names of various ports and cables, as I did to begin with, you may require some additional support however. Basically though, installation extends to hooking the Sky input to the back of the FoxSat box, joining the box to your television set via the HDMI cable and activating the power. The HDMI lead is included in the package, so there is no need to purchase one separately.
The box will receive around 140 channels, depending on your postcode and the strength of signal. My own box was able to receive a couple of channels to begin with, some of which later disappeared, but the major channels are all present and correct and delivered in superb image quality. For the price this level of visual excellence exceeded my expectations, with its crisp lines and sharp colours.
Set up is reasonably straightforward, and includes many prompts to guide the user through the process. I was pleased to discover that there was no lag in moving from one instruction to the next. The service was very efficient in this respect, although if you do experience problems once again the user manual is very helpful. It suggests solutions to a variety of difficulties over a number of pages, and includes useful telephone numbers so you may speak with someone directly if your problem continues.
During the installation process it takes around five minutes for the FoxSat to pick up available television and radio channels. It is capable of receiving channels between 950MHz and 2050MHz, and as well as tuning being automatic, it may also be achieved manually. I have not tried this, as I found the sheer choice of channels available to be overwhelming and thus had no cause to go off in search of others.
The box is equipped with a variety of other features, including games, an alarm clock, teletext services, audio description and one touch subtitle facilities. Navigating through channels and menus may be done via buttons on the box or via remote control. I always use the remote control for this, and find the layout and ease of use of said facility to be more than adequate. The box seems to be very sensitive to the remote control sensor, so there is no need to fire the signal directly into the sensor's line to achieve communication.
This is a fantastic product for the price, and it is so simple to install that you will hardly need to consult the manual at all. You can be using the box within about fifteen minutes of removing it from the packaging, and I have no hesitation in recommending it for its image and sound quality either.
In the back of beyond, which is the technical term for the area in which I live, television reception is a thorny issue. Well, it doesn't actually scratch my hands, but it is problematic. I moved into Nolly Towers in November 2006, and immediately saw that the existing TV aerial was not fit for purpose. Luckily the previous occupants had had satellite TV installed and I plumped for this, subscribing at first and then just picking up the free-to-view (FTV) channels.
In November 2008 I had a lucky break. I had started a new teaching job, and got my normal month's salary, but I also got paid for the last bit of supply teaching I did. I resolved to replace the humungous widescreen television that dominated the corner of my living room and so, with a bulging debit card in my wallet (well, that's what I told police that it was), I set off to buy a 32" LCD television.
As I now had a television that was HD compatible, I decided to work out what my options were. I could have re-subscribed to Uncle Rupert's television empire, paid an as yet undetermined amount per month for a selection of programmes, sports events or films that I either had no inclination to watch or had seen already, or to investigate this (then) new-fangled Freesat system.
Freesat is a digital satellite broadcaster from the same stable as Freeview. Channels broadcast by Freesat can be picked up by just replacing an existing Sky set-top box with a Freesat one. Whereas Sky viewers needs to subscribe to pick up High Definition (HD) Channels such as BBC HD and ITV1 HD, Freesat viewers can receive them without a subscription.
I trundled off to my local branch of Comet (other electrical emporia are available) and spoke to a pleasant salesperson, who showed me the Humax Foxsat-HD. He told me that it cost £149 (it is a little cheaper now) and tried to sell me an HDMI lead to connect it to my Toshiba tv. The Foxsat came with an HDMI lead in the box, so I declined his kind offer to spend more money. I paid my £149, and carried home the box to see how easy it was to install.
Basically, all you have to do is disconnect your Sky box, plug in the Foxsat, and follow the menus. On initial startup the receiver asks for your postcode, so it can see what channels are available in your area. It offered me around 130 television and 40 radio channels. Some of these I will never watch and, since the platform installed a couple of 'adult' channels, I used the menu to remove them from my Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Basically that was it and I could start viewing.
I am a very happy bunny. There is very seldom any interference or signal drop-out as I occasionally got with Sky, particularly in bad weather. I mainly watch the BBC channels (1, 2, 3, 4, News, Parliament and HD), ITV (1, 2, 3, 4 and HD), Channel 4, More 4, E4 and Film 4. There are shopping channels and the like, but they are not to my taste.
Picture quality is very good indeed, and the quality of pictures in HD is limited only by the 786p definition of my TV set.
The EPG i also easy to use, and I can 'reserve' programmes with just the press of a single button on the remote control.
Red button services are also available and easy to use although, for some reason, some of the interactivity of quizzes on BBC1 is not available.
The Foxsat HD was the first box to be given the option of using the BBC iPlayer, and installation was easy as well. The box regularly updates firmware and channels automatically in the early hours and, by connecting an ethernet cable to my wireless router, I can now catch up on programmes I have missed quickly and easily, although to watch them in high quality video I need a faster broadband connection than is available here.
As a confirmed non-fan of Sky, this box does the job for me very well. It is clear, there are a wide range of channels available and it is easy to use. HD performance is impressive as well.
If I were to have one little niggle, it would be that some channels available on Freeview are not available on Freesat, but that may change in the future.
If you want to find out more about Freesat, try http://www.freesat.co.uk
For information on upcoming changes and additions to the platform, go to http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk