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Having decided to chose freesat because of the channels unavailable on freeview, I decided to buy this model as it was the first freesat product that had the recording capabilities. When I opened the packaging, I was really pleased with the look and build quality of the box.
Plugging in the box was simple and the only input needed was the postcode in order to configure regional channels correctly. The next option is clicking next to set up the box fully.
The picture quality is fantastic when connected via HDMI. The channels are organised in a better format than sky and freeview as the channels from all broadcasters are next to each other and placed under genres in the tv guide. The range of channels include entertainment, news, music and childrens tv among others. In addition, there are also on demand features from BBC and ITV. The BBC option is well built but itv player has really poor picture quality.
Another advantage of this particular model is the well build remote control. In additon to letting you control the set top box, it also allows you to control your tv and dvd player once the product codes have been programmed. Although the remote is well built in terms of its construction, it is not the most responsive.
Overall. this box is good value for money and has a well constructed menu which makes navigation around it simplistic.
I have had my Humax freesat box for about 2 years now.
The reason I bought it was to save money and get rid of Sky, I was finding I was only watching mostly free to air channels anyway, so was a bit daft spending money on a Sky subscription each month.
The Humax Freesat box uses the same dish as my Sky box did so no need to put up a new dish, all I had to do was open the box and connect the cables, setup was very easy too, it was just a matter of entering your postcode to enable the box to download the channels for your area, such as BBC NE or BBC NW for example. It will also self update, each night whilst on standby it will check to see if any new channels have been added or moved around, if they have it will download them and be ready for you to watch without having to retune them yourself, very useful saved me having to retune when the BBC changed their channels around but my neigbour's freeview boxes did not do this so I had three TVs to retune for them! Just need to convince them to change so I get to not have to retune other people's boxes when mine takes care of itself. And no problem if you are a night owl and watching the TV at 3am when the update happens, a banner comes on your screen asking "do you want to do the update now", if you click yes, it takes all of 3 seconds then you are back watching TV again, or click no and it will just check the next night instead.
Picture and sound quality are perfect, with only the odd slight loss of picture if there is very bad weather, which is the same for all satellite boxes.
The TV menu is great to, it lists a full week ahead, just press enter on a program you want to record and it will first check to see if that program is available in HD(HD TV needed for this option), if it is it will ask you do you want to record the HD option, click either yes or no, then it will ask do you want to record just that program or all the programs in the series, so for example Coronation Street will record each new program when it is on and even if the times for that program change, it will still record them, it will record 2 programs at a time and you can also watch a program you have recorded whilst it still records those two programs, which many times I have found useful. Another good future is, it will alert you if you try and record three programs that are on at the same time or overlap, again very useful, and whats more it will check if that program is on at later time and give you the option to record that program instead, so for example you are recording Coronation Street and Eastenders and want to record a third program, it will check to see if any of those three are on at a different time, if they are it will show you the time and date and give you the option to record that one!
It also does the pause and rewind a program whilst you are watching in real time, as default each time you change channel it will start recording that program, if you want to make a cup of tea or answer the door, either pause it, it will carry on recording it, just press play when you are ready to watch again or just rewind when you return,another great future. I tend to use it if I miss something someone has said, I just rewind and listen again, great for films so you don't have to keep asking your partner what so and so just said, just irritate them instead by rewinding!
If you are considering buying one of these, stop now and take the jump, it really is free viewing, once you have bought the box that's it no more money changes hands, you can even watch BBC iplayer and ITV ondemand, this involves a wifi connection though.
== Price ==
I remember purchasing mine from eBay a couple of years ago for around £180, however it looks be more cheaper now pricing from the £109 mark.
== My Experience ==
I remember purchasing mine when sky/Virgin prices were quite high and of course required a monthly reoccurring payment which at the time just meant more unnecessary expenses. Therefore I purchased this Humax Foxsat -HDR for viewing a range of channels similar to those you would get with freeview but also with some extras channels added on (sky sports). It also offers HD viewing, recording and pausing/rewinding live TV without having to worry about those monthly payments.
The set top box is designed well and looks modern and sleek. It has nice black glossy finish that makes it perfect for placing under the TV/DVD players due its matching black colours and can be camouflaged nicely amount the rest of the home entertainment systems without taking too much room.
I personally think the size is not too big or too small, instead it fits neatly on my TV stand shelf and still allows plenty of save for other things, leaving the area looking nice a tidy.
I found the setup process very fast and simple, all that I need to do is connect the plugs and leads and then switch the power on. Once switched on it does everything automatically, all I needed to do was input my regional post code and it sets everything up for me.
Similar to the sky plus features it allows you to pause live TV, rewind back through a programme in case you want to see something again or missed a vital part. It is very handy indeed, a simple press of the rewind/pause and play button allows you full control for your viewing pleasure.
The recording of all your favourite tv shows couldn't be simpler, all you do is press tv guide button and scroll through the tv shows you wish to record and press OK. Its got 350 GB space HD so there is more than enough room to record all your favourite shows and movies in SD or HD without having to worry about running out of space. With over 100 channels you are bound to find something to record or watch, to be honest I do not watch half of them but my other family members watch many more than I do, especially the sport channels.
I love that you can record two programmes at the same time, meaning no one in my house is complaining about wanting to record shows that clash with another. You can even watch a pre-recorded show while the box records two different shows at the same time, which is genius in my opinion!
I have never had any issues where it failed to record a show or automatically deleting a show without permission, it is all very well programmed and designed.
== Conclusion ==
I would recommend this to anyone who wishes to add some digital channels without having to pay monthly subscription fees, it is very simple to use and displays both HD and SD programmes to suit viewing pleasure. All in all a great investment that I am sure you will not regret.
This is the first time I've moved away from providers like Sky and Virgin and struck out on my own, and I am so pleased to have taken the plunge. After sadly waving goodbye to my V+ box I got one of these. It isn't really £11 like it says at the top of the page - that's just for a remote! But at £240 it's about the same price as I was paying for 8 months of Virgin, so I'll be 'in profit' soon. (Note of warning - I still had the old sat-dish...)
It was a doddle to connect up - it took me about half an hour, although to be fair most of that was pulling furniture about. Once up and running it was a great relief to discover I could still pause and rewind live TV - the main reason I clung on to subscriptions for so long was I couldn't bear to go back to the bad old days of missing something if I needed a wee! 
It looks nice and unobtrusive, and I don't pay for any extra channels, so now it's bought it's free. And that's about it.
If you want to carry on getting a lot of the usual services and channels you're used to from Sky and Virgin, but you want to stop shelling out the cash for them every months, and if like me you aren't particularly techie, just want something easy to set up and simple to use, then this ticks all the boxes. Enjoy.
With Freeview unavailable in my area and my unwillingness to pay a premium for content from sky, i had little other option than to buy a Freesat box. After much research and trepidation the general consensus seemed to be that a Humax Foxsat HDR set top box would meet my needs better than any other box.
After paying £200 for a box (a bargain in my opinion), I set to work installing it straight away. The previous owners had kindly left a satellite dish up with two cables running into my living room, so it was just a matter of plugging the two cables into the back, typing in my postcode and letting the box do its work. A word of warning, there are three holes in the back of the box. Choose the right two! it is clearly detailed in the manual.
Once scanned and completed, I proceeded to plug the box into the internet using an ethernet cable. All simple enough. Quite frankly, I was blown away by the image clarity, as was my other half. the HD pictures are amazingly detailed, although there are only three channels at the moment - BBC1 HD, BBC HD and ITV1 HD. I have heard rumours that Channel 4 HD will soon be added to the fold.
The picture quality on the BBC iPlayer is also immense. A quick trick for anyone who owns this box - going to channel 999, wait a moment then press Green Green Blue Green Green, wait a moment longer and press the red button and voilà, you will be granted access to ITV Player!
With regards to the menus, I find them easy to use. It is easy to record individual programmes, record series' and delete programmes after watching.
An interesting feature is the 'move' option. I record a lot of films, so I created a new folder and moved all my films into this to prevent cluttering up the recorded items page! Other features include the ability to transfer recorded programmes to a USB stick and the ability to transfer your music and films onto the box. Another excellent, and very cleer feature, is that due to the way signals are received by the box, even when you are recording two channels at once you can sometimes watch another channel too! You can always watch a recorded programme when two channels are being recorded at once.
I have found that recording space is plenty enough with the 320 GB version. I currently have at least 15 films waiting to be watched, with several HD series being recorded all the time, and I have not been over 50% yet.
All in all, you really do get what you pay for. If you are sitting on the fence and considering a cheaper alternative, don't. I waited nearly a year before buying this, hoping it would drop in price. It didn't drop much, primarily because the demand is there.
One of the best purchases I have made.
When my finance and I moved into our first flat together almost two years ago, we had a dilemma - What should we do for TV? I had become used to the Humax 9200, which was the "Rolls Royce" of freeview recorders at the time, but there was a strong temptation to go for Sky, get the HD content, a few more channels and so on. If it weren't for the high cost of Sky, that's probably what we would have done. When we stumbled across the FoxSat HDR one day, it was clear that there was a "best of both" solution. The FoxSat offers you a wider range of channels, HD broadcasts and Sky+ style recording, but without a monthly subscription. Ideal.
On first impressions, the unit is very impressive - it seems well put together and has a lovely blue-tinted gloss front that looks really quite smart (imagine it would look brilliant next to a bluray player in a similar style). It has a good variety of connectivity options, HDMI, digital audio out etc and the unit is a little slimmer than the 9200 I was used to.
On powering the thing up, setup is equally impressive - it asks your postcode and loads up the correct regional variations for you then off you go. It really couldn't get much simpler.
The pictures on the FoxSat are great - the low-def channels look pretty good, but naturally the HD pictures are those that really impress. At the time of writing the FoxSat gives you access to BBC HD, BBC ONE HD and ITV HD only, but there's a good variety of HD content, especially for sport - with football, rugby and (as of this season) Formula One all available in HD on one channel or another. The sound is good, if not exceptional - put through a decent amp and speakers it falls short of DVD standard audio, but is certainly better than most set-top boxes.
Using the FoxSat as a recorder is when the genius really starts - it's just so easy. Press the "guide" button and you will see a list of everything that's showing on each channel for the next week...Simply scroll through until you see something you want to record and press OK. It will ask you whether you want to record the single show, or all of the episodes in the series, then it will ask you (if applicable) whether you want to record the HD or standard definition versions of the show - and that's it done. No faffing around with timers, no reading off long Video+ codes, just a couple of presses and you're done. In fact, it's simple enough that my mum, who would never have even attempted to program the VHS to record shows is quite happy to set things on series link on her FoxSat without a second thought.
Once recorded, shows end up in a well organised screen (grouped by show) from which you simply select the program you wish to view. You can choose to begin watching from the start, where you left off (if you've played then stopped the show before) or, overnight, images are downloaded for "chapters" that you can select - you can also add these easily yourself using the bookmark functions. Once you're done watching, it's a couple of button presses to delete the show and you're off. This stops the unit from becoming full - but with 320GB on board, you're afforded plenty of space even when recording HD content. We've several whole series of our favourite shows saved, plus around 40 things we're "working on" watching and we're still hovering around the 60% mark.
The FoxSat has the ability to record two programs at once if your Satellite Dish is fitted with a dual LNB or better - ie it has two or more cables coming from it. You can also watch a third, recorded, show whilst the other two are recording. As well as conventional recording, the recorder can be used to "timeshift" or "pause" live TV, which is really useful if someone calls at a good bit in a film, or if you want to step out to put the kettle on.
In playback, there are handy advert skip buttons which jump you forward or back a set amount of time in the recording - this is much quicker for skipping through adverts than using the conventional fast forward and rewind buttons that are also provided.
The advantages of having a FoxSat in your life, for me, well justify the cost of the thing (around £280 when I bought it, now available for £230ish). You'll never need to watch adverts again, you'll never have to miss your favourite shows again, you'll never miss the only goal while you're out getting another beer - and you'll get to enjoy great high-def pictures for free.
There are certainly a couple of "quirks" of the FoxSat, small things, like sometimes when you bring up the guide the show you're watching will keep playing in the background, other times it will go and they'll just be a gray background. There are workarounds, though, for this and the rest of FoxSat's quirks - and in time you just start to view it as "that's just the way it works" - so I don't feel these excentricities justify robbing the FoxSat HDR of it's most deserved 5 star rating.
When my parents bought themselves a Humax HDR Freesat Box, I was not too far behind with purchasing my own! With 320GB hard drive, the Humax box can store approx 150 hours worh of Standard definition TV (about half as much when recording in HD) and can record 2 channels at the same time. The Humax box was extremelly easy to set up, with easy to follow instructions. The box scans periodically to ensure that any new channels are added. Once the box was connected to a HD TV, the HD channels were added instantly. The Humax box allows you to record a single programme, or record a series of programmes, storing them in internal folders in the Media section. Advantages of the Humax box include: Picture quality is good- on my old standard TV and more recently on my HD LCD TV. Ability to connect a flash drive for copying to and from external media You are able to connect a USB, to listen to music/ watch any files stored on a USB Drive. Ability to store and play back mp3 and jpeg files (kept in separate areas of the disk from TV progs.) Buttons for skip forward and back during playback and live TV can be paused/ rewound No monthly subscription to pay!
After buying my own house, I had a need for decent TV and as the house already had a sattelite dish installed I was left with two real options Sky or Freesat. When I considered the financial implications of them both, the Freesat option seeemed like a no brainer; yes a higher initial outlay, but that's it. Looking at the options available for a set top box, I quickly realised that the 320gb Humax box was ideal for my needs; it had full HD output for the admittedly small but increasing number of HD channels on it and it supported full 1080p recording. The hard drive capacity has proven to be adequate, but without some discipline it can prove smaller than you think. The playback of recorded programs has on three occasions proved unreliable, which was annoying, but considering the amount I record, it is a fairly low failure rate. Also, when recording programs or watching another while recording, the multiplex program can rear its ugly head. For non-techies this is essentially where programs are broadcast in two chunks and only one chunk can be view at once, again this isn't two much of a common problem in my case and there are ways around it using alternate channels. The full 1080p output is stunning through a good TV (mine is a Sony Bravia), it is important to tweak the settings to ensure it is outputting full HD though. A novel feature is the ethernet port on the back of the set, so that it can link up to an internet router and recieve BBC iPlayer, in this case I would have prefered a WiFi option, however linking it up is worth while. The interface is fairly slow on iPlayer, but this seems a common feature amongst iPlayer apps on devices. The build quality is solid and the remotes has taken several knocks and not made a blind bit of difference to it.
If, like me, you begrudge paying monthly for the recording features a Sky+ box offers and have suffered unreliability issues with budget PVR/DVR alternatives such as Thomson, this piece of kit could be what you're looking for.
Manufactured by the daddy of the PVR/DVR market Humax, the Foxsat HDR Freesat HD Receiver with Hard Drive reinforces the maxim 'you get what you pay for'. It may cost you twice as much as some of its contemporaries, but it does what it should with minimal fuss. All with a TWO year warranty for added peace of mind.
Freesat offers all the free to air channels available through Freeview and a number of additional ones - all accessible through a satellite dish, which usually means fewer reception issues than with your rooftop aerial.
It is easy to connect your existing satellite dish to - if you had two incoming cables for Sky+ you will benefit from twin tuners and be able to record two things at once - and the setup program is dummy proof. Bear in mind though that if you haven't already got a satellite dish, there will be the additional expense of obtaining one and having it installed.
The box offers all the useful recording features that Sky+ does - Series Link, Live Pause/Rewind, time split recordings etc, with some extras such as the USB port that enables the User to import music/photos and export recordings. An added bonus is that you also get the chance to experience HD without a subscription, THREE HD channels currently available free of charge.
I have been using my unit for 6 months now and there have been no reset/recovery issues to contend with. It hasn't missed any recordings, other than scheduling contentions that have been my fault, and there have been none of the picure/sound glitching sometimes associated with this type of device.
That is not to say there aren't some annoyances though. I haven't used a PVR yet that hasn't malfunctioned when catching up with the live broadcast during time shifted playback. This one throws you back to the library, leaving you scrabbling for the right button on the remote to access the live channel before you miss anything. The remote control itself can also be annoying, as it doesn't seem to be very responsive. It often requires more than one press of a button and some posture contortion to exaggeratedly point at the sensor, before a command is accepted. An 8x rewind/FF option would be useful, as 4x is too slow and 16x too fast, but now I'm being picky.
All in all, a very reliable and easy to use piece of kit, which I couldn't recommend more.
* I have also written this review on Ciao
Struggling on and off for many months with the dreaded "bad or no signal" from my ariel and being unable face yet another foray into the attic to mess with the co-ax (or pay somebody else to), I plumped for the FOXSAT-HDR to sort it once and for all. Freeview HD was not an option because of the aforementioned signal issues so a dish was the way to go. I chose this unit as I'd happily owned two Humax boxes (latterly the excellent PVR9300T) previously and heard great things about this one too. For the un-initiated this Humax is a Freesat receiver (so requires a satellite dish) that is capable of receiving HD broadcasts and also recording/pausing/rewinding live TV. It's Sky+ HD basically, without the subscription (and Sky channels of course though). If you already have a Sky dish then you can use that with twin LNB cables. For more info see the Freesat website.
Normally I buy most of my electricals from amazon as their prices and service are excellent however in this case I went to Comet as they offer a dish installation service for £99 which compared very favourably with quotes from local ariel companies. The box cost me £225 (Sept 2010) which is still a ball park figure, and I reserved and collected online which gained me £6.75 cashback via Quidco. I was called the following day by a local installer who installed the dish the day after - great service.
Setup of the box itself is very straight forward once cabled up; just enter your post code in the wizard and let the channels download (very quickly it must be said) before choosing your screen resolution (1080i for HD TV's). It's worth noting here that it comes with both a SCART and basic HDMI lead but cable nerds may want to provide their own. I was very impressed by the graphics of the menus - they look very bright and modern at the highest resolution and give out clear information. The colour buttons are also used to good effect throughout. The TV guide is easy to use with a good search facility and when you find the programme you want, just hit OK to set it to record. You are then prompted for series link (if applicable) and the choice of SD (useful if you're low on disk space) or HD recording if available. This is a great feature and easy to use.
This box does let itself down however with some menus which are a bit of an acquired skill and would give your nan a coronary trying to work out. Despite being a Humax PVR veteran, it took me a while to work out how to easily playback and delete recorded programmes (I don't do manuals) and my advice would be to change the "Media" page from "simple" to "list" using the Opt+ button which improves clarity greatly IMO. A recorded TV series is helpfully put in it's own folder which you have to open to find the correct episode but they are are helpfully dated. The Media page (recorded programmes basically) is a bit Windows 95 and as mentioned, stores series in their own named folders and whilst quite a tidy feature, again it's not particularly user-friendly for the non-techie at first. The remote is sleek and smart and not too complicated but the playback buttons are a bit crowded for my liking. A new feature amongst many is the screensaver which comes on if you leave a prog paused for more than a minute or so - this could be invaluable to plasma TV owners.
Picture wise though, this unit has impressed me immensely. No glitches, pauses or pixels and the HD channels are absolutely superb - clear and bright and eye-wateringly detailed. Sometimes they are so sharp I hit the "theatre" button on my Bravia remote to soften them slightly. I was also impressed by the improvement in the sound of the HD channels which are broadcast in Dolby Digital and it shows. They rock, basically. Feature films shown over Christmas became an event rather than something to pass the time. I even watched Harry Potter...
The BBC HD and ITV HD channels offer a smorgasbord of programmes from their daily schedule but BBC One HD has launched recently on channel 109 with (mostly) the same schedule in HD (or upscaled HD) which is a bonus. Channel 4 HD is due in the spring 2011. The exact programmes you receive depend on your area but there is nowhere near as much HD content as there is on Sky right now (you get what you pay for, basically). On the subject of channels, they are slightly different from Freeview with no Dave for example but you get plenty of (mediocre) movie channels and the wonderfully named Filth which is a gardening channel I believe ;o)
You can now connect the Humax to your broadband router (with an ethernet cable) for BBC iPlayer and ITV Player (soon) also if you so desire. Should you wish you can also copy music and photos to it's own partition on the hard disk but if you can see yourself not using this facility then it may be an idea to format the disk so all the space is available for TV. As mentioned, HD recorded programmes take up a lot more space than SD ones but a percentage figure in the Media page keeps you informed of disk space remaining. If you're a heavy user, the 500Gb model may be a better option or if you're a techie you could upgrade the disk yourself I'm sure which may be more econmical.
Overall, this is a fantastic bit of kit and decent value at just over two hundred pounds (plus dish installation costs if required). It's sorted my signal problems, delivered HD in all it's glory to chez Pete and menu issues aside, I'm luvvin' it :o)
Easy to set up
USB port for moving media (TV programmes or music/photos etc to you and me)
Proven brand in this area
Menus take a bit of getting used to
No picture in picture feature
Satelitte dish required
Not a great deal of HD content
Failed after 6 months
** ITEM BROKE DOWN AT EASTER BUT CREDIT TO COMET WHO REPLACED IT QUIBBLE FREE ON A BANK HOLIDAY. DOWNGRADED RATING TO REFLECT THIS**
The box is black and sleek to look at - which fits in nicely with any TV/DVD player etc. The remote control is the same - but does show up fingerprints on the shiny areas! Lots of functions on the remote control - but it is easy to use.
I have never been a Sky or Virgin customer and so the idea of pausing or rewinding live TV was completely novel to me! Now, this might sound a little strong, but it has been life changing - in that it simply makes life so much easier! You can pause it to nip out the room to do something, and you won't miss a thing. You can also rewind in case you missed something - perhaps the phone rang or somebody was talking over the TV.
The only issue I have with this (and it only does it occassionally) is that sometimes if you are watching behind real time, it will skip to the end of the programme as it finishes in real time. Although you can rewind back to where you were - this is just annoying and even worse if it skips to the climax of the programme!!
You get a great range of channels with this, although you don't get certain channels that you would do with Freeview (Dave, Fiver, Yesterday to name a few) and you don't get subscription channels (for example UK Gold, Sky Sports etc). I also find that although there are hundreds of channels available, a lot of them are foreign or adult channels.
The box records 160 hours of SD programmes or 80 hours of HD. I have found this to be plenty - but would advise you to keep deleting programmes as if it gets too near capacity it will sporadically stop recording. You can record to programmes at the same time, or you can watch one and record another. You can also watch a pre-recorded programme whilst recording two. All very handy :)
I had a few problems with it randomly not recording (even though not near full capacity). I have no idea why this happens - but only has happened a few times. If anything, I would like it to be able to store more especially over Christmas time - but I have read on another review that you can plug in a USB to the box and store the programmes you want to keep externally - allowing you to have more space for the programmes you want to just record, watch and delete. I have so far been unable to do this as can't work out how to transfer from HDR box to USB, and instruction manual doesn't seem to help - but it is something I shall look into online now I know it is possible (and will update here)
All in all, I would certainly recommend. After the initial purchase of the box, you will incur no further costs and so for me it is a cheaper and just as good as alternative to Sky!
Satellite HD Digital Television Recorder
~~Why did I buy it?~~
I have had various recording devices, including videos, a DVD player/recorder, & a freeview with hard drive & DVD recorder which was excellent when it was working but was so unreliable it went back within the first year & was considered unrepairable.
As my area was changed to Digital in May 2009 & my TV then was analogue I struggled with a small freeview box for a few months then decided to buy something worthwhile for all jobs required.
One of the reasons for choosing Satellite was that I thought the reception would be better when not having to come through an aerial. Actually now we have Freeview HD TV, I realise that the Freeview reception is perfect (our aerial is in the loft so not affected by wind etc), whereas the satellite signal often comes up with a banner saying 'no or bad signal' & the picture breaks up a bit briefly when it is windy or snowy.
I chose the FreeSat mainly as at the time it was the only way to record & receive in HD.
As I didn't have an HD ready TV, this put me in the unusual position of being able to receive HD but not to view it! Mostly people have an HD ready TV and no way of receiving HD unless they have Sky+HD box.
Now there is a Freeview HD Box, but not as yet an HDR.
I have since purchased a new TV which is actually HD reception through Freeview, not just HD ready, so I now have everything as we are in the area to be able to receive HD Freeview.
There are not a lot of channels broadcasting on HD at the moment but we can now receive channel 4 HD as well as ITV & BBC.
Only drawback to that is I can now see everyones wrinkles & spots etc! Every little blemish shows up! But on the plus side of that, you can even see the blades of grass on the HD picture!
~~Where did I buy it?~~
I purchased it from Richer Sounds, as that is our retailer of choice for these kinds of things. They have one price in the shop & another on their website. If you arrive at the shop & quote the price you have seen on their website they will match it. They also claim to match any price you have seen on any other website as long as the item is in stock etc. Also, Richer Sounds insurance is an exceptional one in that it is cheaper than everyone else is plus if at the end of 5 years you have made no claims on it, then you apply for a full refund.
The cost of this Humax model now is £229.95 from Richer Sounds
Or £266.99 from Amazon
~Description, setting up & appearance~
The box is white background with blue pink & various bits of other colour & tells us it contains
Humax Easy Digital
HD digital TV recorder
Satellite HD Digital Television Recorder
Twin Tuner HD Recorder
Freesat HD and SD channel recording
Simultaneous viewing of one channel whilst recording another channel
Ability to pause and rewind live TV
Massive 320GB HDD
One touch recording
DOLBY digital plus
DV3 (Digital Video Broadcasting)
Digital mark approved product
Lots of other things down the sides of the box which I will describe as we go along.
The picture on the box shows the appliance as having a swathe of blue across it, but in actual fact it hasn't got this. I got the impression from reading reviews in different places, that the front is either blue or lights up with a lot of blue light. Disappointingly this is not the case - as I have a thing about blue lights!
The Humax box is attractive. Smaller than I expected (Actual size 38cms wide a 5cms high) in black, with a blue light about 2 inches long (not round) for when the appliance is turned on & a red light which takes the place of the blue one when it is turned off (this is actually in standby so that it receives the TV guide & any software).
The appliance is well protected inside the cardboard box with polystyrene packing & polythene bag etc. You will find quite a few leads, instruction book, warranty, remote control etc.
HDMI lead is included, but you will need various satellite cables & connectors & of course a satellite dish if you do not already have one. If you have previously had SKY you will already have most of what you need, otherwise dishes & cables etc can be bought very reasonably on eBay. It's a very easy job to install the dish & cables etc if you or anyone in your household is fairly handy.
We previously had SKY about ten years ago but not SKY+. This means that we had a single cable set up. After going up the ladder to look at the old Sky dish, my son deemed it still in working condition although a bit rusty! He then set about connecting the leads that came into the house with the new leads & connectors & into the back of the box & so to the TV.
The instruction booklet tells you that you will need twin cables as this has a twin tuner. As this would necessitate buying a new dish & double or quad LNB in my case, we just wanted to get it fixed up quickly the same night we had brought it home from the shop, as a temporary measure. Instructions are shown of how to set up a loop through system with a bit of extra cable, so that you can use just one cable from the dish set up which is what we did. I fully intended to buy the necessary extra equipment to do the job properly, but as my son never seemed to find the time to either order the stuff or to come & do it for me, I continued to use the loop system (more on that later).
~~Experience of use~~
The booklet tells you how to do the first installation, basic operation, etc.
You can set at various resolutions. When we had the old analogue TV we just had the Humax set at 576i but now we have the big LED HD TV we have changed the Humax to 1080i which gives really great results.
There are two ways of channel detection/tuning
We tried the one which found over 400 channels! Most of these however were channels we would never be interested in.
Also, we found there are various things you cannot do if you have manually downloaded the channels, mainly to do with recording the easy way using the programme guide. I can't remember as it was a long time ago, but I think they may not have appeared on the programme guide either.
We then scrapped all of those channels & started again using the postcode method which is very simple & self explanatory. You put your Postcode in when it tells you & it automatically finds the channels for you. These will be the most popular that it seems able to find & is much better than the manual method. Unfortunately there are lots of channels which I would like to have & that I can find on Freeview, but they are not available on this satellite system which means you can watch them if you have Freeview TV, but are not able to record them unless you have additional means of recording.
You can do software updates by pressing the menu button. There are auto software updates & I also receive emails from Humax telling me about new updates. Occasionally when you switch the box on you will see a pop-up message inviting you to add new channels or delete old ones.
There is a media list of things you can do such as Video, Radio, Music, and Photo.
You can record of course, even record radio, and store your music and photos.
I tried a Thomson box a couple of years ago & it was so noisy I couldn't live with it. Everyone that came into the room remarked on it. It was just the same in standby & could only be quietened by turning off at the wall so of course the programme guide couldn't load. It went back to the shop for a refund & they were not surprised!
After this experience I made enquiries of everything I looked at as to whether it was quiet or not.
I am delighted that this Humax box is as near to silent as it's possible to get.
There are so many settings, parental controls, ethernet port, subtitles, auto turn on & off, as well many more and varied functions & I would be here all day describing them & you reading them, but if you are seriously interested you can find most if you look up the model online. I have outlined the most important features & my experience of using this Humax box which will give you a good idea & I think you will find useful if you are thinking of buying one.
The ON/OFF button shows as red when not in use. By not in use, I mean you are not watching anything. If you are recording, it will still show as red unless you are watching as well.
It is easy to watch TV through this box. In fact I rarely watch straight from the TV, as with this Humax box you can pause & rewind.
You are able to use two channels. i.e. you can watch one & record another, or you can record two at the same time. There is also the ability to watch a programme you have recorded while recording another two.
I thought I would not be able to do any of this while using the loop through method but I was wrong. At first I found there were certain channels which would not work while another was in use, thus I could only watch or record one channel. After trying out various things I made a great discovery. Now this is a bit technical & I'm afraid I can't remember the terminology, but basically, various channels run on the same or different wavelength or some such thing. This is how I discovered you have to be a bit selective in order to achieve certain things if you have not got the twin tuner double cable & LNB set up.
I found that if I had set recording for example on ITV1 West Country, it would not allow me to record or watch BBC 1 West Country at the same time. But with trial & error I discovered that if I set the BBC programme to BBC1 Scotland which doesn't make any difference if you are watching Eastenders (but may do if you want to watch the local news of course) I could record both ITV & BBC at the same time! Or you can record BBC1 West Country & watch or record ITV1 London at the same time. Clever eh?
This means that even with my single cable loop through, I can watch or record nearly everything I choose by fiddling around with either HD or the different regions. There have been very few occasions when I have wanted channels where this has not worked & in those cases I have looked up when one of the programmes will be shown next (easy to do) & set the recorder for that time. If there are two programmes you are recording & you want to record Eastenders as well, you can record it at 10pm on BBC Three for example. If you want to watch a third programme while you are recording two other programmes you can always use the Freeview on the TV at the same time & leave the Humax box to do its own thing with recording the other two programmes.
I have now decided there is little point in buying & fixing all the extra equipment as I may be moving anyway.
This also means that if you live in a block of apartments where you can plug in satellite/Sky into a fixed wall socket (most were built & set up/put into the walls of the building before the advent of SKY+ so won't be twin cables) it is unlikely you will be able to have twin tuner set up to the older communal dish, but you will be able to manage by the means I have described.
There is a display box on the front which lights up & shows symbols for various things. While recording is taking place but you are not watching anything, the display box will show the time & a symbol which shows you it is recording. If you turn the box on to watch a programme live, it will display the channel you are watching. If you are watching a recorded programme it will display the name of the programme. Both very useful & something you don't get with Sky+.
When everything is off, the lighted display is off. You can also set it to a low power consumption, which uses less than 1W when in standby.
There is time shift facility. Curiously in the index it calls it Time shifted recording & playback. I find this a bit confusing. I know that in order to be able to time shift, pause & rewind, it has to record all the time on a buffer, but you are not able to record the time shifted section. If you try to start a recording from the place you are watching, if it has been time shifted a pop up message will come up to tell you there is a choice of either continuing to watch from that point or moving to real time to record.
The programme guide covers eight days & you can press the info button to see all about any programme you may be interested in. Just press the record button if you would like to record any programme during that 8 days.
One of the most useful features is the Series Link. This means that when you find a programme you either regularly watch or want to record the series of say 6 documentaries or dramas, when you press record it will ask if you want to record one programme or record the whole series. So if you like Casualty say, you set it to record the whole series, it then will record every episode of Casualty for you. If you are out & have forgotten it's on, then you will come home to find it's recorded for you. It is also very clever in that it knows if the programme has been moved. So if there is a sporting event on & Casualty is on later or if that week Casualty is on Saturday & Sunday for a double story, it will record both episodes as & when they are broadcast.
All series link programmes are automatically put into a file labelled with the name of the programme. So if you have not got around to watching Casualty for a few weeks, you just go to the file named Casualty & you will find all episodes. You can sort your recorded programmes using several different options. There is Time, date, or channel number. The whole list of recorded programmes is listed in alphabetical order then the files with series linked programmes come into this alphabetical order but you click into the file & the programmes will be sorted according to your choice i.e. if there are 6 programmes in the file, I will have chosen that they be displayed in date recorded order. Under all of these series link files is a list of one off recordings.
Incidentally I have never missed the start or ending of a recorded programme. But you can select start & end times if you wish.
The remote control is in piano black, glossy & smart. Some people have complained that this shows all the finger marks but I have not found that it does. I think the remote control could be improved by having a lit up facility as my TV does, as often I am trying to find the right buttons before I have turned the lamp on in the room. It does everything else that's necessary and is easy to use.
Most functions are self explanatory using the remote control, but a few are not easy to work out & the instruction book leaves a lot to be desired with some things. In fact there are things I have only found out how to do by looking up reviews & comments left by users on Humax & other sites. I have printed out some of these & keep with the book so if I need to do something that I haven't done for a long time I can look it up easily.
One of these things concerns File Manager. You can move recorded programmes around in & out of different files & you can create new files. The book doesn't tell you how to do this but someone has worked it out & posted it on the Amazon site which makes it very clear. I won't put it here as it's of no interest unless you have the box & are trying to do it!
Humax do have a good Customer Service team. If you phone or email them with something you can't find in the instruction book they will answer & tell you how to do it.
The volume control has also been criticised by some & I can see why, although it is OK most of the time. It doesn't seem to work with the TV volume as you would expect. Some programmes you feel you would like to be a bit louder yet you are on the maximum volume. If you turn up the TV volume sometimes it works, but it's not easy getting the two to work in unison to give the desired effect! If you have an HD channel on or have recorded one, it is much louder than the other channels so you end up turning it down, but that's not the fault of Humax. I do have a surround sound system which I believe works really well with HD, but have not managed to set it up properly yet with the box.
There is a mute button on the remote control which I find handy if I am on the phone.
You can look up a list to show which programmes are scheduled to record. If some are on series link it will only show the next actual episode to be broadcast, but after that one has recorded it then shows the next & so on.
While on that page, you can press the blue button which will enable you to 'find' different showings of certain programmes, either repeats or the next episode. This can be very useful if you have missed a programme or want to set the recorder for the next one.
I recently had the first bit of trouble I have encountered since owning the box from last Christmas. Things were not always recording & a few other things were not quite right.
I phoned Humax Customer Services who will send someone out to you if there is a fault that needs fixing so that you don't have to parcel it up & send it to them. I think that's a good service. Anyway, I told them what was wrong & they suggested I do a factory reset. It tells you how to do this in the book. It was even easy enough for me to do without calling on my son! It did the trick & all was well afterwards. I shall remember to try that in future before I phone for assistance if anything goes wrong.
If you record films (or any programme) that you may want to keep & store, you can plug a USB pen into the front of the Humax & transfer to this, then onto your computer, then onto a blank DVD.
There is an advertisement campaign on TV at the moment for Freesat. My comments on it would be as follows:
Yes it is free once you have bought the box, & works exactly the same as SKY plus which can run away with you in monthly costs.
BUT although they say it receives hundreds of channels, which it does if you manually search, they are mostly foreign or adult ones, but it does not record the easy way if you have done this, as I have already mentioned.
If you auto search/tune the channels using the Postcode method, you will find there are quite a lot of popular channels missing that you would get on Freeview. Off hand I can think of Sky Three, Yesterday, Dave, Virgin 1, Fiver, and Sky News. There are quite a few others that you might regularly watch on Freeview or Sky that can't be got on free Satellite. You do get a few foreign & adult channels but not nearly as many as with manual search. With radio stations, you can't get the local ones unless they are BBC.
The picture quality is superb, razor sharp outlines & excellent colour, when used with an excellent new TV of course, although it wasn't bad with our old analogue TV.
I would thoroughly recommend it.
Update 19/3/2012 - I have now moved into an apartment & the communal dish & wiring is only set up for Sky pre Sky plus, so only one cable again. I am still finding I can manage by jiggling which region I am watching to a certain extent. Although not perfect I manage with this.
I am finding that it's supposed to start automatically when a programme starts & ends, but recently this is not happening if a programme starts late for example, it cuts off the end. I have set the end time to always be one minute longer but the beginning alwats starts early as well. I think I need to reset the factory setting which usually sorts out most faults.
Would still thoroughly recommend this, but for my own circumstances I would buy the same make Humax but a Freeview+ model next time. Would also go for 500GB rather than 320GB which I find not quite big enough.
Over a year ago we decided that as most of the channels we were watching on sky we could get through freesat, we cancelled sky and bought this box as you only pay for the box itself and there are no monthly fees. It has everything you need to set it up and it was so easy that the wife did it whilst I was at work, using the existing cables already attached to the satellite we had with sky.
The box itself is easy to use and you can watch a channel whilst recording another or record two channels and watch something you have already recorded. If you decide to record one of the soaps and go through the channel guide (press ok on the programme and not the record button) you can record the whole series so no more missed soaps!
We did have to set the recordings so that it starts 3 minutes before the programme and carries on for 3 minutes once the programme has finished as we found that sometimes the endings could be missing from the recording.
We do find that when the batteries have started to get old that the remote control doesn't respond very well and it can get quite frustrating. The picture itself is very good and at the moment there are two HD channels and the box will let you know if there are any updates etc to any channels.
Overall I have been really pleased with this box and having been using this now for over a year I think it is a great if not better alternative to sky, I would recommend it to anyone.
We bought this box instead of Sky as it was a one off payment for free satellite TV including high definition channels. We had it installed by a company and it did look slightly complicating, so I'd recommend having it installed by others and not bothering to try yourself.
I think it's a great box but at the price of £122 on Amazon.co.uk at the moment, I still think it's a bit too expensive. Our box came with a remote too, which is black and matches the box and full of functions. The box is quite useful as you can watch TV as well as record programmes and view high definition channels. The quality of television received to this box is said to be up to 5 times more detailed than standard satellite television, which is quite impressive and I would have to agree that the picture is usually great. The high definition channels look especially great on our Sony HD TV.
The box came with all the necessary cables needed as well as the remote and batteries (2 AAA). The box switches on if you press the power button on the box, or you can use the standby function of the remote. When you switch it on, the Humax logo initially shows on a fancy background before it goes black and searches for satellite signal. Once found, it will start playing the channel you last left it on as well as displaying this in blue writing on the screen across the front. The screen is quite fancy and takes up a centre portion of the glass cover along the front of the box. It will display the name of the channel rather than the number or something else, which is useful.
The one problem I soon found with the kit is that the box is extremely unresponsive to the remote. You'd expect the buttons you press to be picked up almost immediately by the box, but sometimes we have second delays! Then if you are trying to scroll down, it'll suddenly zoom down through the menu. You always have to take it slowly and not press too fast as it simply doesn't register all your button-pressing! This is quite a fallback with the remote, although it may be a problem on the box's behalf.
The menu shows all the channels in chronological order, listed pretty much the same as on a Sky Box but you can only see the channels you get, so you don't have to go through loads of pointless channels you can't get. You can search for more channels and also listen to radio through the box. The recording function is excellent as you can record television on one channel simultaneously to viewing another channel. You can also record two things on different channels at the same time.
It's not that easy to use at first - it takes some getting used to. The delay between pressing buttons on the remote and getting a response will always annoy me! The channels are great though and you get a good range. The HD channels such as ITV HD and BBC HD are great to watch. The general quality of the television seems better than the other one we have without the box. Overall, I'd say it was worth buying as we get a lot of use out of it, but for over £200, I'd say to think twice before rushing out and buying one. You may have to pay for installation costs too unless you can do it yourself.
Thanks for reading!
In April 2009 I bought a set of LG HD TV and really enjoyed it. As I wrote on my review about the TV the picture and the sound were very good. However I was told I can't watch HD programs without a HD receiver. After some serious search on internet I decided to give Humax Foxsat-HDR a go. Now after using Humax Foxsat-HDR for one year I think I can write a review about it.
About Humax Foxsat HDR:
Humax is an electronics company which was founded in South Korea in 1989. It manufactures set-top boxes, digital video recorders, televisions and other consumer electronics. As one of the world's leading digital satellite set-top box manufacturers, it exports products to more than 90 countries across the globe. The Humax Foxsat HDR is a digital box that allows you to pick up HD Freesat TV and record programmes straight to a hard drive.
The product comes packaged in a cardboard box. The device is very well wrapped in a thin poly bag with one User's Manual and one Quick start guide, RCA, SCART and HDMI cables, 2 batteries and a remote control.
The device is about a laptop size in pure black colour. There is a small semi-transparent front panel in the centre that shows which function of the device is on: standby, TV or radio. Next to it there are few buttons: standby button, TV/Radio button, Arrow button(changes the channel or moves the cursor up, down, left or right), Ok button(selects a menu or confirms the selected operation), Menu button(displays the main menu) and Guide button(displays the programme guide).
The rear panel includes: LNB IN port for connecting a satellite antenna cable; TV SCART for connecting to the TV using a TV SCART cable; VCR SCART for connecting to the VCR or DVD; HDMI for connecting to the TV; USB port for connecting to the USB memory and transfer of recordings, etc. There is a CI module slot on the right of the device for applying channels that require a subscription.
Connections and settings:
Connecting these cables is very easy and basic. First you need to connect the LNB IN to your satellite dish, then you need to connect the device to the TV using the HDMI cable and then connect the power cable. For the first time you need to set a few configuration items such as language, screen ratio/resolution, you also need to enter your postcode. Next the device will detect what type of service you can receive and search for channels.
After your TV enters an HDMI interface of free Satellite TV you can use the remote control to change channels. There are 3 ways for that. One way is using the up/down button; Second way is typing the channel number; Last way is navigating the electronic programme guide and selecting a channel. By the way the remote control comes with the standard features so you don't need spend time on learning it. There are many features providing by the remote. I will not list all of them, but just mention the electronic programme guide(EPG) as an example. First you press the 'GUIDE' button to enter into the EPG, then you press up/down keys to the different channels either for watch or record. With the EPG you can list programs by channel or have a look a list of programmes per channel. There are four interactive buttons (red, green, yellow and blue) to use.
I paid £280 for the device from Argos on line and collected it at my local Argos shop. At beginning I was worried if it was worthy the money or not. I thought it's ridiculous because the price was almost half of the TV set I paid. However after having it I do enjoy the new experience the device brought. The pictures are a lot cleaner than before without the device. The channels I get are huge beyond my expectation to be honest. Last but not least it also gave me more freedom to record the programs I missed or want to keep for later watch.
Although only BBC HD and ITV HD are available on Freesat currently, sometimes the HD signals are not stable, I still want to recommend the product because it works very well and brings a big fabulous world in my life.