Product Type: Humax set top boxes
Newest Review: ... The older boxes are simply not able to deal with 100 plus channels on their chipsets. Humax have spent a lot of money firing out on air... more
Humax 9150 freeview + box, a much cheaper alternative to sky plus!
Member Name: karlsm93
Advantages: A cheaper alternative to sky plus. REcords a programme whilst you watch another, pauses live tv
Disadvantages: Slightly slow programme guide
Upon buying a new TV during the Christmas, we also decided to splash out on a freeview + box as well. Now, my husband is in no way technical either, and so we knew we needed some advice about freeview + boxes in general and what we should be looking for. Not far from our house is a very reputable local trader who we have bought from previously and whose advice we trust, and it was through that company that we discovered tha Humax, a previously unknown company to us, were one of the biggest sellers when it came to freeview + boxes. He explained that for what we were looking for (which was the basics: suh as wanting to record a programme whilst out or busy and recording one programme whilst watching another), the more basic of the humax boxes, namely the one we ended up buying would be suitable, recording 100 hours of television.
Unfortunately our local retailer was a little on the expensive side on this occasion, and after looking online, we found this box for £119 on dixons website (prior to the VAT increase). Before we purchased, I tried to read up about the box, and found that although the majority of reviews were favourable, there were those who cited several flaws of the product, incluing the fan noise and slowness of the guide coming up, two things that weren't hugely important to us, and so we went ahead and purchased our humax freeview + box.
When the product arrived, my husband went about using the instructions to install it. Now, I must make this claer, and I mean no disrespect to my husband, but if he is able to install this within a short space of time, without any issues whatsoever then this really is a simple product to get to grips with. I just watched as he went through the programming, which seemed to be very straightforward and you seem to just follow the guidance, most of which comes up on the screen. YOu can chose the channels that you wish to have on your lists, which we thought was pretty good, given that there were a few dodgy adult channels, that we ditched, and thus gives you control of what you want/censor particularly if you have children in the house.
It took us a little bit of experimenting to work how to get the proper guide list up, and then my husband had a trial run at recording a programme that was coming on. We watched it afterwards and found the picture quality to be excellent and it recorded the entirety of the programme without any hassle. We also have since recorded one programme whilst watching another with great success, and have paused the programme live whilst we went and got a snack one evening. It is a little bit of a novelty at the moment, and we are having to get used to being able to record programmes at the drop of a hat, without having to rely on tape recorders or bbc iplayer to get caught up. I doubt however that we will be recording up the maximum of 100 hours of tv, but it is useful nonetheless, particularly if you are recording an entire series, which we hve not done as yet, but for which the product has the capacity to do.
I have noticed however the fan noise which is obvious when you first turn on the machine, however within 5 minutes this has stopped, and in fact, if there is any noise in the room whatsoever, it isn't even audible, so this really is not a problem at all in my eyes. THe fan is not prolonged and even if it were, I doubt over the noise of the TV it would be a disturbance either.
In relation to other criticisms of the slowness of the electronic programme guide, I would have to concur. At times, after switching it on, you do have to wait a few minutes before the guide lists all the programmes available, but so far (fingers crossed) it will always load within a few minutes and bring up the necessary listings. We dont find it a major problem, but if you are in a hurry and you want to set a programme to record, the delay in bringing up the guide can be frustrating. Then again, you are only paying just over £100 for something to be as good a sky plus, I don't think we expected it to be absolutely perfect!
All in all, if you are looking for a way of avoiding the cost of SKY plus, but at the same time getting the same benefits, such as pausing live tv, recording whilst watching tv etc, then this is a much cheaper alternative than sky, with a one off payment for the machine. THe machine itself is quite sleek and is by no means an eye sore. For just over £100 I think it is tremendous value for what we want, rather than bothering with VCR's or BBC iplayer. Hopefully we will continue to enjoy the product, but so far so good!!
Summary: A good product that replaces the VCR