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Humax Foxsat-HDR Freesat HD digital video recorder

Record and replay HD

There are a number of other useful little touches that show Humax has been paying attention to detail. The remote control is crammed with buttons that perform various tasks, and it can work in four different modes, allowing it to control your TV, DVD player and audio system, as well as the Foxsat itself, although you do need to program it with codes listed in the manual first, rather like a ‘universal’ remote.

There’s a slow-motion button that allows you to choose either half, quarter or eighth normal speed, while the fast forward/backward option goes right up to 64x normal speed. You can also add bookmarks to recordings, allowing you to quickly snap back to favourite scenes. We even like the option to adjust the transparency of the on-screen menu display, so that you can still see programmes playing in the background while you fiddle with various menu options.

Humax Foxsat HDR

Channels segmented, Sky style

We have no real complaints about the performance of the Foxsat-HDR. It’s versatile and easy to use, and the ability to record HD programmes without paying a subscription is enormously tempting. The problem is that’s it about £100 more expensive than a comparable Freeview recorder and the extra HD content that would justify the premium is still limited.

If you’re already a Sky subscriber then the recent price cut for its Sky HD box to just £49, plus another £10 per month on top of your existing programme package, is arguably a better deal as you’ll get a wider range of HD channels, although ITV HD isn’t available on Sky. If your area is covered by Virgin’s cable TV services you can get their V+ HD box and BBC HD for £99 plus a £10-per-month subscription. Then, of course, there’s the possibility of Freeview launching its own free-to-air HD channels later this year.

Verdict

If you want to experience – and record - HD television without committing yourself to a monthly subscription then the Foxsat-HDR is probably worth the high initial outlay. It only took a few minutes of Wallace and Gromit in HD to make up our minds for us. However, the combined cost of the recorder and the satellite installation means that Freesat devices such as the Foxsat-HDR are going to have to come down in price quite a bit before they can challenge the popularity of the terrestrial Freeview service. ®

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Humax Foxsat HDR

Humax Foxsat-HDR Freesat HD digital video recorder

The ability to record free-to-air HD programmes is great, but the combined cost of the recorder and satellite will deter many potential customers.
Price: £299 (satellite dish and installation not included) RRP