The dull grey display of the Foxsat’s electronic programme guide (EPG) is visually drab, but it’s efficient enough for locating and recording programmes. As well as letting you browse standard categories such as news, films or sport, it also lists options such as children’s programmes, music, shopping and even dating channels. You can quickly jump forward two hours or a full 24 hours at a time, and as well as creating a list of your favourite channels you can also create groups of favourite channels, perhaps having one group for the kids and another for grownups.
The EPG looks bland, but it does the job
One odd thing about ITV HD is that it isn’t a standalone channel that has its own schedule and listings, as BBC HD does - it's provided as a 'red button' extra alongside the SD broadcast. The Foxsat’s EPG handles this well, as it knows which ITV programmes are being broadcast in both SD and HD. When you tell it to record one of these programmes it asks whether you want to record it in SD or HD, before offering additional options such as recording a single episode or the entire series.
The only mildly annoying detail is that instead of clearly labelling individual ITV HD programmes on the EPG, it displays a small HD logo in a separate area on the screen above the main EPG listings table. This means that you have to keep looking up and down the screen to see which programmes are available in HD. It’s a small detail, but we found it quickly became rather irritating when trying to figure out which ITV programmes we could watch in HD.
We were also curious to see how much HD programming could be recorded onto the Foxsat’s capacious 320GB hard disk. Humax quotes about 200 hours of SD programmes and 80 hours of HD content, and the recordings we made seemed to confirm this, with a two-hour HD recording taking up about 2.5 per cent of the available hard disk space.
Search for shows by keyword
One other benefit of the large disk is that the Foxsat can record a full two-hour ‘buffer’ of live TV, giving you plenty of freedom to pause and rewind programmes if you need to go and walk the dog in the middle of Heroes.
Hope it's better than other models
Well, I hope they can develop a decent remote control and design the PVR so that it actually responds to the Infra Red signal! because some of Humax's conventional SD PVR models are absolutely diabolical.
As an electronics engineer, I have serious questions as to whether Humax really know how to design electronics!! As far as I can tell, the IR receiver appears to be software polled and there's no hardware buffer to receive and decode the IR signal and hold the character code received until it's read out by the processor. Absolutely s**te.
Not to mention there doesn't even appear to be a watchdog timer to reset the unit when one of the execution threads locks up. I have to pull the power plug!
@ Sam York, SD over HDMI
SD can be better over HDMI than any other connection standard. Why?
In most connection formats the signal is analogue and the different connection standards differ in how they transmit the signal, combining, separating luminance, chrominance information, whether it's modulated on to an RF carrier or not.
There are various methods employed which give different levels of image quality.
However for digital television systems, the image is represented as digital data ( typically MPEG2 data stream as the source material), and that digital stream has to be converted into an analogue signal to be transmitted down the cable to the television set, and there are losses and imperfections in this process.
For HDMI connectors, the video signal is represented as a digital data stream, which happens - and not by coincidence! - the same format as the source material - digital data.
So if an SD signal from freeview/digital satellite is sent down an HDMI cable there is no digital to analogue conversion taking place and no losses. There's no imperfections caused by combining, separating colour signals. Everything is received, processed, transmitted entirely in the digital domain.
So, yes, SD signals sent over HDMI can be higher quality than SD signals transmitted down any other connection type.
@Michelle Knight, HD over terrestrial
The BBC have conducted trials of HD over terrestrial. I know someone that recorded the programmes, using a Freeview card and software decoder incorporated into his PC.
However, it looks as if Ofcom, doesn't want the UK to have HD over Freeview(terrestrial). It's technically possible, it's proven to work.
From what I have heard, Ofcom would prefer the available frequency spectrum be occupied with many more SD channels than HD channels. They have decided for us, what the nation wants.
So I wouldn't hold your breath on waiting on HD over terrestrial. It may not happen.
RE: Single cable and LNB to record 1 / view another at same time is posible
By Nigel R
Care to elaborate? I can't find details of this new LNB anywhere... Got a link?
I know you can use the "loop through" on the back but that restricts you to watching/recording on the same band/polarity as the 1st tuner (1 of 4 possible band/polarity combinations)
Then there are the "stacker-destacker" devices that "stack" the bands on top of one another for transmission down a single cable, but AFAIK this can't be fed straight into the Foxsat, it still needs the destacker to separate them...
My folks managed to bag the last HDR in the local independant shop just after new year - fantastic bit of kit, my only gripe lies with ITV (put something in HD apart from football) and C4 (work out the contractual obligations with $ky and get your HD content on Freesat)
No Mention of some killer functions...
...like the fact you can use just the one LNB and get a decent service, you can record a channel and watch another, but you're limited by the MUX that the other channel is on... still decent foresight by them.
If you schedule a recording and it clashes it will let you know alternative times that the show you want to record is on and offer to record that instead - very smart!
Archive recordings to USB - was mentioned above...
A great system, just needs more HD content and then i'll buy my own rather than setting them up for friends!!!