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.
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.
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 Freesat HD digital video recorder
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!!!