Humax Foxsat-HDR Freesat HD digital video recorder
Record and replay HD
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.
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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.