This is one of two new Freeview+ digital recorder models recently released by Humax and we were looking forward to reviewing our retail model. However, sadly for us and Humax this isn’t going to be a happy piece.
The device has a 160GB hard drive and Humax claim it can record around 100 hours of programmes with the option to record two channels at once. As we’ll explain below this isn’t something we’re likely to be able to test anytime soon.
Starting with the positive, the device was pretty easy to set up, connect the aerial and scart lead then plug the device in and it starts to auto-tune.The EPG loads in reasonable time and is readable from a distance and the series-link style record facility proactively offers itself when you select a show to record. Skipping to another day in the EPG day is fiddlier than necessary with the user first having to active the ‘time bar’ before they can navigate forward or back.
Sadly that’s where the review has to end because only a couple of hours after the device was set up it decided to go into standby and more than an hour of pressing buttons and cycling the power has failed to achieve anything. This means we didn’t get a chance to test the recording quality or accuracy of the series link feature both of which will be important features for many buyers.
A retail price of around £150 and the excellent reputation Humax has for set-top boxes means failures such as this just shouldn’t occur. That it has is bitterly disappointing, the days of shoddy and bug-ridden PVRs should be a thing of the past.
The instruction book states: “In the UK we want customers to contact our Helpline and NOT go to the retailers”- I’m already wishing we’d not gone to the retailer and hadn’t bought the box.
UPDATE: About a hour or so after we published we decided (out of sheer optimism) we’d give the box one last try. After an age we finally got signs (actually sounds) of life and after a few minutes the box booted.
Initially the line had to be ‘one to avoid’ but the fact that the box has since decided to work makes it hard to know if we should recommend it or not. When it does work this is a great box with a wealth of features but it’s hard (and would be dishonest) to ignore the fact that we’ve had 2 or so hours where we couldn’t use it and as a result some of our test recordings didn’t happen.