The popular set-top box manufacturer goes back to basics with this Freeview+HD PVR
Humax's HDR-FOX T2 was hitherto one of the best Freeview+ HD recorders available and now it's produced this successor, the HDR-2000T.
Available with 500GB or 1TB drives (as tested here), its minimalist exterior perhaps looks best from a distance. The front panel is clad in brushed aluminium, adorned by touch keys for power and volume and channel-changing. Unlike the HDR-FOX T2 there's no graphical display; instead an LED indicator glows red when recording or in standby, or blue when performing other tasks. There's a USB port on the front and another on a rear panel that also includes an HDMI output, an RGB-capable Scart output, an optical digital audio output and composite video. A Humax WLAN USB dongle can be used for wireless networking. This sells for £30 approx, but you may find it bundled by some retailers.
The glossy black remote is of the same design as found with the manufacturer's YouView boxes. It's superior to many set-top box zappers I've used, blessed with a sensible layout and able to be programmed to control many brands of TV.
The user interface is easy to navigate, and the EPG can display data for channels of a certain type – such as HD – or those in one of five user-definable favourites lists. You can search for shows by entering keywords or see lists of upcoming broadcasts organised by genre. Freeview+HD functionality, including automatic series recording and, for some channels, recommendations for similar shows to record, is catered for.
The HDR-2000T's twin tuners allow two channels to be recorded at once but a nice bonus is that you can also watch and timeshift a third channel at the same time. The timeshift buffer lasts up to two hours.
Series recordings are grouped into folders; you can create and name your own. Recordings can also be re-labelled. More usefully, they can be stored on and played from USB drives, although only SD recordings were delivered via my PC. The Humax's USB inputs allow for local playback of other file formats, too, and you can also stream content from DLNA-networked devices or use the HDR-2000T as a media server, sharing files stored on the hard disk (including SD recordings). I was able to stream a recording to my computer for viewing using Windows Media Player, while the box recorded two channels and enabled viewing of a third. Handy for content-addicted households.
BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Wiki TV, Teletext Holidays and an internet radio player feature on Humax's TV Portal of online apps. Others, including Twitter, can be downloaded, but the remainder isn't that exciting. As a Smart product it's sitting near the back of the class.
Providing the source is of sufficient quality to start with, 1080p upscaling does a good job of visibly improving SD TV, and HD transmissions from the BBC in particular are pleasingly detailed.
The absence of a display or access to other catch-up TV – as found on Humax's YouView boxes – may disappoint some, but the flexible recording options, decent performance and multimedia functionality make this a fine follow-up to the HDR-FOX T2.
Price: £240 Approx
Highs: Can record two channels while watching a third; media server functionality; good overall performance and usability
Lows: Has no graphical display; 'TV Portal' could be improved; wouldn't stream MKV files; user interface not as neat as rivals
Tuner: 2 x Freeview HD
Connections: HDMI v1.4; Scart; composite video output; stereo phono audio; optical digital audio output; 2 x USB 2.0; Ethernet
Dimensions: 320(w) x 245(h) x 50(d)mm
Features: Record two channels while watching a third; Freeview+HD functionality including automatic series recording; can store recordings on USB drives; 8-day EPG with search and sorting; 1080p upscaling; Wi-Fi-ready (dongle required); USB media playback; DLNA media streaming; media server functionality; FTP Server feature; TV Portal with BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Wiki TV, Teletext Holidays, internet radio; Dolby Digital Plus/Pulse support
Want the latest issue of Home Cinema Choice? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!
Want to see your home cinema system featured in the pages of HCC? Click here for more info.
Love home cinema? Sign up to our emails for the latest news and special offers!
Home Cinema Choice is proud to be a member of EISA.
Visit www.eisa.eu for more info.