Humax HDR Fox T2 First Impressions

On 14th Feb 2011 Tivo announced to the UK that it would no-longer be providing Guide information to UK Series 1 Tivo owners, read the blog post in full here.

A replacement for beloved Tivo had to be found. After much searching of the net, it was decided that a Humax HDR Fox T2 would be Tivo’s successor.  Available in both 500GB and 1TB models offering twin tuners for simultaneous recording and viewing or multiple recordings.

To found out how we got on after the delivery arrived after the break

Un-boxing was uneventful, with the product well packaged, included in the box

  • HDR Fox T2 Unit
  • HDMI Lead
  • Scart Lead
  • Remote Control
  • Manuals
  • 2 AAA Batteries

Installation was carried out with relative ease, the humax being the last on the chain of aerial connections, and an HDMI connection to the 32″ LG LCD Tv.

Switching on, you’re presented with an installation wizard, this wizard takes you through basic configuration, and then begins to scan for available freeview channels. Upon completion it reported that there were 111 TV channels and 52 radio channels available. Ok, so more that you would expect, but we’re located in a region that can receive signals from both Sutton Coldfield, and The Wrekin transmitters. No problem I though, both our existing STB and TV don’t have any issue with this.

First impressions of the guide were good, easy to navigate, good program information, the 8 day EPG seems a little limiting after having over 2 weeks available on the Tivo. Picture quality was certainly better than the Tivo as you might expect. Colours more vibrant, definitely fewer artifacts from the multiple  conversions processes in the Tivo setup (more on this in an upcoming post).

Recording of the program currently being viewed a simple process of hitting the record button, nothing could be simpler. Navigation of the menu to find the recorded program, again child’s play, as proved by our oldest.

So the Humax was given the task of recording a couple of programs in the evening, and overnight, what could possibly go wrong ?

Well everything, on inspection in the morning, both programs had failed to record with the rather unhelpful “Unable to Track Program” highlighted by a nice lightening symbol next to the recording, and a recored length of 0 minutes. After a short period scouring the internet for solutions, it was decided that a firmware update should be carried out, (details to follow) , the box rebooted, and the test repeated.

Again, the same result, that fateful message “Unable to Track Program”.  Things weren’t looking too good for the future of Humax occupying Tivo’s spot in the AV cabinet. Back to the internet to try and find a resolution to the problem, and save the Humax from being returned.

A couple of hours, the only explanation of the cause of the missed recordings was that having the same channel present from multiple sources was causing the failure. The solution, to manually tune so only one transmitter was being used, and no channel duplication was occurring.

An hour later, and after extensive use of several website, each of the six current freeview muxes was tuned into the humax. With no duplication of TV or radio channels, and the all muxes reporting 100% quality, and varying signal strengths. The humax was once again tasked with recording multiple channels.

The result, a resounding success!

That was 3 days ago now, and life with the Humax is looking good, no missed recordings, not too many “but Tivo did it this way” comments from other members of the family. So would I recommend it, based on all of the above, yes. For 90% of consumers it will just work out of the box no questions asked. We’re looking forward to April 20th when the digital switchover is complete here, we’ll then have Freeview HD, although it does mean that the humax will have to be re-tuned at least once more, but it’s a known process.

The firmware update brought with it the Humax Portal, which includes iPlayer, as yet it’s not been tested, neither have the other multimedia features of the humax, but watch this space.