There are now so many reviews in here, mine probably won't be see by many people, but I am still going to try to ease the pain for people learning to use this very good piece of kit.
The validity of the many comments about how awkward it is to use depend upon your personal background. If you are a Unix computer whizz it will all seem pretty simple; on the other hand if you are uncomfortable around technical gadgets, you will struggle with some of its excellent functionality. Those are the two extremes of course, most of us fit somewhere in between.
If you are at or near the non-tecchy extreme you might want to consider paying up and sticking with $ky....
For most people I believe it is definitely worth persevering, because you get many advantages over a Sky+ box:-
* picture quality - even SD is superb on a good quality TV (noticeably better than Sky for me)
* proper support for radio programmes (EPG and point and select record functionality)
* availability of folders - highly desirable with a large disk
* ability to connect a flash drive for copying to and from external media (with a USB connector on the front of the box, so you don't have grovel round the back each time you want to connect)
* ability to store and play back mp3 and jpeg files (kept in separate areas of the disk from TV progs.)
* buttons for skip forward and back during playback (duration can be customised)
and of course - no monthly subscription to pay!
Now for some tips that may help you reduce the learning curve:-
(I take no credit for most of this info. - it has largely been gleaned from the excellent AVForum website; in particular from the extremely helpful postings of a Graham Thompson - the man seems to have almost unlimited knowledge and is extremely generous with his time, a very rare combination in my experience. Humax need to make him a handsome bonus payment, he has helped so many people with this box.)
* There is an almost invisible protective film over the display, which if left in place may reduce the responsiveness of the remote control. You need to pull down the front flap and use something very thin to pull up a corner of the film.
* A fairly small amount of the hard disk is pre-allocated to mp3 and jpeg use - if you don't have any use for that facility you can go into set up and reduce those areas to a minimum, to give more space for TV/radio progs. You need to do this straight away if you are going to do it, as I believe it causes existing stored files to be deleted.
* Moving and deleting files - this is the feature that causes the most pain and confusion. These functions are always greyed out unless you are in File Manager mode. To go to File Manager you first need to press the whimsically titled "Opt+" key on the remote. File Manager opens up a split pane file layout list and lights up the move and delete functions. To move a file you first have to open the folder you want to move the file into by highlighting and then selecting it in the left hand pane. Then move to the right hand pane, highlight the desired file and press the green button. What could be easier? (Quite a lot of things, I hear you cry!) It's a Unix thing, apparently.
* For reasons best known to Humax, you cannot move or delete files whilst any recording is in progress (or for some time afterwards, I have found)
* The default output display format seems to be 4:3 - this is odd given that almost all TVs sold today are widescreen! If you find that movies and US progs. keep appearing in this format, go into set up and change the display format setting to "anamorphic" - this stretches the display of non-widescreen material to widescreen.
* If you normally leave the machine in standby, when you experience a power cut, any pending recordings will not be actioned until you have brought the box out of standby at least once. (I have yet to experience this myself.)
* The rather odd things called thumbnails, which act as restart points within a recorded program, are only updated overnight.
* With my TV at least, the volume control on the Humax operates over a range somewhat less than the volume level of the TV, so I find myself having to set the TV volume very loud in order to get an acceptable volume range with the Humax switched on. I have not discovered a way to get the two matched up as yet.
I am sure other stuff will come to light, but that's probably enough for now.