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on 1 October 2009
I have had this product more nearly 6 months now and I have never had any problems with it and it works like a dream. It takes a minute or so to 'boot up', but once up and running its great. The quality of the picture is much improved from Freeview, (none of the Freeview hiccups and picture breakups), and the fact that you have the HD channel(s) as well is a real bonus, that is when ITV now and again decide to show something in HD. Hopefully Channel 4 and ITV will eventually have dedicated HD channels. There are some channels which you can't receive through Freesat, namely Fiver, Five USA, Dave and a few others but you do get extra channels which aren't on Freeview, so its swings and roundabouts really. I have yet to discover all the features of the box. I haven't yet tackled the 'favourites' options as I agree with another reviewer wrote that it can be complicated working out what the box does and how to manage the menus and features. Recording is a doddle, you can also record in HD, from an HD channel obviously, which is a great feature and the hard drive is big enough to cope with quite a few recordings lined up to be viewed. You can also export programmes onto a memory stick via the USB socket on the front of the box. You need to do this from the file manager menu, which did take me a while to find! Overall I have to say this box was a great investment, I just plugged mine in to an old sky connection and it worked straightaway. You need to be aware that although you can record two channels at the same time, it depends which two they are. If the two channels, (excuse me if I havn't got the science correct), are sharing the same frequency or bandwidth from the satelite, then you can't record them together. This is one downside which you eventually come to terms with and depending on which channels you want to record, there are usually ways round this such as useing a '+1' channel or an alternative BBC regional channel, yes you have the choice of any BBC region in the UK to watch!
Overall though I have to say it is a really good buy, works great and once you familiarise yourself with all the features and buttons, a doddle to use and a reliable bit of kit. The ONLY free alternative to watching Sky. Humax FOXSAT-HDR Freesat+ 320GB HD PVR Digital Box- Installation Recommended
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on 28 March 2009
Much of what I would have written here has already been said by other reviewers, so I'll keep this brief.

Good points about the product:

1. Outstanding picture quality, in both HD and SD.
2. Simple to set up. I just removed all the cables from the Sky+ box that I was replacing, plugged them all back into the Humax, ran autotune and it took less than 3 minutes to be up and running. Even though I live in London, by entering a Welsh postcode I was able to get the Welsh channels and regional variations at the top of the list.

Bad points about the product:

1. The menu interface is extremely unintuitive, and the manual is dreadful. I have had the box for a few days and have still not worked out how to store and access my favourite channels.
2. The remote control handset is ugly and user-unfriendly. The buttons are too small, there are too many of them and the layout is a puzzle. The buttons to start and stop recording are particularly small and hard to find.
3. The box takes a good 15-20 seconds to wake up from stand-by.

In summary, an excellent piece of technology let down only by poor design in its menus, software, manual and handset. I'm not sure it fully deserves its near-mythical reputation.

NB - Several sales assistants told me I would need to re-align my existing Sky dish, or get a completely new satellite dish, in order to watch TV via Freesat. That is absolutely not true. You can simply plug all your existing cables into this box.
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on 2 January 2011
I have not owned a PVR before and therefore this was a whole new area to me; having looked at all the options for Freesat boxes the Humax certainly seemed to be the best.

Once the box arrived it appeared that it should be 'plug & play', BUT if you do not have two incoming leads from your satelite dish, it isn't! This is easily remedied by going to your local Tandy and buying the appropriate lead to loop connections on the back of the machine. By doing this you are essentially only using one instead of both on-board tuners, this means that you can only record one channel and only watch that one channel at the same time. If you've got the two incoming leads you'll have no problems.

I was impressed with the contents of the box, scart, (as expected), HDMI cable, (normally costly as an extra) and a Universal remote control, (easily programmed to TV, DVD & HiFi).

Another bonus is that the Humax has the ability to download from BBCi & also in the coming weeks the ITV player. You'll need a connection to your telephone line or a USB dongle for WiFi, (the device has two USB ports - one front & one back). The presence of the USB ports also allows you to transfer recorded, (not downloaded), content to data sticks and external hard drives. I have been impressed.

Probabably the most important element of the Humax's performance is the picture, the quality is amazing. The picture via a scart lead on a traditional non-flat screen, non-HD TV is chrystal clear, it is superior to all my experiences with the same TV in comparison to Freeview and Sky TV's free to air service. The volume control take some getting used to, but I have linked my Humax to a JVC HiFi and that gives an excellent result.

General recording and control of the device is quite logical, but will take getting used to, (I would think if you've used other PVRs it should be easy).

Overall I am extremely satisfied with my purchase, I also like the fact that Humax have created a form of future-proofing with a mysterious slot for future Freesat innovations, (I am guessing special interest subscription channels). One last thing at present there is no Sky News or other Sky products, but I am not that dissapointed, because I bought this unit to get away from the Sky monopoly!!! Happy viewing if you decide to purchase.
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on 12 August 2009
We had a Humax Freeview PVR and had got used to only watching recorded TV. So imagine our horror when moving here to discover there was no Freeview coverage until 2012.

I managed to get a 'free' SKY+ box but resented monthly charge, having to have landline connected and, after 12 months, offer of exorbitant maintenance charge to keep it going.

So free of SKY's contract I took the plunge and purchased a Humax Foxsat. The product has quality written all over it and with SKY+ cabling it was literally up and running within 5 minutes of getting it out of the box. And we always have a great picture (particularly on HD).

Now for the niggles, but I'd like to stress that I'm only making these points cos this is such a great product. 1) You can't delete while recording. 2) I would question the use of a universal remote; compared to the SKY+ remote the commonly used buttons for pausing and whizzing passed the adverts are small and fiddly while there are forest of buttons I never use. 3) There is no series link functionality on radio programs though I suspect this is more to do with Freesat than Humax. 4) The File Manager functionality is less than intuitive.

But overall if you have the basic SKY+ package but no Freeview reception this is a no brainer.
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on 1 May 2017
Humax Foxsat freesat is the one i recomend to my friends, but the quality control is not the best. I had two different one brake on family members but not this one.
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on 11 December 2010
Picture quality is excellent and we're using the Humax remote as a universal controller for TV and blu-ray also, which works fine. Easy to use - menus straightforward and all fairly intuitive. Only minor gripe is that there seems to be a bit of a delay on response to button press when navigating the programme schedules with the r/c. However, it would be ridiculously pedantic to dock a star for that minor issue...so I won't!
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on 18 June 2015
got a bit stuck with series record but you find channel you want eg eastenders press ok then you get option of record once or series i kept pushing just the record button but you have to select the programme you want then ok button then you get option of once or the whole series hope this helps x
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on 7 November 2009
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.
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on 11 July 2014
Still going good after 5 years - brilliant machine!
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on 13 August 2009
M.Scott's review says "I'm not sure it fully deserves its near-mythical reputation". Well, how you perceive this box rather depends what you have used before. In the world of satellite PVRs there is a lot of highly-specified but badly implemented rubbish around. In the place where my Foxsat-HDR sits have previously been (in the space of not much more than a year) a top-of-the-range Topfield, an Arion, and a DGStation. This beats all of those by a mile, in terms of reliability, ease of operation and cool running (power consumption). It even comfortably beats the Humax Freeview PVR I also use, which makes it an even better surprise.

It's not perfect. Just occasionally a recording fails (marked with a grey flash in the list, and doesn't play) for no explained reason, but expressed as a percentage this is tiny, because it is used very heavily in this house. Try to record BBC2's "learning zone" at 4 a.m. and a failure is guaranteed, I expect it is doing its checks on what are the changes in the Freesat channel line-up in the early hours of the morning.

Sometimes when pulling off recordings onto an external hard disk it locks up and needs switching off and on again to get it sorted (what else would you expect, it's effectively a PC inside). There are some issues that need fixing - the "padding" feature is great, but when recording two consecutive programmes on the same channel, then the padding of one programme is at the expense of the other programme, which is truncated by approximately the same amount (I use the word "approximately" because joining the files externally does not restore all of the broadcast material).

We wish it was as good at non-Freesat reception as it is at Freesat (it will do non-Freesat, and even control a motorised dish, but it quickly becomes clear that this isn't really what it was made for). For this reason the best of its predecessors (The DGStation) is still in our AV cabinet, that does all the "other" jobs reasonably well, including showing some of the BBC interactive streams that didn't make it onto Freesat yet (yes there are red-button services that Sky viewers can get, broadcast unencrytped yet not available on Freesat - e.g. "Springwatch Unplugged").

But overall it is a joy to use. Little things, like the use of HD for all the menus, make a big difference in practice, and in most areas that matter we find its operation entirely intuitive. After what we endured before we just love it.
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