Humax HDR-Fox T2 review
|Review: January 2013|
In a nutshell: The HDR-Fox T2 is a competent Freeview receiver with great recording and networking capabilities, but it isn't the friendliest system we've tested.
Setup & requirements
The Humax HDR-Fox T2 is easier to set up than its long-winded name suggests. In fact, Freeview is the quickest and cheapest way to access digital TV, since all you need to do is plug it into your aerial.
But the HDR-Fox T2 can do more than just receive Freeview. If you connect it to the internet via an ethernet cable you can connect to devices around your home to stream photos and video, and also connect to the Humax TV Portal for additional content. More about this below, but in order to connect the box, you'll need to be able to plug it into your home broadband router via an ethernet cable. Alternatively, if your router is located in another room, you can run broadband via your electrical sockets using HomePlug adapters. A USB Wi-Fi adapter is also available as an option and lets you connect wirelessly.
A HDMI cable is used to connect the box to your TV. Alternatively there's a SCART connection and also a digital optical output for connecting to a home cinema system. You can also plug in a USB, making the box one of the best connected available.
Like most Humax products, the Fox T2 is a stylish device that won't look at all out of place sitting below your smart new flatscreen TV.
Freeview and smart content
The choice of channels on Freeview is less than with subscription services like Sky and Virgin, but there are still a lot of channels available. All the essentials like BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, Dave and Film 4 are here, as well as several HD channels and 20+ radio channels. The best thing is that it's all free, once you've bought the box.
This Humax box is smarter than most Freeview boxes, because if you connect it to the internet you can access additional content via the Humax TV Portal. This includes the BBC iPlayer and Youtube.
You can also connect the box to your home network, so you can stream photos and videos from your PC, smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi. You can also connect two Humax boxes and watch programmes recorded on one box on a TV connected to another box in a different room. Clever.
It's not quite YouView, but it's a pretty good approximation in terms of functionality.
Pause, rewind & record live TV
The box also functions as a PVR (personal video recorder), so you can pause and rewind live TV and also record programmes on the hard disk. There are two inputs from the aerial, so you can watch one programme while recording another, or record two programmes simultaneously (while also watching a recorded programme). The PVR is easy to use. There's a simple option to record a whole series, for example. The smart recording feature will suggest alternative recording slots if two programmes clash. And the box automatically reschedules if broadcast times change.
The capacity of the hard disk is 500GB, which is enough to record 300 hours of standard definition content and 125 hours of HD.
Conclusion - good, but not the best
The HDR Fox T2 does a lot, but it isn't a match for the Humax DTR-T1000 with YouView. Nevertheless, it's a very competent Freeview+ receiver and PVR with a wealth of features. We particularly like the home networking capability, giving the option to stream content around the home and to get access to the BBC iPlayer. The 500GB disk isn't the biggest available, but it still enables 125 hours of HD recording. The USB option is a nice bonus feature too.
What lets the box down in comparison to the DTR-T1000 is the lack of user friendliness. The catch-up TV service simply isn't integrated into the EPG in the way that YouView achieves. Add to this the clunkiness of the remote control and the overall ease-of-use takes a real nosedive.
It's worth considering if you want to save a few pounds, but the price saving isn't enough for us to recommend this box in preference to Humax's YouView offering.
Humax HDR-Fox T2 features include:
- 70+ Freeview TV and radio channels
- Humax TV Portal
- HD Ready (1080p, 1080i output)
- 8-day on screen electronic programme guide
- PVR functionality (Record, pause and rewind live TV)
- 500GB disk space
- Ethernet connection to internet / optional USB Wi-Fi dongle
- Dolby Digital Pulse audio output
- CI+ slot
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