Humax HDR-2000T Review – Having been busy producing boxes for YouView and Freesat in recent years, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a Freeview+ HD recorder from Humax. The HDR-2000T has some big shoes to fill considering the popularity of the HDR-FOX T2. So what does it have to offer?
The first thing that struck us about the HDR-2000T is that there’s no graphical display (as featured on the HDR-FOX T2), which could irk some users, though after a while we got used to its ‘absence’. Apart from that, it’s small enough to fit nicely into most setups, its minimalist brushed silver front panel sporting ‘touch keys’ for power and volume control and channel changing. Also on the front is a large LED indicator that glows red when recording or in standby (the box can be set up to go into standby automatically if inactive for three hours) or blue otherwise to the right of which sits a USB port. A second USB port on the rear is joined by HDMI, Scart, composite video, optical digital audio and stereo phono outputs, a UHF loopthrough and an Ethernet port for networking. The design of the remote will be familiar to anyone with a Humax YouView or recent Freesat box. With a glossy black finish, it has wellpositioned buttons, many providing one-touch access to the key features and can be programmed to control many brands of TV. Our test sample had a 500GB hard disk able to store up 125 hours of high-definition or 300 hours of standard-definition recordings, but you can also buy a 1TB box currently being sold on the Humax Direct website with a Humax WLAN USB dongle (which costs £29) included for wireless networking. You can store recordings on (and play them from) external drives, but only SD recordings could be played from the external drive on our computer.
Setup and basic use
Networking settings can be configured manually, but getting connected via Ethernet to our Virgin Media Super Hub was commendably ‘painless’. The channel list can be edited by locking and deleting channels and sorted (such as by type eg TV or alphabetically) and you can create and name up to five favourites lists if you wish. The EPG displays data as a three-quarter screen programme grid with the selected channel viewable in the top left corner next to a synopsis. You can view TV, Radio, HDTV, or those in a favourites list only and useful additional search and sorting functionality comes via the ability to hunt for broadcasts by title by entering keywords or see lists of what’s coming up organised by genre. The programme information bar can be used to browse data including synopses for the current channel and others without needing to change channel.
PVR and multimedia
It has twin tuners and can record two channels at the same time. An advantage over many other Freeview recorders is that you can watch (and timeshift) a third channel while doing so. Recordings can be set by hitting record from the EPG, information bar or using a manual timer and you can pad out start and end times and schedule automatic series recordings. You’re notified if there’s an HD version or when clashes occur if an alternative showing is available, and on certain channels (such as Channel 4) there are similar shows to what you’re recording recommended. It also allows you to schedule reminders. The box’s timeshift buffer lasts up to two hours and kicks in when you switch to a channel. Timeshifted TV can be stored as a permanent recording, though not if you’re recording two other channels. During playback you can fast forward and rewind up to 32x normal speed, use instant replay and skip forward buttons (the duration of which can be specified) or move quickly to a desired point using an onscreen ‘playbar’. You can watch a recording while in progress and resume watching where you left off . Recordings can also be locked and renamed and the box set to delete the oldest when space is limited. Series recordings are automatically grouped into folders and you can choose to create and name your own if you wish. The box can also play most media file formats from USB or DLNA-networked storage. It ably detected files located on our Western Digital NAS drive and computer, but refused to stream MKV files. A real feather in its cap is media server functionality allowing SD recordings and media that’s copied to the internal drive to be shared with other networked devices using UPnP. Using Windows Media Player, we were able to stream standard-def recordings from the box’s internal drive to our networked laptop, while at the same time using the HDR-2000T to either watch a third channel, play a recording or use its other multimedia features and recording two channels in the background. You can also transfer files from the hard drive to a PC using an FTP feature. Humax’s online TV Portal includes BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Wiki TV, BBC News, BBC Sport, Teletext Holidays and an Internet Radio app with more such as Twitter downloadable from an online store. However, the lack of other catch-up TV, as found on Humax’s YouView boxes, is hard to ignore.
Here the box compares favourably with the HDR-FOX T2. Both native HD and SD broadcasts appear crisp and natural looking via the HDMi output with 1080p upscaling adding a discernible degree of smoothness to the latter. Audio-wise it’s no slouch either using both the analogue and digital options (source:what satellite and digital tv)
Humax HDR-2000T Specifications
- Hard disc size: 500GB/1TB
- Freeview HD: Yes
- EPG: 8-day
- Upscaling: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Catch-up TV: BBC iPlayer
- Video on demand: YouTube
- Media playback: Via USB or network
- SD out: 1x Scart; composite video
- HD out: HDMI
- Audio out: Optical digital; stereo phonos
- Data ports: Ethernet; 2x USB
- Network: Ethernet/Wi-fi (dongle required)