Humax HB 1000S Freesat HD Review (Part 1)

3/30/2014 3:28:46 PM

Extras on this low-cost box for Freesat's Freetime service include recording via USB and multimedia playback

White kit from other manufacturers has yet to materialise, Humax has released a low-cost'zapper'box for Freesat's Freetime service which, much like YouView, features integrated support for broadband-delivered catch-up TV and video on demand.

Humax HB-1000S Freesat HD First Look

If you want to record and timeshift TV and radio channels you'll need to add a USB hard drive of your own, but it only has one tuner so you can only record one channel at a time.

Build and connectivity

Perhaps because it's being touted as a second-room box, the HB-1000S eschews the curvy stylings of the manufacturer's Freetime PVRs in favor of a rather plain-looking black case design about the size of the average free-to-air satellite receiver with no display other than a power/ standby indicator sitting alongside a power button. The rear panel has an LNB input, an HDMI 1.4 output, composite video, stereo phonos, an optical S/PDIF, two USB ports and an Ethernet connector. Wi-fi requires a compatible USB dongle.

The classy black remote control is easy to grip and has logically placed buttons including a central 'Home' one for the main menu.



Humax HB-1000S Connectivity


The user interface is pretty much the same as that found on other Freetime boxes being both colorful and very accessible, though we experienced some slight jerkiness on occasion while navigating it using our test box.

The EPG shows now-and-next information or you can select Later to view a timeline grid for what's coming up in the next eight days, which can be skipped through in 24 hour periods. Selecting a Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV or BBC channel (other than +1s) brings up an Earlier option on the left and selecting it takes you to a list of shows available on catch-up TV players. You can also sort the guide to show channels of a particular type such as Radio, Music or those in your favorites list, view program synopses and set reminders

You can search for shows by title by manually entering keywords, while a Showcase section displays recommendations for on-demand and live TV.

If you want to receive channels other than (or in addition to) what's on Freesat then the box has a separate STB mode enabling it to be used like a conventional FTA satellite receiver.

The use of DiSEqC 1.0 and 2.0 switches is supported and you can perform network searches, specify FTA, scrambled, TV or radio only, pick transponders to scan from a list (for 28.2° E) or enter a frequency, select/ enter symbol rate and specify polarity, FEC and transmission type. An FTA scan of 28.2°E with network search disabled took three and half minutes, and with it on a little under 18.

It's better than most Freesat boxes in this regard, but there's no EPG included and you can timeshift but not record what you find.


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