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Humax HD-Fox T2 review

Humax HD-Fox T2
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £170
inc VAT

It's the simplest way to get HD, but it's expensive considering it only has a single tuner.

It’s taken a little longer to arrive than we expected, but we finally took delivery of the first Freeview HD product: Humax’s HD-Fox T2. We first saw a working prototype at Humax’s pre-release demonstration in early December 2009, and now we’ve had time to properly test out what this tiny box is capable of.

Given that the only advantage of Freeview HD over its standard-definition counterpart is two extra channels – BBC HD and ITV HD, you’d be forgiven for wondering what the fuss is all about. Plus, the HD-Fox T2 is merely a player and not a recorder, so you can’t pause, rewind or record programmes. However, before you factor in the steep £170 price and think this review isn’t worth reading, stick with it as the HD-Fox T2 is more capable that it first appears.

For a start, the entire menu system has been redesigned and is a lot prettier and faster than Humax’s previous models. It’s also been pared right down to avoid bewildering users with too many options. The dark grey colour scheme – along with the fact that everything can be displayed at 1080p via HDMI – means everything is clearer and easier to read.

The eight-day EPG is a joy to browse – you can see a two-hour period of seven channels at once. Plus, it’s easy to skip to the channel you want by typing in its number or using the page up/down buttons to jump seven channels at a time. You can search for programmes by name or genre, and even create a favourite channel list.

There are all the connections you’d want at the rear, including HDMI, two scart sockets, plus stereo phono and optical S/PDIF audio outputs. More interesting are the Ethernet and USB ports. The former allows you to stream content from a UPnP server on your network, while the latter lets you do the same from a local hard disk or flash drive. Currently, standard definition XviD, JPEG and MP3 files are supported for video, photo and audio respectively, but Humax says format support will grow in the future with firmware updates.

We found the interface very clunky and unresponsive. Although our Synology NAS drive was found instantly on our network, the HD-Fox T2 wouldn’t display the folder list where our photos were stored, and refused to play any MP3 files. As with other media streamers we’ve seen, you’re forced to choose what type of media you want to play before browsing the network, yet even if you choose Video, other types of media are displayed, but can’t be accessed until you change to the appropriate media type. Humax still has a lot of work to do before media streaming becomes a reason to buy this box.

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Rating ***

Buying Information

Price £170
Warranty one year RTB

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