Smaller, lighter, faster
What is the Humax DTR-T2000?
On the face of it, the YouView branded Humax DTR-T2000 doesn’t really appear any different to the others in the range.We’ve previously covered the DTR-T1010 in both its 1 Terabyte and 2TB incarnations and, as the service has evolved, we’ve become bigger fans of the YouView platform. It’s had its fair share of troubles recently, with the BBC Trust kicking up a fuss about TalkTalk and BT ‘hijacking’ the service to suit their own ends but it carries on regardless. The DTR-T2000 is currently only available in a 500GB hard drive specification, priced at £199.95, but we’d bet our bottom dollar larger HDD configurations will be along soon enough
The DTR-T2000 was launched with one major selling point over the DTR-T1010 and that is a new chipset which is intended to make the unit quicker in operations and speedier in response. There have been complaints in that department from existing users so it will be interesting to compare the performance to our resident T1010, although we’ve never had any major issues with it ourselves. So it’s time to tune in, prime the stopwatch and see how this latest YouView device behaves.
DTR-T2000 Design & ConnectionsAlthough it is very similar in looks to its predecessors, the DTR-T2000 does have some slight differences. It’s a little smaller, for a start, and this reduced footprint is no doubt down to the fact that the power supply is now external, rather than internal. The casing of the box is now primarily metal, rather than plastic, but the Humax logo has been removed from its top. You still get the same attractive mirrored finish to the facia and the right portion of it drops down to reveal a USB port (serving virtually no purpose). The previous boxes saw the panel double up as a display which provided channel, recording and playback information but that is now gone, which we find rather disappointing.
To the rear is an HDMI port, a toslink digital audio out, an aerial input and RF loop through plus a LAN port. There’s also another mostly superfluous USB input and a Scart socket, if your TV doesn’t have a HDMI port. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating, for a device that markets itself based heavily on the fact it has access to all the catch-up services, the omission of WiFi is a very strange one. We have seen reports – and seen with our own eyes - that the older units could be adversely affected by wireless signals, causing reboots and random channel skipping but it needs addressing, regardless. We’ve always liked the design on the YouView remote, it’s shaped to fit in the hand comfortably, all the buttons are easy to locate and you can programme it to perform simple operations of your TV.
DTR-T2000 MenusThe YouView User Interface (UI) is one of our favourites, in any device category, with its clear and easy-to-follow presentation and attractive pale blue colour scheme. You can opt for a ‘High Contrast’ alternative if blue is not your to your tastes which provides a black, white and grey colour scheme, instead, but we definitely prefer a bit of blue!
The Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) affords a 6 channel/1 and half hour view with a useful timeline running down the screen vertically to display the current status. Programmes highlighted in light grey are currently on air and those in dark grey surroundings are future events. There’s also a date ticker across the top, making it simple to schedule recordings and you can skip days in advance and scroll back through time by using the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons on the remote. One of the most interesting features of the YouView platform is the ability to scroll back through the schedules in order to access programmes already broadcast from those channels with On-Demand players available through the platform. More on which later.
You get at all the menus by hitting the blue Youview button on the remote control from where 5 options – Search/MyView/Guide/On Demand/Settings – are presented. The Search facility is excellent, allowing you find content from both the EPG and On Demand Players. It doesn’t yet extend to genre searches beyond being able to filter for items from On-Demand, the EPG or Music Videos but it works very speedily and provides suggestions in a grey bar corresponding with the letters you’ve keyed in, which can certainly speed up the process.
The Settings sub-menu is split in to eight categories – System Information/TV Signal & Quality/Parental Controls/Subtitles & Accessibility/Network & Internet/Language. The TV & Signal option allows retuning as well as displaying signal quality and from here you can also set an audio delay to fix lip sync issues with connected equipment. There is also an option of instructing the box to always look for HD versions of on-demand content, which we would, of course, recommend you activate – display permitting.
The interface is about as attractive as it gets
DTR-T2000 Mobile AppThe YouView app for tablets and smartphones supports both iOS and Android and it gives seven day listings for more than 70 digital TV and radio channels, with full programme information details. It also allows you to set remote recordings whilst you’re out and about, provided you’ve registered your mobile through the Device Management area of the Settings Menu. You’re out of luck if you have more than one YouView box in the house though, as the app can only handle one box at a time and should you introduce a new unit, and want it to replace the old in the app, you’re forced to delete and re-download from the App store as there is no device management option within. We would also like the ability to watch programmes and recordings over your home network, at least, as other PVRs allow for this and even beyond by allowing you to watch whilst out of the home. Small criticisms aside, the remote recordings work well and the EPG and programme info loads at a decent rate of knots.
DTR-T2000 Freeview PVR FunctionalityAt the risk of sounding like a scratched record (remember those?), we’re still baffled as to why the YouView software has no provision for manually adding ‘padding’ to the beginning and end of recordings. In the event of a programme beginning early or ending late (more likely), you’re at the mercy of the broadcasters updating the EPG information to enable the unit to accurately record the programming in its entirety - and you can’t always rely on them. We tested this at length during the recent World Cup, with our resident T1010, and found that a couple of ITV over-runs weren’t picked up by the box. Since the operating software is near identical with the T2000, the same would have happened to it. It should be a simple thing for the YouView software developers to implement but they are showing no willing to do so.
Otherwise, we think the DTR-T2000 is a thoroughly excellent PVR with rock solid reliability and the ability to handle consecutive and concurrent recordings with aplomb. The software will issue a warning when you schedule timers that clash and we’re always appreciative that you will be asked if you would prefer to record a HD version of any SD programmes you try and schedule. The ‘Chase Play’ implementation is also faultless and by entering the myView menu, one is able to begin viewing a recording before the programme ends. Recordings can also be locked to prevent mistaken deletes but we would have liked to have seen a little more in the way of organisational tools. The ability to create folders and create favourite channel lists would be good but at least you can delete unwanted channels and filter the EPG by genre to cut down on the guff.
DTR-T2000 Performance EnhancementsJust about everything in this review is identical to the state of play when we reviewed the 2TB DTR-T1010 back in March 2014 but it’s here where the DTR-T2000 distinguishes itself. The first thing we noted is that the new unit has a more sensitive DVB-T2 tuner. It’s quicker to find all the services but, more importantly, it was able to pick up BBC 4 and CBeebies HD (and others), where the DTR-T1010 could not. Just to be sure, we tuned using exactly the same aerial point on three occasions, per unit, to account for weather/tropospheric anomalies but with the same results each time.
Start-up times with the Humax YouView boxes have never been wholly consistent. To begin with, you have the choice between Low and High Eco settings in the menus, with the latter the slower option. Our T1010 takes anything from 1m30sec to 2mins to come out of standby with Eco set to High and three to four seconds in the Low configuration. The T2000 could snap out of standby in anything from less than a second, up to three in Low, whilst the greener setting saw start-up times in the 45 second to 1min15sec range. To ensure HDD load wasn’t an issue, we formatted the hard drive of the T1010 so the T2000 is definitely faster out of the blocks.
Just about everything is now quicker to load and that makes us happy
The DTR-T2000 is also snappier when up and running too. Most noticeably, the EPG populates almost instantaneously on first access after coming out of standby, where the older units can take anything up to four seconds to provide the information. It doesn’t sound a lot but it adds quite a bit to the user experience. Use of the scroll back function (more on which below) brings this even more into highlight as it can take what seems like an age for the T1010 to provide the backdated EPG. With the T2000, this is again an almost immediate process making the feature that much better to use. As a point of note, once the EPG info is loaded and accessed, it took the same amount of time for the catch-up stream to load between the old and new units. For anyone interested, and since we have the data, the ITV Player is the quickest, averaging around 18 seconds with the BBC iPlayer and 4OD just behind. The Demand 5 service is by the far the slowest, with an average load time of 30 seconds.
Humax DTR-T2000 Video Review
DTR-T2000 Catch-up and Streaming ServicesThis has always been an area where YouView has been very strong and distinguishes itself from the majority of Freeview PVRs. Only on the current crop of Samsung’s will you also find all the major free-to-air catch-up services (BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Demand 5 and 40D) and YouView (platform agnostic version – TalkTalk and BT boxes may vary) also gives you Milkshake, a UK TV portal (Dave, Yesterday, Really) and S4C. There is also the opportunity to sample movies through Sky’s NOW TV and SKY Store services, at a cost of course, but you don’t get access to the Entertainment or Sports arms of NOW TV.
As we said above, the refined processing of the DTR-T2000 really adds to the usability of the Scroll back TV function. It works for all the content from across the BBC, ITV, 4OD, STV Player, Demand 5, Dave and Really services and by using the remote to – as the name would suggest - scroll back through time to select the programme you want to watch. You then hit the OK button and you’re transported straight to the programme within the relevant catch-up app. Aside from our DTR-T1010, our only other point of reference is Virgin’s TiVo and we can say the DTR-T2000 is quicker than that, which is quite some feather in its cap.
Faster than TiVo on the scroll back EPG - impressive
- Much quicker to respond than older models
- Reliable recording
- Lovely interface
- Remote recording from app
- Excellent on demand and catch-up services
- No global padding option
- Display panel has been
- No WiFi
Humax YouView+ DTR-T2000 PVR ReviewThe general design of the Humax DTR-T2000 follows closely from what went before but the new unit is a little smaller - thanks to an outboard power supply - and the display panel is no longer there. Presumably this is as part of a cost-cutting exercise but its presence is definitely missed. The DTR-T2000 still doesn't feature WiFi connectivity, either, which is plain silly but you do get a reasonable set of video and audio connections, plus wired LAN for the on-demand services.
We've always been big fans of the YouView user interface. It's very easy to follow and the default blue colour scheme is one of the nicest to look at but you do have a choice of a more monochrome look, should you so wish. Setting up and accessing recordings is also a relative breeze and you get all the usual Freeview HD+ niceties such as Series Record and Chase Play. There's still no provision for setting timer paddings, however, so you're at the mercies of the broadcasters should programmes over-run.
Fortunately, that's not a scenario you will encounter often and for the rest of the time, the DTR-T2000 proved a fabulously reliable recorder, as those that have gone before it. However, the T2000 improves on the older models by being far speedier in just about all its operations and it makes a big difference to the overall usability of the product. We never considered sluggishness to be an issue with the older units but that might change now that we have to go back to using them.
The Humx YouView DTR-T2000 is also blessed with all the major free-to-air catchup services, including BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player and Demand 5 as well as having limited access to Sky's NOW TV service and the Sky Store, if you don't mind paying. There's also a handy mobile app allowing you to set recordings form outside the home.
All in all the DTR-T2000 is an excellent PVR which improves on its predecessors in almost every way. There are one or two things missing that we would like to see but it's a definite step in the right direction and comes Highly Recommended.
Ease of Use Menus/GUI9
Picture Quality HD9
Picture Quality SD8
Value for Money8
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