Question Leaving Sky & seeking advice on Freesat HDRs

Bongowhack

Standard Member
Hi all, like many out there I'm fed up to the back teeth of $ky and want to finally cut the cord and venture out into the digital world on my own two feet.

Having looked about a bit, I'm considering treating myself to one of these bad boys (Humax HDR 1100s) for Christmas but I was wondering if there are better/more economical options out there. I don't have a TV aerial, only sat cables from my Sky dish (although I did replace the dish & lnb a while back to give me 8 ports).

The user interface of Sky is so easy & intuitive and I've ditched an old Grundig Freesat viewer box in the past as it was just too clunky to navigate round - are Humax sets good, easy, quick &a reliable to navigate and use?

Any advice is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Mike
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Choose your Freesat box - over 200 TV and Radio Channels - subscription free

There is only Humax to choose from except 2nd user and non-Freesat branded generic sat receivers that get an unofficial 7-day epg via the internet. (I have no experience of such units).

I have old Foxsat-HDRs and an old -T2 terrestrial box: the Humax user interface and remote control layout can be a trifle 'odd' in some ways and maybe not as intuitive as a $ky remote... but you will get used to it given time ;)

You have little other choice... Humax refurbs can provide good value sometimes. Cosider a 1TB model if you record a lot of HD... and be aware that there are fewer HD channels than on $ky (we've only recently got 5 in HD!).
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
I see where I've gone wrong - I spotted an expensive Freesat recorder from Panasonic but it turns out its main function is a DVD recorder!

Anyways, is it worth my while investing in a Humax box or just sticking with the $ky box I already have when I cancel my contract? I know I won't be able to pause & record without a subscription but will I still have access to catch up TV etc after cancelling as I do now? (I don't pay any extra for box sets etc, I just get the standard acces to iPlayer etc). I'm not that fussed over HD tbh either but I do like the idea of being able to skip back through the epg with Freetime & record stuff though.

Thanks again
 
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Retaining access to iPlyer requires a minimum of a Sky+ subscription at just over £10 a month access to the other catchup services from the FTA channels require aminimum sub of the Original pack at £20 per month. This is down to the way carchup services work on Sky by progressive download (instead of streaming) via the HDD which avoids buffering problems on sloweer internet connections.
 

Welshman68

Novice Member
There is more than one way to get catch up tv example Amazon fire stick or a now tv box gives you catch up for free
That would leave you focusing on a decent recording freesat box
Or humax make the youview tv boxes which are really good and do catch up integrated if you have a decent tv aerial as it is free view but better
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
Thanks again for all the info.

I don't have a TV aerial so it's got to be Freesat and the convenience of having everything in one control means I think I'll give a Now TV box a miss.

The more I learn, the more it looks like a Humax DVR is the way to go.

I do still have a couple of questions if you could indulge me:

Do Humax boxes download & store catch up programmes or just stream them?

Is the Humax remote programmable to control the TV volume & power similar to the $ky remote?

Is it possible to add to the HDD space on a Humax box? I assume not but thought I'd ask.

Will I still be able to watch my previously recorded programmes on my $ky box when I cancel (I know I won't be able to see any $ky channel shows but will previously recorded BBC shows be encrypted on there & hence be unwatchable too).

And finally, is there an easy and cheap way to get my recordings off my $ky box? I've used a capture device with my laptop in the past but it's old now & I can't find drivers for Windows 10 these days so don't have that option anymore. I picked up another cheap one from ALDI a while ago but the software that came with it just shows a black screen when connected as if it's protected content or something and won't let me record it.

I know I'm asking a lot but your help is much appreciated.
 

logiciel

Moderator
You won't be able to play any recordings on the Sky machine.
What did you get from Aldi?
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Some Humax remotes have extra buttons to control additional devices. Even on these you have to press the TV button before changing the volume. Best to buy a low end Harmony remote.

The Freesat boxes don't store on demand content in the same way as Sky ones but they do have a decent streaming buffer, so if you have a slow connection pausing will build up a decent buffer on the box. On a HDR-FOX-T2 (which the Custom Firmware lets you create a recording file from the streaming buffer) on my 70Mbps download a 1HR BBC iplayer HD programme is complete in the buffer in less than 5 minutes.

You can easily change the internal drive on Humax G2 boxes to a 2TB one. So far afaik there is no way to copy back your old recordings from the old disk though.

Pretty sure your old recordings from FTA channels will still be viewable.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
You won't be able to play any recordings on the Sky machine.
What did you get from Aldi?

Are you sure ? Seen many posts that recordings from FTA channels (like the BBC) are still viewable. You can't of course add any new ones.
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
It was a USB video capture device (the size of a large USB stick - not at home so can't get the make & model) which has RCA inputs that I picked up from ALDI but it doesn't work. I successfully used something similar (a Dazzle if I remember correctly) in the past to copy recordings from my $ky box but that one isn't supported on recent versions of Windows.
 

logiciel

Moderator
That's correct about my machine, but I too have seen posts to the contrary!

A stick type may not work but you can use a recorder to keep those programmes.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
It was a USB video capture device (the size of a large USB stick - not at home so can't get the make & model) which has RCA inputs that I picked up from ALDI but it doesn't work. I successfully used something similar (a Dazzle if I remember correctly) in the past to copy recordings from my $ky box but that one isn't supported on recent versions of Windows.

Sky boxes are able to use macrovision copy protection, if enabled you can't record from a composite video output.
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
That being the case, is there something I could use to record HDMI output? I can hear the cost mounting with each question I ask!
 

logiciel

Moderator
Obviously not HDMI, but Scart or RCA connections?
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
It was RCA that I used with the recent ALDI purchase but it didn't work. Maybe I just need a better bit of kit.

Does anyone know of a relatively cheap video capture device that is known to record video from a $ky+ HD box on a computer running Windows 10?
 
Are you sure ? Seen many posts that recordings from FTA channels (like the BBC) are still viewable. You can't of course add any new ones.
Absolutely positive that any recordings (FTA or sub) will NOT playback without at least a Sky+ subscription. There have been some instances where Sky have given free Sky+ to cancelling subscribers and others where the Sky+ sub has not been caancelled from the viewing card but these are rare.
Sky subscriptions entitle you to view live or time shifted but NOT to make archive recordings. All Sky+ and Sky HD+ manuals and packaging have stated since 1998 that a subscription is required for any Sky+ features (record, live pause or playing recordings)
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
That being the case, is there something I could use to record HDMI output? I can hear the cost mounting with each question I ask!

You have a number of hurdles to get over. HDMI has HDCP copy protection.

1 When you connect a HDCP protected output to a HDMI input the two devices interchange information in a process known as handshaking. This includes the destination device telling the source what video and audio standards it supports and most importantly that the source is connected to a display device (monitor/TV) and not a recorder.

2 Recorders with HDMI inputs are rare, in general they are designed to capture non copyright gaming output from HD games consoles. Because the content isn't protected they will work. They cost around £100.00 or so plus the cost of a usb drive to record to.

A few years ago sync restorers were widely available, these get over the primitive macrovision composite video protection. TBH the picture quality recording in this way is pretty dire.

UK Free Broadcasting isn't encrypted but licensed Freeview and Freesat pvr are obliged to provide a way of encrypting the content as it is written to the hard disk. Sky premium content is encrypted at source, hence the requirement for a smart card to use it. Like Freesat boxes though I imagine Sky boxes will also encrypt FTA content when recording to the hard disk.

Generic Free TO Air satellite and terrestrial recording kit don't have to encrypt. Recordings made on these devices can be used anywhere.

For example you can get a USB DVB-T2/DVB-S2 recording device that will connect to a suitably specced laptop that will record live TV and produce files that are not protected in any way. Just don't try and flog them down the local car boot :)
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
There is an option on the $ky box within the Planner to "copy" programmes. This sets up your selected recordings to play one after the other to enable you to record them in real-time using a capture device like I've done in the past. I've successfully done this before on an older box and with an older capture device which now isn't supported so I know it was definitely possible back then.

The "copy" option is still present on my +HD box as a native feature so if they're now encrypting the RCA/Scart output, how can you ever make use of this feature?!
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
There is an option on the $ky box within the Planner to "copy" programmes. This sets up your selected recordings to play one after the other to enable you to record them in real-time using a capture device like I've done in the past. I've successfully done this before on an older box and with an older capture device which now isn't supported so I know it was definitely possible back then.

The "copy" option is still present on my +HD box as a native feature so if they're now encrypting the RCA/Scart output, how can you ever make use of this feature?!

Macrovision isn't encryption (this only works with digital content). It's messing with the control signals that a vcr or other analogue recording device uses to keep the signal synchronised. Of course it may be a red herring, have you anything else that outputs composite video (SD camcorder for example) so you can check the usb capture device you have actually works ?

You could try an EZcap, if you buy from Amazon and it doesn't work you can send it back.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ezcap1168-...81904877&sr=8-15&keywords=ezcap+video+capture
 

Bongowhack

Standard Member
I'm on holiday from this afternoon so wil have a good test session with my current kit to work out once and for all of it's the device or the box that's causing the problem.

Thanks for all the advice - it looks like I'll be investing in a Humax regardless and will have a go at liberating the recorded shows on my $ky box before I pull the plug.

I appreciate your help.
 

logiciel

Moderator
This sets up your selected recordings to play one after the other to enable you to record them in real-time using a capture device like I've done in the past
That's what you use.
 
Sky premium content is encrypted at source, hence the requirement for a smart card to use it. Like Freesat boxes though I imagine Sky boxes will also encrypt FTA content when recording to the hard disk.
Sky do NOT encrypt FTA content to the HDD but as they use a proprietary file system you need a program called +Extract to extract the FTA content to another media/HDD with the Sky HDD in a PC or attached to a laptop.

BTW the only times I have seen Macrovision copy protection used on Sky was by Nat Geo and the BBC (although I suspect that was an incorrectly set flag rather than deliberate)
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Sky do NOT encrypt FTA content to the HDD but as they use a proprietary file system you need a program called +Extract to extract the FTA content to another media/HDD with the Sky HDD in a PC or attached to a laptop.

BTW the only times I have seen Macrovision copy protection used on Sky was by Nat Geo and the BBC (although I suspect that was an incorrectly set flag rather than deliberate)

Does that include FTA HD content ? Many HD freeview/freesat boxes don't encrypt SD only HD. I would be surprised if the BBC for instance allow only the easily defeated protection of a different file system to protect such content. So the OP could export all his FTA recordings HD and SD to a PC, which surely solves his problem at least as far as SD FTA content. Surprised you didn't mention this before.
 
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grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Which is easily and very cheaply defeated... Google is your friend :D

I know but not sure what you can say and not be accused of encouraging illegal activities. I use one of these to feed a HDMI balun to feed a second TV that throws a wobbly if you turn off the secondary TV connected to a AV receiver with two outputs. The receiver when set to output to two hdmi outputs has to HDCP negotiate on both units which it can't do when one is turned off.
 

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