Manhattan T3-R and Humax Aura - My Thoughts

UnderAndOver

Novice Member
Hi all,

I have become tired of the ever increasing bloatware, advertising, sponsorship and marketing that modern televisions and television programs have been ramming down my throat. It seems to have gotten so much worse over the last 5-10 years, or maybe I'm just getting older and more frustrated.
Whatever the reason, I decided i would buy each of the two leading PVRs to see if either could restore my escapism and allow me to watch TV somewhat unburdened. I purchased the Manhattan T3-R and Humax Aura and have been trial testing them over the last few days. I believe I've tried every stock feature, pressed every button and tinkered with every setting to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. I thought I would give a (very) brief summary of my findings for anyone contemplating a purchase here.

My must haves:
  1. Little/no advertising, pop ups, marketing or bloatware shoved in my face
  2. A means to record live TV thus enabling me to skip ads
  3. The Plex client app

Manhattan T3-R
+Simple but polished UI, I didn't feel it was cluttered or had irrelevant screens. The UI seemed intuitive, very responsive and polished. There were no annoyances i could find with the UI e.g. when you exit the guide and the overlay pops up - my Samsung TV does this all the time.
+Remote was intuitive and had just the right amount of buttons without confusion or duplication. The buttons press well with a satisfying thud. Neither too hard or soft. I was able to link the remote successfully to my samsung TV so i only have to use the Manhattan remote. There is ONE home button.
+No advertising, bloatware or popups anywhere to be seen (thank god)
+No sponsored buttons on the remote
+Flawless viewing channels, recording channels. Picture quality of both were great. Although i prefer HD channels i am an Average Joe user and dont care so much about 4K, UHD or whatever.
+All of the UK catchup apps are preinstalled - BBC, ITV, Ch4, Ch5, CBS, Horror, Pop and Freeview play explorer
+Additional apps preinstalled are Youtube, Youtube Kids and Britbox

-Plex app missing (As too are all the other subscription services if you want them - Netflix, Amazon Prime etc)
-Only a 6 row guide with no option to increase amount of rows. Seems like a lot of real estate is wasted at the top which i'd prefer to be smaller.
-No way to filter guide based on program (i noticed the Humax can filter i.e. highlight all movies in the guide which i thought was neat)
-Some other minor customisations missing

Summary: Its seems the developers of this PVR have gone all out on the polished UI and resistance to modern day sponsorship/advertising. In general Its a great PVR and maybe the best available for the escapist purpose. Picture and recording quality were both great and the lack of a third tuner didnt bother me at all. For me though the lack of the Plex app is a huge blow as i have a lot of my own media i like to stream on my different TVs - it adds to the escapism. Some may also be unhappy without subscription viewing apps such as Netflix. I would guess if they were ever to come to the Manhattan they might also bring advertising, sponsored remote buttons etc which might detract from the apparent goal of the developer.

Humax Aura
+As with the Manhattan, picture quality of both live TV and recorded TV were generally great. Remember im not obsessed with resolution, aspect ratio, 4K or any of that stuff.
+Fully featured with all catchup apps, Plex and almost all subscription viewing apps
+Google assistant on the remote was a nice perk but it did bring up sponsored results sometimes (see below)
+7 row guide was nice and there were also some buttons to filter (highlight) program types e.g. movies
+The UI was fast and responsive
+Remote had a good tactile feel and button presses were also satisying
+Settings seemed to have far more options to customise than the Manhattan

-Highly cluttered UI, there are multiple pages, menus and submenus. The amount of boxes on the screen is completely unintuitive and there seems to be a lot of repetition between pages. More screens does not make it better, but rather far worse.
-Remote mirrors the UI with several unnecessary "Menu" buttons. There is a home button, freeview play button, top picks, kids and apps button. There is a Prime Video button which i am absolutely not a fan of.
-Comes preloaded with bloatware/sponsored apps and hard coded advertisements. I was able uninstall the prime video app but Google Movies and the likes cannot be removed. On the home page there are sponsored advertisements for the likes of Disney+ which cannot be removed. The google assist search button often comes back with sponsored results even if you dont have the respective subscription viewing app installed e.g. "Buy Lethal Weapon II on Prime Video for 7.99".
-The live TV overlay is cluttered with thumbnails of what is coming up next. I also found it to annoyingly popup when i exitted home and when i skipped the adverts during recorded TV.
-Refresh rate changing set to "Low" flickered the screen a bit between some channels but this can be disabled and probably fixed over time.

Summary: Its a decent PVR which despite its flaws will probably make a lot of people happy. The PVR performed as it was intended and I didn't see any major picture issues or crashes that others have reported. Its nice to have everything under one umbrella i guess but not at the cost of a cluttered UI or advertising. Its seems however if you want access to subscription viewing apps then you better be prepared for some bloat/advertising. Maybe its just me but this actually put me off recording shows which was one of my main needs. For me the purpose of getting a PVR is to escape the confusion, clutter and marketing of daily life but with this PVR it seems i am no better off than with my smart TV.

My preference is the Manhattan T3-R which i may decide to keep. I only hope the developer is open to implementing some QoL feature requests from me and looks into getting Plex installed.

Hope this helps
 

MReed

Active Member
My Panasonic pvr+DVD box has been playing up and have been contemplating getting one of these 2 boxes and as you say, the Manhattan has the edge. Only problem is I'll have to get a DVD player and HDMI switch as the tv only has 2 HDMI ports both in use. Other than that I'll have to hunt down another panny pcr that incorporates a DVD player.
 

Gazer

Novice Member
I have the Manhattan and a Humax FVP-5000T (the one before the Aura). Everything you've written about the Manhattan is accurate. I completely agree.

I don't know about Plex, can if be run from a Google Chromecast for TV?

I use a Google Chromecast For TV for any subscription services like BTSport, Amazon Prime, or even just watching YouTube. Google Stadia and other Android games can be played on the Chromecast For TV too.

The Humax FVP-5000T is ok, good but not as easy as the Manhattan. It's sluggish. Anyway.
 

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