Please help me! Humax Foxsat HDR vs Sky+ for recording FTA Channels


Standard Member
This is my first post. Apologies in advance for such a long mail. I hope this makes sense.

My Mum spends a lot of time at home as she is physically disabled and her only pleasure is her TV and the many shows which she likes to watch over again.

I got my parents (who are both retired) Virgin Media cable TV installed around 6 months ago, as with the Virgin Media cable, my Mum can get the premium indian channels ie Zee TV, Sony Entertainment Asia, Star Plus etc at a fraction of the cost we were paying to Sky, and these same channels are broadcast through to another box for my Dad (who is her carer but doesn't like to watch the same shows as my Mum!) at the same price (except for the extra £5.50 for the additional box), unlike with Sky that also requires additional individual subscriptions.

I set their old Sky box as a freesat box and connected this to a VCR, but this has infuriated my Mum and has really upset her that she cannot record her programmes (received on Sky freesat but not on the Virgin Media cable) the same way as with the Sky subscription.

I was about to purchase a Humax Foxsat HDR 1TB in order for my Mum to record the non-premium indian channels that the old sky box (currently being used as the freesat box) has, but which I believe the Humax Foxsat HDR would term as the free to air channels.

I would be comfortable manually tuning in these channels, however, i became confused when i realised that these FTA programmes could only be recorded by manually pressing record (or possibly setting a timer) which my Mum has difficultly doing. (P.S. I apologise I am not too good when it comes to both hardware's and software's but i am learning!)

I was really hoping for a freesat/free to air system which would allow recording of these programmes like the old sky system that she was happy to use and is upset with me that she cannot record her programmes that way.

While googling, I came across posts here and on Digitalspy and the link for the "Media & File Server Bundle for the Foxsat HDR - Release 4,0", and I became excited that if i followed the instructions, the firmware would allow recording of the FTA channels the same way the freesat ones can be recorded through the EPG ie scheduled recording and series link.

Have i understood this posted link correctly or have i confused myself ((and probably you too)) even further!?

I really wanted to avoid paying Sky to allow the Sky+ functionality as my parents had many problems with Sky and their customer services in the past which created a lot of stress for my parents.

However, I am unsure that the only way to make my Mum happy, would be for me to also re-subscribe to Sky, along with subscribing to Virgin Media, so that the FTA non-premium indian channels that show up in the Sky EPG can be easily recorded by my Mum.

in summary (!):

1. should I purchase the Humax Foxsat HDR and would this fulfil my Mum's requirements (with the additional software)?; or

2. would re-subsricption to the Sky service to enable the record functionality (ie sky+) of the free to air channels be the best option?

I am very sorry to pester and especially with such a long message. If anyone does manage to find some time to advise me I would be extremely grateful and this would help me to make the best decision and most importantly, this advice would contribute to my Mum's happiness!

I hope that you all had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you all a Very Happy New Year for 2012!

Many thanks and best regards,



Hi - welcome to AVF - thanks for the greetings, and all the best to you and your family.
One possibility is the facility to use Sky+ without a channel subscription, by paying £10 a month.
The additional software on the Humax will NOT add future EPG data on non freesat channels to allow recording them from the EPG beyond at the most "now and next" programme information.

Another possible solution is a new platform that is in the process of launching at present - Real Digital which will initially at least list all the FTA channels on its EPG. However its PVR is at present rather expensive at £300 and has very limited availability - also at present many people are doubting whether the service is viable and will survive for any length of time.

See here
REAL Digital TV - Wall | Facebook


and here
REAL Digital TV


Standard Member and davemurgatroyd2 thank you so much for your time and advice.

I think at this moment in time it may be best then for me to try and get the Sky+ without a channel subscription, by paying the £10 a month.

But do you know if this payment of £10 a month locks you into a minimum term ie 12 months, or can this be cancelled at anytime?

Thanks again! :)


That's OK, and as it isn't a subscription my guess is that it wouldn't start a twelve month contract, but you'd need to check on that.
On the other hand a minimum subscription of £20 isn't all that much more and it gets you a good range of channels as well as the Sky+ facilities but would need a twelve month contract.


Standard Member
logiciel thanks again!

I will call Sky and enquire the best way forward.

Although i did have my heart set on getting my parents the Humax as it looks really cool :) i was just reading through the user manual and it says it has a cam slot or (ci-slot). I don't know if this slot enables the FTA channels to appear in some sort of EPG in order to automatically record the non-freesat channels or series link them etc?

(im trying to convince my Mum that the Humax is wonderful and she will just need a bit of practice to recording the FTA channels… But She's Not Buying It !! :facepalm: )


Well-known Member
A CAM (Conditional Access Module) does nothing for FTA (Free To Air) channels. It merely allows you to put in a subscription card for encrypted (but NOT Sky) programmes.

I was about to congratulate you on your impeccable English but then you typed "im". :rolleyes:


Standard Member
Thanks Martin, that clears the CAM up as a no go then!

My heart still refuses to give into paying Sky again and I spent much of today just googling to see if there is anyway to record the FTA, like with a Freesat/Sky EPG. I came across another PVR made by Technomate and thought this might be the one…

However, my mind has now understood that until these FTA channels (there is only two that my Mum wants the ability to record called Sikh TV and Sunrise TV) pay to be included in a non Sky EPG, then there will only be a manual record and now and next function on those channels regardless of the hardware! :(

My heart has now given into my mind - i shall have to pay Sky. :thumbsdow

Oh well, I will try and keep abreast of these brilliant forums and watch out for when, if ever, my Mum's required FTA channels appear in an EPG… THEN I WILL GET THE FOXSAT :clap:

(for my reference, is anyone aware if there is a site which notes/informs of when/if an FTA channel becomes part of the Freesat EPG??)

Thank you all for your time.

((P.S. haha… my 'im' was my mind going into slang drive due to this frustration! It's crazy because even though we have to pay for the premium indian channels through Virgin Media (which is much cheaper than through Sky), my Mum still wants the free to air ones from Freesat too and "they must be recordable like my other ones! - Mum" !!! )) P.P.S. Mothers are never happy :p

HAPPY NEW YEAR ! :thumbsup:


I came across another PVR made by Technomate
They make several models of satellite receiver that can record, though more often to an external drive than an internal like standard PVRs.
As you say though, unless the channels go on to either the Freesat or the Real Digital EPGs, the only machines on which you can set advance recordings automatically for them are Sky's.
I haven't actually come across any channel that's been added to the original Freesat EPG, but of course you can always check what's on it at their web site: freesat Channels - Free Satellite, HD & Radio Channels - freesat.
While you are there I'd suggesting at least looking at ALL their machines, as although Humax is the name that gets the most mentions around here, it's not the only one and you might like others better.;)


Well-known Member
(for my reference, is anyone aware if there is a site which notes/informs of when/if an FTA channel becomes part of the Freesat EPG??)

Well, if somebody bothers to tell me, I'll put it in my monthly SatCure blog. :)

I'm lucky that my mother (84 next week) speaks only English and is happy with Freeview. She did go through a phase of Virgin until we realised she wasn't watching anything other than the usual 5 channels!

Also, luckily, she isn't interested in recording anything. :rolleyes:


until these FTA channels (there is only two that my Mum wants the ability to record called Sikh TV and Sunrise TV) pay to be included in a non Sky EPG
They are on the EPG of Real Digital: REAL Digital TV.

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