PVR with similar functions as sky+hd box

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by shik, Jul 18, 2018.


    1. shik

      shik
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      Hello


      I currently have a sky+hd box but am thinking of moving over to either Freeview or Freesat (I don't mind which it is as I mainly watch terrestrial TV channels that are available on both) and am looking for a box which can replicate the features I like of the sky+ box.


      Mainly I want to:

      - series link,

      - watch one channel whilst recording another or record 2 channels whilst watching a recording or watching something on demand

      - the ability to pause and rewind live TV

      - the ability to remote record using an app on my phone when away from home.


      Are there any boxes on Freeview or Freesat which have these features please?


      Many thanks for your help.
       
    2. TJT1

      TJT1
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      HDR Fox T2 does all that with the custom firmware.
       
    3. shik

      shik
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      Thanks! Will have a look into that .
       
    4. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      The 2nd generation Humax Freesat+ boxes also can do all that without custom firmware.

      HDR-1000s, HDR-1010S and HDR-1100S and of course simply connects to your existing dish. You can also watch a 3rd channel while recording two (depends on what you are recording).

      If both recordings happen to be on the same transponder then only one tuner is used (eg BBC 1 HD and BBC 2 -HD so any other channel can be viewed (and live paused). If you view a 3rd channel from the beginning you can record that (from the time shift buffer) once one of the two recordings finishes by simply pressing the instant record button. You can also use a reminder option to ensure the box gets the programme from the beginning.
       
    5. shik

      shik
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      Thanks so much for that very helpful information! Will have a look at them
       
    6. w0z

      w0z
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      I know this isn't helpful but it's a sad fact that no other box (or none that I've looked at) comes close to the ergonomics of using Sky. Yes others might have many of the functions but the user interface isn't as intuitive.

      I'm no Sky fan or apologist, it's expensive and I wasn't keen on hassle of having to renegotiate every year, but credit where it's due their interface was the best of all I've tried. When I did have Sky I have to admit it was pleasure to use compared to Humax and Youview.
      I begrudgingly admit it is worth paying something for that (but not as much as they wanted!).
       
    7. pcaddy

      pcaddy
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      You won't be able to beat this, Humax FVP-5000T Freeview Play, it comes in 500GB,1TB and 2TB sizes. It's recommend by Home Cinema Choice in fact there's an article in that mag this month talking about the long term use of it. It's very similar to the the box of theirs that I own the FVP-4000T the previous model, you can record 4 programs at once and it has series link, the 500GB model is available in Argos, you can buy direct from them as well. My box is very good and I've had no problems with for the 2 years I've owned it. It also has a very handy feature that lets you jump ahead like 1, 2, 3 minutes and jump back 10, 15, 30 seconds so you can easily skip through the adverts. I'd highly recommend this box as it the best featured and most intuitive. Look at the Panasonic one and you'll see what I mean, complicated to use and only 2 programs record at once.
      I hope this helps.
       
    8. SOUNDSTYLE

      SOUNDSTYLE
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      I agree, you can't go wrong with the Humax FVP-5000T. The best one out there at the moment.
       
    9. TJT1

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      Or a second hand HDR Fox T2 which, with the customised firmware, knocks spots of all the others:). But the catchup options are limited.:(
       
    10. IanS

      IanS
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      Although the UI is very slow, especially so if you are used to the snappy performance from LG's WebOS Smart TVs. Humax don't seem to be that bothered in bringing out firmware updates either (there are still issues dotted around the firmware)
       
    11. SHardy

      SHardy
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      I quit Sky about 9 months ago now, and this box sounds like it could bring me back to a similar experience. However, I do have some questions about it...

      1) Does it have HDMI-CEC? My Sky HD box didn't and made it quite horrible switching between that and other devices.

      2) Does it provide full multi channel audio via HDMI? Again, the Sky HD box didn't and I had to use an optical cable alongside the HDMI cable.

      3) Does the live pause & rewind work the same as the Sky box by constantly recording up to a certain amount on the current channel (e.g. 30 minutes)? Thus allowing you to immediately rewind? The live pause function built into my TV only starts recording upon pressing pause meaning that you cannot rewind beyond that point.

      Thanks
       
    12. pcaddy

      pcaddy
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      @SHardy

      1) Yes it does.

      2) Yes it does but only on HD channels that support it, on my model I leave it on stereo and just let my AVR do sound processing, using the multi channel surround caused discrepancies in the volume between that and stereo when changing channels to ones that don't support it.
      Maybe better on the new model.

      3) Yes it does but I think that it's 90 minutes off hand.
      You can also chase recordings (start watching while it's still recording the program)

      Here is a link to the Humax page for it, you can download the user manual from the top entry in the FAQs at the bottom of the page.

      SUPPORT | HUMAX-United Kingdom

      I hope this helps.
       
    13. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      Your option 2 issue is easy to fix. Turn surround back on, tune to a HD channel and set a reasonable volume level using the avr remote control. Now tune to a SD channel and set the audio level to about the same as the HD channel using the 5000T remote. Thereafter use only the avr remote to adjust the volume.

      Consider investing in a Logitech Harmony Remote it allows the volume level control to be allocated to the avr.

      Using CEC on a 5000T creates issues as it powers up the hdmi port for a few seconds on waking from sby to make a recording. If you happen to watching TV using it's own tuner or another input you lose what you are watching for a short period.

      It also does this if remote scheduling is used when it wakes at the set interval to check for schedule changes.

      As above the Harmony remote removes the need for CEC as it will auto select the correct hdmi port on the TV while using the Watch 5000T activity.
       
      Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    14. pcaddy

      pcaddy
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      I would find setting the volume up as a waste of time as I said the AVR is set to something like DTS neo cinema and that provides an excellent surround experience on all the channels and having Dolby Digital sounds no better. As for the CEC I totally agree I don't like it, I have to have it set up for the TV and amp to do ARC but it's set up on the remote so I can turn it off from the TV otherwise I get problems playing disc's, I have a Harmony remote but not one of the fancy ones just one that controls eight sources, I find that perfect for me.
       
    15. chris owen

      chris owen
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      Interesting that What Hi-Fi gave this box 5 stars with no faults against. Yet looking at their user reviews, there are 2, both damning. Comments include, slow, poor navigation, cluttered menus etc.
      Apparently it takes 5 seconds to change HD channels. It's as though the What Hi-fi reviewer was just re-writing the Humax publicity material.
      I'm on Freesat myself,(old Foxsat) but I was interested that Humax were finally embracing 4 channel recording, and I look forward to the Freesat version, hopefully soon.
       
    16. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      There is no way a DSP attempt at creating surround sound can sound anywhere near as good as a proper 5.1 source. It's starting from just 2 discrete audio channels compared to 6. All the spatial information contained in a 5.1 source is totally lost. About the best it can do is provide some sort of guessed data that provides some sort of echo effects.

      A stereo aac broadcast (Freeview-HD doesn't use Dolby Digital, (it's converted to Dolby Digital in the box ) won't sound much different but a proper 5.1 source most certainly will. Most broadcast's are AAC 2.0. Try Dr Who or The Last Night Of The Proms. The Father Brown daytime series are also proper 5.1.

      For instance the Pearl Harbour attack scene from Pearl Harbour, the Zeros come in behind you and scream over head and disappear behind the TV. Using a mpeg 1 layer 2 conversion from AAC 5.1 will compress the bandwidth and give just 2 channels, and additionally remove the discrete bass channel (relying totally on the crossover set in your avr setup). The end result will sound nothing like it should.


      The number of devices that your Harmony can handle is not relevant provided you have enough devices.
       
    17. SHardy

      SHardy
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      It certainly does. Thank you. However...

      Regarding CEC, it is a bit disappointing to see other comments suggesting it can cause other problems.

      Regarding 5.1 audio, I was aware that only some programming on HD channels only would carry this, but I would always prefer to use the original discrete channels than pass a stereo signal for faux surround processing. Hopefully the volume difference isn't that great so as to be a real problem.

      Regarding live rewind, the user manual seems to be a bit contradictory. Firstly it states "Press the REWIND button to start rewinding back to
      where you paused
      live TV. Press the Play button at the point you want to start watching
      .". Which seems to suggest it would only start recording from where you paused. But then at the bottom of the page it says "Your recorder will start to temporarily store live TV footage 10 seconds after switching to that channel.", which sounds more like your description of it working like a Sky box. I presume that this is correct and that the former statement is just worded badly.

      Can any owners of this box comment on the supposed sluggishness? From the screenshots in the manual it didn't look particularly cluttered. The UI looks ok to me.
       
    18. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      Whoever suggested it takes 5 seconds to change channels is just plain wrong. If you tap in the the channel number or channel up/down , channel change is near instant. EG Whatever you are watching entering 101 changes instantly to BBC 1 HD as you press the last one.

      Populating the recording lists can be slow though.
       
    19. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      The boxes in respect of maintaining a live pause buffer work the same as other Humax boxes. A programme is buffered from the start of switching to the channel. Provided the live viewing channel is switched to the viewed channel the channel can be recorded from the buffer provided there are less than 4 ongoing recordings. Once one of the 4 recordings completes the viewed channel can be recorded from the beginning by simply pressing the instant record button.

      For example take the main HD-PSB mux. You can record any 4 of the 5 channels at the same time from BBC1-HD, BBC2-HD, ITV-HD, Channel 4-HD and Channel 5-HD. You can also add a reminder to watch the 5th channel in the Mux which switches the box (and boots it if in sby), thus ensuring the box is tuned to the 5th channel when the programme starts.

      Once one of the 4 recording completes you can record the 5th programme completely by pressing the instant record button.

      This far beyond the capability of a Sky-HD box.

      Probably the worst aspect of the current software is that the latest episode of a series is selected rather than the first. If you have a lot of episodes it can take a lot of programme up presses to find the oldest recording.

      There is no doubt the box is under-powered in processing remote control commands, notably any that require building a long list like your list of recordings. A G2 Freesat box is much faster for instance.

      If you buy one it will arguably be the most capable box available in recording the most channels at once and has a full complement of catch up channels plus an excellent picture.

      If you can live with the slow response, I can only suggest you buy one from the internet and send it back if you can't live with the remote.

      Incidentally a Harmony remote improves greatly on the weedy supplied remote range.


      However two HDR-FOX-T2's would be much superior if you used something else for catch up services. (Smart Phone/Tablet plus Chromecast for instance).
       
    20. pcaddy

      pcaddy
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      The only reason I mentioned about controlling eight sources was to differentiate it from the ones that do activities as opposed to just a remote (it does have one activity that is unused) I turn my AVR off at night and the equipment stand is on another wall from the TV, so a remote is best for me.
      As for the sound all films are watched on disc with HD sound, but as for the TV I'm personally quite happy with how it sounds I know it's a little better with the Dolby Digital as I have that on Netflix and Amazon. I would be bothered with it if it was HD sound but it isn't. For me it's just fine and the Arcam dose a good job with it. I love airplanes and helicopters flying over my head and shaking the room, bullets flying around me but that's best on disc by a long way which is why I have such a large collection of them, I've never watched a movie on TV for years so don't miss TV sound. I believe that a system should be setup the way it works best for me and if I lowered the volume on the Humax as you suggested it lowers all the sound so you still have to adjust the volume each time you change channel and as I'm a night person who is up till five or six in the morning I don't like changes in volume, have to think of people in other flats.
       
    21. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      The whole point of setting it up that way is to give you the same level of sound whatever channel you choose. :(

      Here's how it works

      When the box outputs Dolby Digital from a HD channel, the audio level is embedded in the data stream it cannot be varied using the box remote control. It can only be altered after the audio is decoded to a analogue stream which takes place in your AVR.

      When tuned to a SD channel the box outputs a mpeg 1 layer 2 (MP2) digital audio stream. The box remote will control the output level of MP2 audio so you can adjust it to match the HD.

      Once done whatever channel you select will have pretty much the same level.
       
    22. pcaddy

      pcaddy
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      You are correct I have found some batteries and checked the output and as you say the volume control on the Humax dose not alter the volume on Dolby Digital sound. I have found that all HD channels regardless of whether they are DD or not are not controlled by the Humax volume control, so I have set it up as you recommended. I'll have to keep some batteries in the Humax remote for a couple of days while I level it off with the SD channels. When not broadcast in DD the HD channels also revert to DTS Neo:6 Cinema the same as before.
      Thank You.
       
    23. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      All HD channels broadcast AAC audio on the primary track which the box recodes to Dolby Digital (AAC decoders are rare). They do sometimes have an extra MP2 audio track which is used for audio description selected by pressing the AD button.

      Your amplifier will engage the digital sound processor you have selected when the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 (Stereo). It still retains the enhanced dynamic range that Dolby Digital offers over MP2.
       
    24. VisionMan

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      The Humax 5000T (or 4000T) is known as a pause and play box.
      You press a button on the remote, the box pauses, then thinks about it, and then does it.
      Its GUI is also not straight forward and can be, for want of a better word, 'finicky'.
       
    25. pcaddy

      pcaddy
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      The only thing that I have found slow to load is the recording list which can take a couple of seconds to load, everything else is as quick as most other sources I use.
       

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