Best Digital HD recorder, Awards 2012. This long-awaited box is a mighty fine PVR, and a hassle-free introduction to the world of catch-up and on-demand TVWrite your own review
- Intuitive menus
- easy to find on-demand content
- good picture and sound quality
- A little pricey
- no built-in wi-fi
YouView has finally arrived. The internet TV service backed by the likes of the BBC, ITV, BT, TalkTalk and Lord “You’re fired” Sugar has been designed to bring key (not to mention free) catch-up and on-demand streaming services – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 – all under one easily accessible roof.
Say hello to YouView
The Humax DTR-T1000 is the first piece of hardware to deliver this service. And as you’d expect from Humax, it’s also a PVR with twin DVB T2 HD tuners and a 500GB hard drive.
There’s an HDMI output on the back, but it’s disappointing that the T1000 uses ethernet and not wi-fi. This is arguably the most stable way to stream video, though, and works well via a powerline system if your router is in a different room.
Humax’s set-top boxes have always been easy to use, and the DTR-T1000 is a brilliant example of how it should be done. The new-look YouView menus look fresh and inviting, and the re-styled Humax remote does the job with large, finger-friendly buttons. A blue ‘Y’ button takes you to the main home page from where you can access live TV and on-demand content.
The beauty of this particular guide is that it shows seven days ahead, and also seven days back. If shows are available through any of the catch-up TV services, you’ll see a little play button icon.
Select it and you’ll be taken to the corresponding catch-up service where you can start playback. You can also use the search function to go straight to a series, or a particular episode of a programme you’d like to catch up on.
You can still carry out basic PVR functions too, such as recording one digital HD channel while watching another and recording two digital HD channels while watching on-demand content.
We tried everything from a high-def EastEnders rerun using the BBC iPlayer to a standard-def stream of The Hotel Inspector via Demand 5, and the picture was stable with only a hint of judder and noise. Detail levels are good and the overall picture is punchy, colourful and bright.
Switch to the digital HD tuners and quality goes up a notch, especially with the BBC’s HD channels. Olympic footage looks excellent, boasting detail, edge definition and good motion handling. Standard-def brings a drop in quality, but the basic strengths of the Humax remain.
Don’t be worried about getting confused by the services on offer – the Humax is painless to use. It’s pricey next to other PVRs, though, and we’d like a few more content providers, such as YouTube and maybe one of the movie-streaming services, (although Sky’s pay-per-view Now TV service should arrive on the platform soon).
But there’s a definite appeal to YouView and the way it’s accessible in this Humax box makes it highly recommendable.