Best Freeview HD recorder, Awards 2013. If you want an easy way to watch on-demand TV, and you care about style, the Humax DTR-T1010 should be top of your shortlistWrite your own review
- Excellent catch-up offerings
- Easy to use
- Good picture quality
- 500GB hard drive won’t fill up in a hurry
- No built-in wi-fi
The Humax DTR-T1010 YouView box looks strikingly different to last year’s Award-winning DTR-T1000. Where the old version was black and sleek, this one is silver and sleeker.
And that’s where the differences end: apart from moving one of the two USB ports to the front behind a panel, the specs are identical. Not that this matters. The original Humax box was a corker, and that necessarily remains the case here.
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YouView, for the uninitiated, is a free service that uses your broadband connection to pipe through content from all the major catch-up services. It differs from the regular catch-up apps available on TVs and other peripherals in that the content is far more intuitively organised.
Instead of going into individual apps to find things to watch (although you can do this if you like), you can search them all at once, browse them all at the same time by genre or go back in the electronic programme guide to select them as you would any regular TV show. So that's BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5, all on one box. Now TV, powered by Sky, is also available.
Setting up the Humax DTR-T1010 is a breeze. You’re taken through it by a step-by-step booklet, and all the cables you need (except one for the antenna socket) are included to make life even easier. On-screen instructions guide you through the rest.
The box finds your router and connects to the internet automatically, although it’s ethernet only. We won’t lose too much sleep over this, though, because this is a more stable connection method than Wi-Fi anyway.
Next, set your postcode for local services, then choose a PIN for locking the naughty content and set the Eco-Mode (which greatly affects start-up time) and you’re done.
It’s a far cry from those days of your dad – or maybe even you – laying prone on the living room floor, cursing robustly as he – or you – stabbed at the tiny buttons under the front flap of that new video recorder.
Inside this box is a 500GB hard drive. Pay around £20 more and you can get the 1TB option, which sounds like a good shout to us.
The T1010’s interface is lovely to use. It looks nice, doesn’t stutter when scrolling and presents a decent amount of information about each programme in the guide. It would be nice to be able to re-order this, though.
The HD channels are way down the list, next to the adult content. That’s correct numerically but it would be nice to have them up at the top next to their counterpart standard-def versions.
Press the YouView button on the well laid-out remote control and you can choose between settings, on-demand content, search and your hard-drive library. We found the search particularly useful: it trawls all the available content, regardless of where it appears, and presents it in one list.
You can also see programmes related to the one you’ve selected, which is great if you aren’t sure what you want to watch.
We’ve no complaints with the Humax YouView box’s picture quality either. Regardless of the service we used, it was clear and pretty much judder-free – although this will obviously depend on your broadband connection.
On the PVR side there are two tuners, so you can record one channel while watching another. Or, for that matter, record two channels while you watch on-demand content. The box even alerts you if a programme you’ve chosen to record in SD is available on a high-def channel, which is nice.
The tuners themselves do a good job. Standard and HD pictures are clean and detailed, with decent motion handling and sharply drawn edges.
The Humax DTR-T1010 YouView box doesn’t go in for bells and whistles. You can’t stream content over your network, for example. Nor can you connect a USB stick or external hard drive to the USB ports (they’re marked ‘for future use’ only).
And there are no apps such as YouTube or Facebook. But you know what? We don’t mind. This box does what it does extremely well – and that’s why it easily hangs on to its five-star rating.