ON TEST: Humax's £150 Foxsat HD Freesat set-top box

We reported on the launch of Freesat earlier this week, and yesterday Humax delivered its Foxsat HD Freesat receiver to our test rooms here at Teddington Studios, writes Andy Clough.

There's been much excitement on our Forums about the new subscription-free high-definition TV service, and we couldn't wait to plug in the box and have a play.

One of the most frequently asked questions here on whathifi.com is "can I buy the box and simply plug it into my existing Sky satellite dish?".

Keen to provide an answer, we plugged the Humax into our Sky satellite socket in the main home cinema test room. The signal strength indicator showed 100 per cent, but signal quality was poor – over the course of two hours, we were only able to get it to work properly three times.

Thinking that there might be a snag with our Sky connection, we moved the set-top box into our smaller TV test room and again connected it to the Sky socket in there. Better luck this time, as we got clear picture and sound.

Just to be sure everything was working correctly, our Editor-in-Chief took the box home last night and plugged it into her Sky dish. There was no problem with the picture, both in standard-def and HD, but using the HDMI socket on the Humax to connect to her Onkyo AV receiver, there was frequent break-up on the sound when watching the HD channels. Mmm, not quite what we expected.

Suspecting that there might be a fault with the Humax box, we contacted the company's PR agency this morning and they sent us a replacement this afternoon.

We've now plugged the second box into the Sky connection in the main AV room, and so far it's worked flawlessly. We'll publish a full review with star rating of the Humax here online in the next couple of days.

[EDIT] Second box also worked perfectly in my Sky system at home, writes Clare Newsome, complete with Dolby Digital 5.1 from BBC HD via an HDMI connection. Still think it should have been a PVR, though....

Technorati Tags: 1080i, 720p, BBC HD, Freesat, HDMI , HDTV, high-def, Humax Foxsat HD, ITV HD

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.