Channel 5

Humax DTR-1000 YouView

Thursday 25 October 2012

G-Rating

Rating of 5

The basics

Better late than never: YouView is here. The Humax DTR-1000, with twin tuners and a hearty 500GB hard drive, is the world's first set top box to run the new service, which merges all the catch-up services from the nation's leading broadcasters into one slick interface. All you need is a broadband connection and presto, it's PVR 2.0. YouView was originally planned for 2010 though, and suffered from delays. Two years on, with games consoles and Blu-ray players doing double duty as smart TV boxes, has it been worth the wait?

The good

Specs-wise, the Humax DTR-1000 is a perfectly ordinary set top box: its 500GB hard drive will stash more HD recordings than you could feasibly watch in several rainy weekends, and twin tuners mean you can record one channel while watching another (or two simultaneously while watching catch up). The hardware is, as you'd expect from Humax, top quality. The remote, usually cheap and tacky with Freeview boxes, is solid and glossy. It feels like a lot of love has been poured into the whole product. It also proudly displays a badge proclaiming its British heritage, and a giant Union Jack on the side of the packaging. That’s good but not groundbreaking. But YouView really has been worth the wait. There’s no denying that the Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 have become serious entertainment boxes beyond games in the last two years, with the addition of every major terrestrial broadcaster’s catch up service. But they’re all walled off from each other: try getting your gran to figure out their individual kinks and controls. YouView however, merges them all together into one slick EPG. BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5, all there and searchable - Sky’s NowTV is onb the way too. It achieves the near impossible: it blends a bunch of proprietary on-demand players with a single, sensible UI. You can search for on-demand content across all providers without ever leaving the YouView menu, and the whole experience is incredibly solid. In fact, it's friendly too. If something's taking a while to load, you'll see messages like "loading..." pop up, followed by "nearly there...". This is on-demand, web-enabled TV that your mum could use. Chances are, she might not even realise that she's using a web-connected TV, and that’s a very good thing indeed.

The bad

We can barely fault the software on the Humax DTR-1000. It can only be improved, not fixed: we can’t wait to see what sort of second screen experiences can be woven into YouView. But for all its ease of use, the box does have its limitations. Despite a USB port on the front, you can’t play back any videos on a memory stick, as you can most new video players and set top boxes. And nor can you push video, images or music to it over your home network, which seems like a bit of an oversight in the age of AirPlay. There’s also the issue of connecting the Humax DTR-1000 to the web. The current model doesn’t have Wi-Fi built in, so we hope your TV is next to your router, because otherwise you’re going to have to faff around trying to set up powerline adaptors. And that’s not quite as simple as pressing play, like the rest of YouView is.

The bottom line

The big name shows you search for might be American, but for once, we Brits can be proud: We've built a free TV service to beat all others. Yes, it may be missing Netflix and all of Samsung’s ropey TV apps, but the Humax DTR-1000 is the best example of a true smart TV we’ve seen yet, simply because it works. Of course, £239 is a big asking point, but if you’re after a new PVR, and not one that does double duty playing Call of Duty, this is the best there is.
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Humax DTR-1000 YouView is tagged with Humax, dtr-1000, PVR and YouView. Select a tag (Humax, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (7)

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Tom W

The catch-up and on-demand content has been well integrated but as a PVR it leaves a lot to be desired. I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the lack of basic features which are standard on other (much cheaper) PVRs, for example - No way to search the EPG (you can only search catch-up / on-demand) No way to hide or delete unwanted channels or select favourite channels No skip Function only Fast Foward No option to create folders in the archive No way to select mutilple items to delete from the archive No manual timer scheduling or edit timer function No padding of timers (already causing truncated recordings on some channels) No manual tuning (good luck with that if you live on the boundary of two transmitters) And the slow start time, over 2 mins in Eco mode! If you're interested primarily in a PVR and not bothered about catch-up / on-demand (which can already be accessed via most Smart TVs, Games Consoles, iPads etc) then I think the Humax HDR-FOX T2 offers a much better feature set and is £50 cheaper than the YouView box.

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Tom W

If I work for another company why would I recommend the Humax HDR-FOX T2? A PVR made by the SAME COMPANY! In my opinion the Humax YouView box is great for catch-up and on-demand, as a PVR.....not so much. Although to be fair I think some of the missing features have now been implemented in a recent firmware update. How is that trolling? FFS if you don't want read an objective review then why bother reading the Gadget Show review in the first place!? It's seems like you're the one with the agenda. Maybe you work for YouView.

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Ray

I bought the 1TB version of the Humax YouView and I have had some problems with it. When in low energy saving standby mode, which gives a shorter start up time, 9 out of 10 times, there is a problem with the video and sound output. No sound and very blue picture. This is overcome by going into standby for a second or two and then back on again. I tried using the unit set for standby with high energy saving and 2 out of 3 times it would lock up part way through the start up process and the only way to overcome this was completely power down. I exchanged the unit at the store where I bought it and the replacement unit did exactly the same. This would point to a bug in the software! Other than the start up problems, it seems to work well but one serious shortcoming that I have found is the lack of ability to set any kind of overrun time, just in case a program is running a little late. Has anyone else noticed any problems with the start up?

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Matt H

New firmware upgrade now allows searching on EPG, for now and mext 7 days. Youview iPhone app is good additional to allow you to remote set the record feature; it is rather flakey but should be updated soon which will be good. Overall the interface is great and works well, and with what seem like monthly updates improvements are being made which is good.

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DayMare

If you cant afford a Sky+ sub ... this is the next best thing. The On Demand features are free and ALL terrestrial OD features are present. NowTV is also very good on it. You will need AT LEAST a 2mb internet connection to play On Demand on this.

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MARTIN S

For a cheaper alternative to the humax try the talk talk youview box. I purchased one from ebay for £51.00 + P&P brand spanking new. It's a great piece of kit for the money and does everything or nearly everything the Humax does for a quarter of the price. On demand, catch up, excellent PVR, prefer it to my old sky+. Remote control works tv for volume, power and even AV so you can switch between HDMi channels. That's something my sky remote doesn't do. No wifi but I just bought a SKY wireless adapter, SC201 off ebay for a tenner and am up and running. All in al money well spent.

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