back to article Humax Freeview HD set-top box to debut 'early 2010'

Just days after Register Hardware was told by telly chiefs that no Freeview HD kit will be available in the UK ahead of the service’s switch-on next month, manufacturer Humax has announced the impending launch of its first Freeview HD-compatible set-top box. FOX_HD_T2_FreeviewHD Humax's Fox-HD-T2 is set up for Freeview HD As …

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

Pity they don't informally unveil the price now.

Have a Humax as one of my present Freeview boxes. It's ok, but with the new HD models I hope they've overcome the problem whereby after an hour or so you need to turn off & back on to get the programme info back. Does rather take the edge off of any recommendation. (Oh, and why on Earth they thought one needs "games" on a view box, I'll never know.)

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Unhappy

the important question...

How much?

i.e. How much more do we have to shell out because some moron at Ofcom thinks we should be at the bleeding edge of broadcasting?

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FAIL

Hope it works better than my F2 Fox

Ever since new, my F2 Fox has been unwilling to display programme info for the vast majority of programmes in the EPG. Info is there for programmes acquired shortly after the box is switched on, but very quickly the box runs out of memory and stops storing the programme descriptions.

You might expect this from a £15 box but this was allegedly an upmarket premium box. No there hasn't been a fix (not that I'm aware of).

My PVR9200 doesn't have that particular problem but is still far from perfect; I managed to fill the hard drive and that got it really confused.

Why does stuff with software in never work properly ? Why do we put up with it?

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Happy

Recommendation

Unlike AC above, I certainly don't have any such problem with my 3.5 year old PVR-9200T. I have thoroughly recommended that model in the past, and have continued to recommend replacement models. I don't expect to be seeing Freeview HD in my area for a long time yet so not that bothered about lack of price data.

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Silver badge

re: (untitled)

I'd suggest you go to http://www.hummy.org.uk/forums/ - Humax are actually very good at listening to customer concerns and have possibly addressed this already (not sure what model, my Humax is perfect).

I'm glad it's them that are first to market. Just a shame there's no magical firmware fix that could turn my PVR into HD ready :-)

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Flame

So Humax still exist?

I see they have enough time for a press release, but not enough time to respond to my support requests.

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and recorders?

Hopefully we'll get some HDHD (umm?) recorders in time for the World Cup. Won't be buying a box without a drive in it. Even if I can't enjoy it much thanks to a certain frenchman.

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Unhappy

Humax bit rot

I've reformatted my Humax, and factory-reset it, multiple times ... but the bugs still don't go away. The software has gotten worse with each upgrade. Lost programs, a persistent bug reporting program position, not bothering to record programs at all in many cases. The filesystem seems totally broken. They might want to fix the bugs in the SD firmware otherwise they'll find a lot fewer customers for their HD stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

PVR9200T

There previous models have worked well including in poor reception areas, My My PVR9200T works a dream and has no issues in the last 18 months. Where are the nokia and other cheaper boxes caused no end of problems!

But 2010? and did i read right? no backwward compatibily ? So I need to run 2x boxes over the cutover period!?

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Hold on a minute...

If DVB-T2 isn't compataible with DVB-T..

Does that mean;

a.) you need two boxes in the front room,

b.) This box contains two tuners (a DVB-T and a DVB-T2),

I spy a marketing compaign to make more money. Surely it can't be that hard to change a DVB-T box to take a DVB-T2 signal..how cheap did they go on the chips?

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Thumb Up

Re: PVR9200T

I gather from what I have read, the compatibilty issue is that DVB-T receievers (even the ones that are MPEG4 compatible) will not be able to tune into DVB-T2 transmissions (i.e. Freeview HD). However if I understand correctly, the new Freeview HD boxes are compatible with the older DVB-T standard, so it will pick up the existing Freeview channels in SD, plus the newer Freeview HD channels when they start broadcasting.

It's a bit like how DVB-S2 receivers for HD on Satellite are backwards compatible with DVB-S for SD (and some HD) transmissions.

It's a shame no pricing details have been released yet. Although I'm not going to be able to get Freeview HD in my area until August 2010, I am considering picking up a PVR box, and I'm thinking it's probably false economy now to go for a standard definition PVR box, that is unless the prices are considerably more for the HD box.

Rob

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Anonymous Coward

PVR-9200

I've had quite a few issues and some very serious with the PVR-9200.

As I understand, it has fewer software bugs than many PVR boxes out there, which is one reason why I selected it.

But, it still has serious issues. I recently lost all my recordings, because of some issue with the recorded programme list. if you have had the unit for several years and not experienced a serious fault then you are very lucky indeed. Perhaps the number of recordings you have stored on the hard disk is low, or hard disk utlisation is low.

As an ex-professional software developer and an electronics engineer that has worked on real time embedded systems, it disturbs me to see how many and the type of bugs there are in modern consumer electronics, from the PVR-9200 to my TomTom.

Some of the bugs in the TomTom are nothing other than incompetence, I would even go so far as to say, software developers lacking in skill. And so much for TomTom's quality control, software testing processes, I would seriously question

I've even read about mobile phones that lock up completely to the point where a call can not be made. This is completely unacceptable, people must always be able to make a 999 call as someone's live may depend on it. The get-out for manufacturers here is probably "We don't certify the phone for safety critical use", but the fact is, everyone uses mobiles to make those 999 calls, in the same way we used landline phones to make them. When have you ever picked up a landline phone and it not to work? Many don't have software in, and that's the reason why they work, but the expection is that you pick up a phone, any type, and for you to be able to make a 999 call on it.

Is software that complex you can't have zero defects? Some say yes. I say no. Some software developers are better than others. Although I will make an allowance in large desktop applications and operating systems.

We put up with it, because everyother product has bugs in, so we have to buy the product. If we want to use it, we have to have the bugs in it.

I could blame Microsoft at this point, because in my humble opinion, with their ethos from day one of let the customers find the bugs, of releasing software prematurely, society has accepted that software must contain bugs. It doesn't. Not small applications in embedded systems they don't.

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RotaCyclic

"When have you ever picked up a landline phone and it not to work? "

Several times. Reasons from flat battery on a cordless to a seagull eating the wire on the pole ...

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Anonymous Coward

To hard for HD

The price is what people are willing to pay.

So initially about £200 for the feeble sort of people who thing the gadget show is good.

Most Everyone else will probably start to get itchy wallets around £50 following peer pressure from the above types.

The rest of us tough nuts will eventually give in at around the £20-30 mark.

Although in a stubborn fit of defiance I may not bother at all myself as being a couch potato is no life at all.

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FAIL

@RotaCyclic

"I've even read about mobile phones that lock up completely to the point where a call can not be made"

"society has accepted that software must contain bugs. It doesn't. Not small applications in embedded systems they don't."

Sorry, but in the real world mobile phones haven't ever been "small applications in embedded systems". And that's just at layers below the UI (ie the bits that make the actual phone calls). These days the UIs are running on full-blown OSes, which are so complex that bugs _will_ get through - even if you have the best software engineers. And unfortunately, in the real world not all the engineers on a project will be brilliant software engineers (and the hardware engineers may even be fallible too).

"As an ex-professional software developer and an electronics engineer that has worked on real time embedded systems, it disturbs me to see how many and the type of bugs there are in modern consumer electronics"

If you didn't come across this when you were working in the industry then either you were _very_ lucky, or worked on simple systems. Mobile phones would be a very poor example of a simple system. I'd expect freeview receivers to be much more simple (but I'm not familiar with the internals of these devices).

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@Richard 22

I guess in a Freeview bopx you have mutile points of failure - only a few of which are under you control.

Off the top of my head you'd have tuner, display, and sound subsystems (possibly program guide as well - like you I dont know), all of which might come from different suppliers, tied together by your own 'OS' or a varation on someone elses. A bug in any of these subsystem could cause a crash. But yes, they are shocking from what I've seen - much worse than DVD players etc.

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Thumb Down

As reliable as their current offerings...?

My parents in law have just had to send back the current top of the range Humax freeview recorder due to constant lock ups and pauses on slight intereference - this was to replace their previous 9200 which also locks up, but less frequently.

Wont be recommening a Humax again - only did because I thought a Topfield may be a bit cumbersome for them and I'd have to pre-install taps - glad I got mine still running nicely...

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Unhappy

9200 is great

works like a dream, a lot of issues people may have are concerned wih your signal - you may be receiving 2 transmitters. once i sorted this on mine, the epg loads quick and it records well.

whats very upsetting is having to get a new tv and box for freeview hd!!!

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Silver badge
FAIL

Human OMFG not again

Humax. Always first to market, last to get the fscking boxes working.

With Humax its wise to follow the Microsoft rules, wait for the 3rd update before leaping in. It will still be chock-full-of-bugs but might work well enough you wont tear every hair out in frustration.

I actually unplugged my 9200 PVR for a couple of months waiting for the 3rd firmware fix (which cut the crashes down to just daily instead of hourly). Parents in law just went through the same with the Humax Freesat box.

If Humax are the only ones claiming to be ready might as well just cancel the HD launch now, no-ones going to be watching.

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Hummy Help

For Rota Cyclic or anyone who's lost a drive full of recordings, if you haven't wiped the drive and started again, there are free utilities to retrieve them available free at .hummy.org.uk

Specifically http://www.hummy.org.uk/forums/local_links.php

Need to register etc, but it's a brilliant resource.

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Stop

USB stick please

So I can just record to HD on my PC. Should be cheaper no? Oh! And what happened to the copy protection the cartels were moaning about that is not on Freesat so why it should be on Freeview is anyone's guess.

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Dead Vulture

11 days and counting, and Still no DVB-T2 HW to buy on the shops..

" James Sherwood said: ... DVB-T2 is not compatible with the DVB-T system currently used for standard-definition Freeview broadcasts."

Your Wrong, thats the whole point of the DVB-T2 its a transition Not a Innovation....

the DVB certification says all DVB-T2 devices are backwards compatable with the older spec, they can decode AVC/H.264, VC-1 and MPEG2.

it's the Other way around your thinking of perhaps ...., OC the old DVB-T can not decode AVC/H.264 as they simply DO NOT have the required AVC/H.264 codec decoder onboard their SOC (System ON a Chip) NOTHING MORE....

11 days and counting, and Still no DVB-T2 HW to buy on the shops.. for this one time world first transmission from winterhill, sack the OFCOM and BBC executives responsable for this shambles.

and pay some far east STB exec in, to bulldoze some kit through and stick it on a plain

before the day....

what you have right now is a total lack of NW and SE UK profits for the most important time of the year, the christ season quarter HD TV DVB-T2 sales that Your Users cant actually buy and use on the 2nd Dec 2009 .....crazy executives...

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Thumb Up

@USB stick please

GIGO box (as reviewed by El Reg) will do you fine but no idea when an HD model will arrive... hopefully large memory keys will be cheaper by Summer 2010

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Anonymous Coward

@11 days and counting, and Still no DVB-T2 HW to buy on the shops..

I will be surprised if there are more than a couple of hundred receivers available for sale before Christmas (it wouldn't surprise me if there was nothing until February). Broadcast launch is now mostly for political reasons because it was originally committed for the Granada switch off and has continued as it has become clearer over the past months that there will be no hardware available.

There is no hardware, STB, TV or PC available that supports DVB-T2 because silicon is not availble. BUT the main difference is not the MPEG4 AVC support which is present in most mid/high TV's these days due to use in other parts of Europe. It is instead the demodulator which is completely new technology.

For example of the current Sony TV range only the P and S series models are restricted to MPEG2. The V5xxx, W5xxx, E5xxx, Z5xxx, WE5, X4500 all support MPEG4 AVC and can receive HD signals in many European countries. Other manufacturers have similar offers at least in countries such as France where such capability is useful.

DVB-T2 is brand new technology and needs new hardware to do the conversion from the radio signal to a digital stream. This is the step before the video codec is used to decompress the video signal from within the digital stream. DVB-T2 increases by about 50% the available data rate it is possible to transmit within the same amount of spectrum (fitting about 36Mbit into a single analogue TV channel). MPEG4 AVC means that you can get more out of the available data.

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Anonymous Coward

Hummy & GIGO

hummy.org.uk seems to have gone tits up!

The GIGO box seems to be on sale at Tesco with a Grundig badge

http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.206-1980.aspx

I am an the Granada region, but seems I will have to wait for hardware.

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Silver badge

Amnesia

I have a slightly aging 9200T from Humax and it randomly drops timers from its schedule. There seems no rhyme or reason to it frankly. We've ended up with a pen/paper list that everyone checks the box against when they use it.

I hope Humax have finally fixed that bug.

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Flame

"DVB-T2 increases by about 50% the available data rate"

"DVB-T2 increases by about 50% the available data rate it is possible to transmit within the same amount of spectrum "

I realise there's a desperate shortage of watchable content on Freeview at the moment but surely it's not actually a shortage of transmission bandwidth that's responsible, otherwise there'd be no "+1" channels and fewer shopping channels?

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It's all about the interface

and this fact seems to have been lost on the designers of the Freeview boxes I've seen.

Please, TiVo, please relaunch in the UK.. (but, find a decent marketing team this time, ok?)

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Freeview HD

Is this the answer or is it not what it seems to be?

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Displays/Televisions/32/32%22+Samsung+LE32B450+4+Series+LCD+TV+with+Freeview+?productId=37015&rqcType=new#rqc

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