humax hd-fox t2 freeview hd

And you could do worse than to receive those broadcasts on the HD-Fox T2. It may only be a receiver, with no hard drive and no recording talents (yet), but Humax has put a lot of care and attention into its feature list in order to offer future-proofing and value for money.

As a result, it certainly has enough extra talents that'll help the box stand out, even amongst a sizeable crowd of peers.

To begin with, it is a half-decent media streamer - capable of playing DivX, XviD, MP3 and JPEG files stored remotely.

The Ethernet port on the rear (which may have a further future use if Freeview MD Ilse Howling's 'Project Canvas' mutterings come to fruition) allows you to hook the box to your home network and subsequently access your media.

humax hd-fox t2 freeview hd
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Sadly, there's no Wi-Fi - wired connection only - and its file-compatibility list could be written on the back of an ant, but for those only just getting into the world of DLNA, it's a doddle to set up and provides a happy, user-friendly experience.

You can also play the same file line-up via a USB memory stick thrust into the back of the unit.

Again, as with the Ethernet port, the USB 2.0 socket offers promise of further functionality at a later date, in the guise of adding PVR-abilities to the box (the possibility of recording video onto an external storage device).

However, this will only be enabled by a firmware update and there's no confirmation as to when this will happen.

The rest of the features are more befitting an existing Freeview set-top box (STB), but everything has been fine-tuned on the HD-Fox T2 to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.

Even the setup is as easy as can be. Unlike other HDMI-sporting SD boxes we've tried of late, it will recognise that you're feeding video via the port from initial boot-up. We've often had to put a Scart lead into an STB first to set up the HDMI connection, but not so here.

In addition, the Humax receiver whizzes its way through the channel-scanning process like a caffeinated cheetah.

humax hd-fox t2 freeview hd interface

Aesthetics also play a large part in its ease of use, and the box has the best-looking graphical user-interface that we've come across - Sky and Virgin Media included.

Its eight-day EPG pops up with absolutely no lag and is clean, clear and concise. Its scroll-time is better than most, and there's little delay in flicking from channel to channel.

humax hd-fox t2 freeview hd

Externally it's a looker, too. While diminutive, the fascia looks like a classy Samsung Blu-ray player, and sports a natty click pad for navigation should you mislay the remote.

Not that you would, the controller is about as big as the unit itself - albeit similarly tasty and expensive looking.

And, although not as pretty, the rear is a cornucopia of connectivity, with video-fetishists catered for by the inclusion of two Scarts and a composite to accompany the HDMI out. Audio fans needn't feel left out, analogue stereo outputs are on offer alongside an optical digital.