Despite the (temporary) absence of VoD functionality the HDR-FOX T2 offers more features than most Freeview+ HD PVRs including a CI slot that will provide a means of watching ESPN for £9.99 a month with Top Up TV.
The whole issue of pay TV on Freeview is a bit of a minefield for although Sky Sports 1 and 2 appear in the Freeview channel list they can only be watched by subscribing with BT Vision or with Top Up TV and the latter only works on Top Up TV's non-HD Freeview+ box plus Sagem's IDT68 and IDT72 boxes.
COMPARED: The Humax HDR-FOX T2 dwarfs the more compact Humax HD-FOX T2
Back to the Humax HDR and it's a joy to find a digital optical audio output that is actually capable of outputting multichannel Dolby Digital sound.
All other boxes have Dolby Digital decoders but most can't transcode from AAC which is used to carry vital audio description metadata.
But Humax has implemented the latest Dolby Digital Pulse technology to make sure that by adding an amp and speakers you can actually enjoy 5.1 surround sound where it's broadcast (which actually isn't very often).
You can choose to output digitally in stereo if you prefer or use the analogue stereo phonos. The HDMI socket will output upscaled standard definition and HD shows in 1080i or can be set to upscale to 1080p.
There are composite video and Scart outputs too but we won't dwell on them. An RF loop-through ensures your TV's tuner will still function whilst the box is connected to your aerial.
Other handy extras include the convenient on/off switch at the back and front-mounted USB port that's discretely hidden behind a black flap. Media playback extends to JPEGs, MP3s and most movie codecs except MKV.
The HDR-FOX T2 can also be hooked up over the ethernet to a DLNA compliant server and you can copy files to the box's own hard disk.
The fascia's LED display is one of the better ones, clearly spelling channel names and functions in a legible font. The box in general is nicely designed with a top quality plastic fascia, basic volume/channel controls and a central power button that faintly glows blue round its circumference when in standby and brightly when switched on.
The light changes to red when a recording is taking place.