The Foxsat HDR has proven the ‘one to beat’ of the Freesat PVR’s. Simply because it’s really very good indeed. It’s the standard by which all new Freesat PVR’s should be judged.

UPDATE: This box has now been discontinued. It’s been replaced by the superb HDR-1000S, also by Humax.

But if you’re looking for a bargain, click here to check ebay for the Foxsat HDR – it’s still a very good box, just keep well under £200 otherwise you may as well stretch to the HDR-1000s which is significantly better.

Why The Foxsat HDR Is Best

For starters it feels solid, and just looks better than some other boxes.

And then the picture quality is just that bit better than the others (and better than Sky people report). If you’re comparing boxes side by side you will see a some difference, and probably won’t want to lose that little bit of extra sharpness and richness the Humax provides. Be warned!

Of course twin tuners are included – essential if you ever want to record one program and watch another, record two programs at the same time, or even record two and watch a pre-recorded program. And you will!

Recording

Set-up is as easy as it should be for all PVR’s, as is the day to day use. Some valuable intelligence is applied to recording too, such as prompting you if there is an HD version available when you try to record an SD program. You can then instantly choose which you want without having to hunt to see if an HD recording is available. And for those family clashes where you end up with too many overlapping recordings – no problem, the Foxsat HDR will automatically hunt down repeats for you to help avoid domestic disputes. You can also order recordings neatly into folders (like ‘Dads Do NOT Delete’ for example!).

What Else Is Good?

The electronic program guide is good, and the remote is good – some find it could be a litte better, but are usually comfortable with it within a few hours). And you can watch BBC iPlayer content on your TV (where it should be!) which is a surprisingly valuable feature once you have it.

Those often forgotten satellite radio channels are easy to access, and record for later listening too. You don’t even need the TV switched on (if you have the audio routed through a hi-fi or surround system of course) as the front panel display provides enough enough to navigate channels pretty well.

The HDR is also satisfyingly quiet too. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to own a noisy PVR in the past will realise how important that feature is. There’s nothing worse than the distracting whirring of a small helicopter under your TV during quieter scenes of a program.

Outputs are via HDMI or Scart (or poor quality composite – please don’t!).

Any Problems?

The original hard drive capacity was 320GB. But the Foxsat HDR 500 now has 500GB. And the Foxsat HDR 1TB not surprisingly has 1TB.

As 320GB is about 160 hours at standard definition this is still a lot of storage. But with the HDR 500 now coming in at well under £300 and the number of HD channels slowly increasing, it is worth thinking about more storage.

The Foxsat HDR is a little more money than some other models. But this is easily forgiven when you take into account the quality you get. And if you decide the 320GB model is enough for you, there are some stunning bargains to be had (click here to check ebay).

Warning: Foxsat HD vs HDR

If you’re shopping around for a Humax Foxsat recorder, be careful you are buying the right box. Humax did release an earlier version of this box called the Foxsat HD – but that’s a receiver only, it does not record! You need the Humax Foxsat HDR if you want the PVR functions.

In Conclusion

It’s not the cheapest PVR on the market, but it is still the best. And you really have to question if it’s worth saving a few pounds on something that will get so much use.
The HDR has also now swept the board for awards too, with top ratings from all the magazines – What Hifi Magazine, What Video, Home Cinema and Which. Get it, you’ll be happy you did.

UPDATE:
Now discontinued. Click here to check eBay for a bargain Foxsat HDR

Or read our review of the superb Humax HDR-1000S instead. It’s significantly improved.