Humax HDR-7500T

Humax's HDR-7500T is a solid performer if you're after a PVR, but for ease of use it's still got a long way to go to unseat TiVo.


7.2
CNET Rating
6.3
User Rating


Design

Humax's design of the HDR-7500T practically screams "I'm a PVR" at you. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it's just that it doesn't have what could be called a particularly memorable or interesting visual design, with a standard LED display next to a glowing ring that indicates its current recording status. It's inevitably decked out in a piano-black finish, and while this might look good on a sales floor, in a home environment it's an invitation for fingerprint smudges and dust collection.

The HDR-7500T's remote control is an exceptionally busy little creature, with buttons to cover most features of the PVR, as well as a number of function buttons to cover its use as a universal remote control.

Features

There are two models of the HDR-7500T to pick from, although the only key difference is the in-built storage; AU$449 buys you the 500GB model, while AU$549 scores you a 1TB unit. It covers the standard bases of a high-end PVR, as it's capable of dual-channel recording via either Humax's own EPG — which is just the free-to-air digital EPG with a fresh coating of paint on it — or IceTV. There's a trial of IceTV provided with the unit, as well as the offer for a lifetime subscription for AU$99. IceTV doesn't just provide a slightly longer EPG for your money; it also unlocks the ability to manage season pass-style recording for favourite programs. We'd say factor in the AU$99 IceTV cost into your Humax buying decision, as it's a much better unit with IceTV than without it.

The HDR-7500T is also Ethernet and Wi-Fi (via an optional adapter, sold separately) ready for both streaming programs from a network share and some limited Smart TV-style apps. At launch, these are limited to iView, Youtube, Wiki@TV and Picasa. It's claimed they'll be updated and improved over time, but we can only assess what you'd get right now if you bought one. On the bright side, the box isn't Freeview branded, and that means that ad skipping is supported in a variety of skip lengths.

Performance

Setting up the Humax involved the usual run of setting locale, network and scanning for stations, which the box did without any real complaint. It took a little while to pick up either the Humax or IceTV EPG guides; that tallies with what we've seen with the free-to-air EPG, which is often extremely limited and sometimes flat out wrong. Again, it's worth considering these boxes as being essentially AU$99 more than the RRP, if only because IceTV does expand its functionality quite a bit.

The PVR basics are handled well, but we struggled to intuitively learn the way the Humax logic flow works. The obvious competitor in this space would be TiVo, and if there's one lesson that Humax could learn from TiVo it's that pleasurable TV watching is essentially a lazy activity. You don't want to have to sort out if the iView app is via "TV Portal" or "Media", or if the DLNA network streaming comes via hitting "Menu" or any of the red, green, yellow or blue buttons. Yes, you can learn this stuff over time, but it means you're always looking at the remote to find the right button, rather than at the screen.

Of the included applications, iView's the clear current star; while many streaming boxes will do YouTube, having to navigate via on-screen keyboard grows very old very fast, whereas iView's clickable interface works well and requires minimal remote control staring. It'll be interesting to see how dedicated to new applications Humax actually is; while it's talking a big game at launch, we've seen many boxes that promised big things via updates fail to deliver.

We hit some genuinely odd issues streaming media from a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+. For whatever reason, once we got beyond about three directory levels deep, the HDR-7500T would select the folder above the one we'd highlighted 90 per cent of the time. It wasn't 100 per cent consistent — at least you could work around that — and we're not sure if it's the NAS or PVR at fault, but we've not hit that particular problem with other streaming boxes in the past. Humax's claim is that the updates come through at 4am via the network for the HDR-7500T; hopefully that's one intermittent bug that'll be squashed soon.

Conclusion

The HDR-7500T is a decent dual-channel PVR with in-built DLNA and at least a smattering of apps that could grow into a larger library over time — but we can only review what's placed in front of us, not what could be. There's no shortage of competing units from companies such as TiVo or Topfield, and Humax needs to sort out easier remote navigation and more stable DLNA network usage.



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dazaspc
4
Rating
 

"Great ideas poorly executed. It is SLOW"

dazaspc posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Internet connectivity, Adjustable skipping via single button

The Bad:SLOW during boot and when recording

Have had this for a couple of weeks now. Replaced a Teac HDR 2500T with a bad tuner.
The good first; The add skip is the whole reason why we got this unit and it works ok but the firmware could do with a finite adjustment for this function instead of giving only 30,60,90 and 120 second jumps. I have found that most commercial breaks are stopping a few seconds over the even minutes. I connected it to a hard wired network and it connected easily and most of the internet apps work fine. The remote is multi functional and didn't take long to set up. The menu is easy to use and it's clearly marked on the remote. The YouTube app works flawlessly.

The Bad; The streaming apps are pausing during playback there needs to be some sort of buffer adjustment. I View app doesn't play at all after the firmware update though it my be my isp. The same videos when played back on a pc on the same connection are fine so I don't think it is my network connection. The machine is very slow to start, it can also be very slow to respond to the remote sometimes (Normally when recording), 3~120 seconds. This causes some double pressing on the remote and the obvious problems that will go along with that. The Guide is easy to set for recording with an option to view by single station would make it easier to set up the weeks recording. It works ok with the usb playback in some formats. The buttons on the unit are not clearly labeled. The screen on the front displaying channel information is a waste ( No firmware option to turn off ) and the expense should have been spent on a better CPU/memory to improve the multi tasking.
The Summary; Compared to my old Teac it hardly casts a shadow. The slow response, the slow boot and the flaky performance of the apps is disappointing. It records it's programs on time and wont allow conflicts. Great ideas poorly executed.

Marlin50
7
Rating
 

"Not happy with Video file play back on USB and DLNA"

Marlin50 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:EPG is Good Recording is great.

The Bad:Does not play MKV over DLNA.

Video files played from USB or DLNA are stretched to fill screen if wider than 16:9.
When setting Screen Ratio to 16:9 and Format to Auto. There is no setting for Letterbox . Auto does nothing. Pillar box works if movie is in 4:3 format.
To play movies with black lines top and bottom you have to set screen ratio to 4:3 then set format to Letterbox 16:9.
This is a pain as you have to keep changing settings to watch a movie or TV.

Humax needs a firmware update to fix these problems.

kuba2
8
Rating
 

"Good and working PVR"

kuba2 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:EPG is good

The Bad:Remote control

This is my PVR number 17 - yes, so many PVRs in last 10+ years.
After fighting for several months with DGTEC500TT - bought Humax and so far quite happy.

Good EPG and recording options.

However bad side - hopless remote control, designer should take ergomonics course. Wrong size buttons, bad layout.

And lack of support for MKV files.

Additional small problem - after playing movie from USB drive, then stopping. And again selecting Video option - plays movie from bookmark - selecting another movie is quite akward step.
What about simple options - playing last movie/select new one.

And would be nice to have two USB ports at the back

 

swamprat96 posted a comment   

The Good:Great menu, reliable, great picture, easy to use

The Bad:No MKV support, DLNA only (no samba)

Having come from an unreliable TVIX this machine has been a vast improvement. The menu is a no-brainer and very easy to use. It has more functionality than a Tivo and fills both PVR and media player roles well.

Some tweaking needed to make it really sing. I ended up using TVersity as the DLNA server on my network as windows media player is a heap of....

Lack of MKV support is an issue. Many HD movies are now packaged with MKV and Humax needs to address this. No Flac support is also a minor irritant.

But all round a good effort and up there with the top PVR's




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User Reviews / Comments  Humax HDR-7500T

  • dazaspc

    dazaspc

    Rating4

    "Have had this for a couple of weeks now. Replaced a Teac HDR 2500T with a bad tuner.
    The good first; The add skip is the whole reason why we got this unit and it works ok but the firmware co..."

  • Marlin50

    Marlin50

    Rating7

    "Video files played from USB or DLNA are stretched to fill screen if wider than 16:9.
    When setting Screen Ratio to 16:9 and Format to Auto. There is no setting for Letterbox . Auto does noth..."

  • kuba2

    kuba2

    Rating8

    "This is my PVR number 17 - yes, so many PVRs in last 10+ years.
    After fighting for several months with DGTEC500TT - bought Humax and so far quite happy.

    Good EPG and recording op..."

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