We've certainly had a bit of a pop at freesat in the past, but it's not because we don't like it -- we just think it could be a lot better. That's mainly to do with the standard-definition channels, which really should look better on digital satellite than they do on Freeview. That said, both BBC HD and ITV HD are doing great work -- but until now, we haven't been able to record it.
Luckily, Humax has a fetish for pandering to our every whim, and is providing a way for HD fans to record their favourite shows -- the Foxsat-HDR. That includes those that air on the slightly tricky ITV HD channel, which is not a regular channel like BBC HD, to stop Sky from being able to include it in its channel line-up.
As you would expect, the Foxsat-HDR is capable of recording up to 1080i video, which it stores on its internal 320GB hard drive. Humax thinks that's enough to store around 80 hours of HD video or 200 hours of SD, which should be more than enough for most users. An eight-day programme guide allows you to plan recordings well in advance, and of course, the dual tuners mean you can record one channel while watching another.
There's an HDMI output for getting the HD pictures on to your TV, and there are composite and Scart outputs too, although we're not sure who would go to the effort and expense of buying an HD box to watch TV over a standard-definition connection. freesat boxes also have Ethernet sockets, which we still hope will one day deliver on-demand programmes from the BBC iPlayer service.
Humax has also planned ahead, because its receiver supports the DVB-S2 broadcast system. This could well be the next evolution for satellite broadcasting and offer even more bandwidth on each transponder -- and with that space, the option for even more channels.
We've also had a little idea. Why not add a Freeview tuner to these freesat boxes? This would enable people lucky enough to get both services to make the most of Freeview and freesat, and even better, record both. Be a good chap, Humax, and sort that out would you? Smashing.
You'll be able to buy the HDR around the middle of November for £300, although freesat installation will cost you another £80 on top of that, if you don't already have a dish. We'll be testing the HDR soon, so keep an eye on our reviews channel.