Humax have finally broken cover and have softly launched their brand new Freeview Play PVR.
I say softly because they aren't even shouting about it on their own website, you have to scour the Internet for titbits and morsels of information which I've collated here for your convenience.
Firstly and importantly it's out now, so if you simply can't wait you can buy one now from the following retailers.
|Humax FVP-4000T (500GB)||
|£199.95 + 2 year guarantee|
|Humax FVP-4000T (1TB)||Click here for latest price|
|£229.99 + 2 year guarantee|
*Prices correct at the time of writing
The FVP-4000T offers great value for money when you consider Humax PVRs tend to sit at the top of the range of PVRs.
The HDR-FOX T2 cost £329.99 when it first launched (I know because that's how much I paid for mine) so the FVP-4000T looks like a bargain since it's packed with even more features.
What's interesting about the FVP-4000T is this is Humax's first true successor to the brilliant HDR-FOX T2 which first launched back in August 2010.
Yes they have launched newer Freeview products since the HDR-FOX T2 but the HDR-2000T and HDR-1800T were more like facelift models and both still essentially had the same features and ran the same software as the HDR-FOX T2.
Of course there were also the YouView and Freesat PVRs but if you're a Humax fan, the FVP-4000T is the new Freeview PVR you've been waiting for.
So with the Humax FVP-4000T we not only have a brand new product from Humax but also an exciting new platform that it's built on – Freeview Play.
Freeview Play is an extension of Freeview which throws catch-up TV into the mix.
If you're familiar with YouView, this is pretty much the same thing. Services such as iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and Demand 5 are all seamlessly built into the EPG.
This gives you the ability to 'rewind time' directly from the EPG and catch-up on any missed programmes.
The FVP-4000T is one of the first products on the market to support Freeview Play.
Record 3 programmes at the same time
One of the headline grabbing features is the introduction of a third HD TV tuner.
Depending on how much TV you watch and record will depend on how much value you place on this but it feels like a definite step forward in the evolution of Freeview PVRs and will certainly give the Humax FVP-4000T an edge against any rivals who only have two.
If you're not sure what the fuss is all about, an extra tuner will simply give you more options to record more programmes at the same time. It will also reduce the likelihood of clashes and help with programme overruns.
Considering the biggest shows, dramas and entertainment programmes all fight for the same primetime slot in the schedule, there can be occasions when you might want to record 3 programmes that are all on at the same time.
The other and probably more common scenario is the third tuner can help avoid clashes when a programme either starts early or overruns.
Either way this is a great addition.
Built-in Wi-Fi (finally)
The other big feature (for Humax at least) is they've finally integrated Wi-Fi into the FVP-4000T.
Up until this point, none of their PVRs have come with Wi-Fi built-in. Even their most bang up to date YouView PVR (a service built around Internet catch-up TV) didn't come with Wi-Fi.
So although Wi-Fi is nothing new for pretty much any new piece of kit these days, this is a first for Humax and a very welcome one.
When it comes to design, this is possibly the most controversial thing Humax have done with the FVP-4000T.
It looks like an evolution of their own Freesat HDR-1010S set-top box but with a textured leather-like top panel!
It's the kind of finish that wouldn't look out of place on a premium cars interior, but on a set-top box... I'll reserve judgement until I see it for myself.
It comes in two flavours (almost literally), Mocha and Cappuccino and has a retro feel about it especially the lighter Cappuccino version.
Buttons and display
Humax have opted to not have any display on the front panel so if you're used to having things like playback details and a clock, then you're out of luck. The front is very minimalist which appears to be the trend these days.
There are still physical buttons on the top panel however. These consist of Programme Up/Down, Volume Up/Down and Standby On/Off.
Rounding things off is a 2-colour LED on the lower right side. Red indicates it's recording, blue means ON but not recording and Red (again) indicates it's in standby.
Spot the obvious problem with that. It won't be immediately obvious whether the FVP-4000T is off or recording!
The Humax FVP-4000T is fairly small measuring 280mm x 200mm which is ever so slightly smaller than a piece of A4 paper. So you shouldn't have too many problems finding a suitable place for it.
Humax FVP-4000T remote
On first impressions the remote control looks fairly underwhelming but more importantly appears to be missing some fairly vital functionality.
The most notable of which is any sort of information, or i button.
The omission of such an important button seems like a very odd choice by Humax. It's the sort of button that's become indispensable for TVs, PVRs and other A/V equipment so not having one is pretty unforgivable.
Other buttons that appear to be missing compared to previous Humax PVRs are
- A dedicated Recordings/Media button (seems to have been replaced with a Home button)
- 'Advert' Skip Forward/Back buttons
- Bookmarks set and Bookmarks retrieve buttons (something I never used until I had kids!)
- Slow Motion button (admittedly this is one that will probably be missed the least but it's still worth mentioning).
Humax FVP-4000T review
So what's it like? Well unfortunately we haven't managed to get our hands on one yet but rest assured as soon as we do, we'll post an in-depth review.
Some of the remote control changes mentioned above are a slight concern but if they've taken all the best bits from the HDR-FOX T2, ironed out the niggles and Freeview Play works as advertised, then I'm sure Humax will be on to a winner.
So watch this space...
If you want to check out further in depth details of the FVP-4000T, download the manual here: FVP-4000T User Manual/Guide