PVR’s or personal digital recorders really aren’t very exciting. Bluray’s can show how they’re so much better than DVD’s, HD TV’s can knock the square out of an old box TV. But PVR’s? Not that interesting. That is of course, unless you’ve just purchased a Humax HDR-7510T in either 500gb or 1tb.
It’s a pretty sleek looking device. It’s black, not surprisingly, and sports a lovely colour ring around a metallic finish in the centre of the unit when it’s switched on. It looks sophisticated, which kind of suits it because make no mistake, it’s a pretty sophisticated product.
When Humax sent me a unit for testing my first thoughts were “nice device, what’s play-back like in HD?” Well, I can tell you that it’s good. Very good in fact. I’ve tested a few PVR’s and each time I go to playback HD content they usually stall a little, the picture breaks up often enough and I’m left thinking “well, this isn’t bad… it is after all recorded”. My experience should be better than that. And with the Humax HDR-7510T I can tell you that it is. Playback is smooth, consistent and from the testing I did… flawless. It shouldn’t be that difficult to record something to hard disk and play it back, but so many competing devices appear to find this somewhat of a challenge. I watch Formula 1 and some races are at 4am so a PVR is vital in this instance.
It’s a dual channel unit which means you can watch one show while you record another. This is a God-send for me as I’m not sure how many more episodes of Winners & Losers I can watch while perfectly good ‘boy TV’ is broadcasting on another channel. Further, I like watching the football on Saturday night but can never really decide which match to watch. Now I can watch one and then head over to the PVR and watch the other one straight after. Who needs to be up early on a Sunday morning anyway?
One thing which did disappoint me however, was that the unit does not ship with a HD cable. This was a little surprising. If you’re going to sell something as High Definition then surely you need to supply a HD cable to make it so. Of course, I have a number of HD cables laying around here but if you’re Mr Smith out in the suburbs this may not be the case. You get home all excited to use your new toy but before you can record in HD another trip to the shops is required. This doesn’t strike me as a great first experience. It does ship with a composite cable so it’s not entirely unusable out of the box, but that’s not the HD experience they’re selling us.
That aside, one of the things which pushes the Humax ahead of its competition is IceTV. It’s a weird name and will set you back $99 as an add on, but what it does is very welcoming. With all PVR’s you can access a standard EPG or Electronic Programming Guide. IceTV enables your Humax device to record seasons of your favourite shows. You may like to watch A Current Affair every night but don’t always get home in time. You can series-link this program and it will record every night ready to watch when you arrive. Probably a poor example, who would want to watch A Current Affair every night?
I missed The Black List last week but it won’t be happening again this week. Why not? Because I’ve reviewed the Humax HDR-7510T PVR and now feel the immediate urge to go out and purchase a unit for myself. A free 3 month trial of IceTV comes with every device which is pretty nice because you may not want to pony up an extra $99 dollars after shelling out money to buy your new Humax PVR device in the first place.
From the usage testing I’ve done on this unit I can say without doubt that it’s a step in the right direction for PVR’s. I was impressed with the solid playback of content but after using IceTV you could say I’ve turned in to a fan. If you’re looking for a device which does more than your average PVR and competes with products like TiVo for content then you might like to take a look at Humax. You may be refreshingly surprised, and if you’re not…. you will probably get good coin for this thing on eBay as I’m certain others will be more than happy to take it off your hands.
Recommended to buy.
8.5 out of 10.
Reviewed by Andrew Cunningham
Device Unboxing by Brad and Andrew