The World Cup 2010 may be on the cusp of completion, but try as it might, Humax was always going to struggle to get the HDR-FOX T2 Freeview+HD PVR on shelves before the final.
It was too ambitious a project to rush release, and from a jolly good fiddle at the company's offices in West London, Pocket-lint can reveal that the wait was not in vain.
To begin with, the box, which is considerably wider and shinier than its non-HDD stablemate, is reassuringly stable, and performs all functions with a speed more often associated with Usain Bolt, than digital TV kit. Menus seamlessly pop up on screen at the touch of a button, the Freeview EPG scrolls smoothly and instantly, and even networked media files start without the typical digital groaning associated with similar products.
Its bowels contain a 500GB hard drive, and there are two tuners to record from. Indeed, if you know a thing or two about multiplexes, you can record two shows simultaneously, while watching a third on a different channel, if it doesn't reside in the same frequency band as the others.
Recordings can be archived to a separate, plug-in external hard drive, and the box can access media files this way too. Humax has even promised that a future update will expand the number of filetypes the box will recognise and play from external memory sources, and via Ethernet from a PC or network storage device.
One other interesting thing that came from the demo is that there are plans to bring Sky Player and BBC iPlayer to the HDR-FOX T2 in the near future. Plus, if you own a non-PVR HD-FOX T2 Freeview HD receiver, that can link up to the recorder via your home network and you can stream recordings from one Humax device to another. This might even work with other manufacturer's products but isn't purposely supported: "Content management restrictions mean that we can only guarantee that it works on Humax devices", Bob Hannent, the company's chief technologist (as seen in the video above), told Pocket-lint.
At present, the box can only connect to the Internet and a home network via hard-wired Ethernet, but that could change in the future: "We are considering making a Wi-Fi USB stick available, subject to demand", said Hannent. "HomePlug AV products, though, are our preferred method".
The Humax HDR-FOX T2 should be available in shops as of the third week in July 2010, for around £329. Further functionality will be unlocked and expanded upon in the coming months, and we'll bring you a full, in-depth review over the next couple of weeks. Watch this space...