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Preparing for Xmas TV

December 10th, 2012 No comments

You know what? The Christmas holiday period is fast approaching, and you know there are going to be lots of programmes and movies on TV that you would want to record and enjoy when you have a moment to watch. So here are my tips to capture and watch using your Humax PVR!

Make sure you have enough diskspace on your PVR’s hard drive
This one is obvious, but you will not be able to leave it until the last minute! To clear space, you need to either watch those series recordings or movies or transfer them off the internal hard drive. To watch them, you need a little time. Once you’ve watched the all the episodes you can delete the series folder in which they have recorded with a few button presses to make more space.

Transfer Recordings to External Disk Drive

To transfer the recordings off you need an external USB drive. If you don’t have an external USB drive, you can source one from our recommended purchases page . This will take time to copy, so order an external hard drive now and start transferring!

Upgrade your internal Hard Drive
Another route is to expand your internal hard drive by upgrading it. Source an internal hard disk drive from our recommended purchases page for you particular Humax PVR and replace it. If you are installing a bigger disk than the supported size, you need to do it now as it will take sometime to setup.

Put your internal Hard Drive into an enclosure
Once the internal has been replaced, you can insert this is a caddy or enclosure to either transfer the recordings off or play them connected up to your PVR, if it supports this. Find an appropriate hard drive caddy on the recommended purchases page for your hard disk. You can even purchase a cheap NAS enclosure to share your converted or plain recordings over the network.

Convert, compress recordings to AVI or MP4
Once you can access your recordings using a computer, you can start to convert them to a smaller format to save disk space. To do this you need to source a video conversion program and convert to which ever format you like (to on that is supported by your PVR or smart TV would be recommended.) The video conversion application we recommend is AVS Video Converter, and by following these links, you can support this blog when you purchase a copy. You can also download a copy for preview and if you purchase an unlimited license you can also use ALL the AVS applications including audio editors, DVD burning, and anti-spam tools!

How to post a message or topic on the Forums

September 9th, 2012 No comments

I suppose if the Forum @ MyHumax.Org is your first encounter with participating in a ‘forum’, then you might be at a lost to how to post a message requesting help. Here’s how to!

To post a message on the Forums, you need to register and login. To do this click on the register link and once completed you should get sent and email with your password. Login (1) and click on the Add New » link (2):

This will take you to the compose page. If you are a new user, you can post a hello message to practice and introduce yourself to the forums:

Type in a topic title, pick the forum section (leave on Welcome! for an introduction post). Type in your message in the Post box, and click on the Submit Post button. Your post will now appear in the forums for everyone to read and respond to.

To get help, it is a good idea to post in the right section of the forums. To do this, when composting a new post, pull down the drop-down list and select the appropriate section.

To help users search your post, include a few ‘tags’ in the tags textbox (1). If you need to attach a file or image to illustrate what your subject is about, the you can upload it with the Choose File button (2). Click and select your file. When you press the Submit Post button or the Upload button, the attachment will be uploaded and associated with your post.

If the forums is quiet, your post will appear on the front page (at http://myhumax.org/forum/ otherwise you can click the appropriate on the forums links (Welcome! or PVR 9150T, 9200T, 9300T in this example).

Categories: How To Guides, My Humax Forum Tags:

How to use Private Messages on the Forums

August 4th, 2012 No comments

What is a Personal Message (PM)?

A Personal Message or PM is a message sent from one user to another within a forum. There is such a facility on MyHumax.Org’s Forum, and it is called Private Messages.

When you login to MyHumax.Org’s Forum, under the welcome section (top-right-corner of screen), there is an item that says Private Messages (if you have no new messages in your inbox). Click on this to go to the Private Messaging (PM) page.

How do I send a PM?

On the PM page you can view or create a Private Message. To create a new PM, click on the ‘New>>’ link. This will then take you to the new PM compose screen (very similar to the new Topic screen):

Sending a PM is very similar to posting a Topic. Fill in the title text box (a) with a title of the PM. Type in the username of the person you wish to send the message to in the to text box (b). When you start typing the username, a drop box will appear with matching names, select one that appear to be certain that the user exists or type the name in completely.

Once the recipient is selected, you can type your message in the large text box, and send it by clicking on the Send Message>> button.

How do I read my PMs?

If you have new PMs, the same location of the top right corner under the Welcome section, it will tell you how many new PMs you have.

By clicking on the link, you are taken to your PMs and there you can read them.

To read your PMs, click on the message you want to read:

Once you have read your message, you can reply to it by pressing on the reply link. The Reply box will be revealed and you can type in your reply.

Click on the Send Message button once you have finished composing your message.

Conversations with PMs

The new Private Messaging system is not strictly a one-to-one conversation; it allows you to invite other members into a conversation you are having. To do this, enter the name of a member you want to invite in the text box (a) under the Members: section (b):

How do I Delete a PM?

There is no delete action in the PM system. Instead we have an ‘unsubscribe’ facility. When you no long want to view the conversation you are having, click on unsubscribe:

The PM will then disappear from your inbox, and will be deleted once all members of the conversation have also unsubscribed from it.

The Humax HD-FOX T2

December 16th, 2011 16 comments

Here are three things you might not know about this box:

  1. Did you know that this Freeview HD (PVR ready – add a USB hard disk and record) receiver is coming up to its 3rd Birthday?
  2. You can get this box from Humax Direct for £65 (‘grade A’ with 1 year warranty)? (Or for £105 brand new with 2 years warranty?)
  3. You can stream all (SD and HD) recordings from your HDR-FOX T2 PVR (or any other media servers) onto this box?

Yes, this is amazing! and in this post I will be taking you from unboxing and setting this box up for recording, streaming and using its TV Portal!

Three years old next February

Well, this little gem of a box was released in February 2009 as the BBC started broadcasting Freeview HD on some UK terrestial transmitters. Now there are many manufacturers with Freeview HD receivers and at cheaper prices, but none can beat this box for features and picture quality.

£65 from Humax Direct

You can get a ‘graded’ HD-FOX T2 from Humax Direct for just £65 now. A graded box is a returned box that’s tested, checked and readied for re-sale, but Humax Direct will put a 1 year warranty on it. (There’s £6 for delivery, but you can choose which day for it to get delivered.)

My HD-FOX T2, itself, came in perfect condition – the only sign that it was a graded box was the containing box – it was a bit battered.

Unboxing the HD-FOX T2

As you would expect all the items you need is in the package. A quick start guide and user manual, remote and batteries, HDMI and SCART leads, as well as the HD receiver. The receiver is the same small and compact size as the other Humax HD receiver – mainly the FOXSAT-HD. It has an internal power supply, and looks exactly like the picture!

One thing to notice straight away is the LEDs on the front – they are very bright!

Setting Up

After connecting the right cable to the right connections, e.g. HDMI to HDMI, or SCART to SCART, on the TV, and connect your aerial to the aerial in – you are ready to power up the box. The graded box should have been sold to you set with a factory reset start up. So when you power up the box connected to the TV you should be start the installation screen. Follow this through, from choosing language and screen options to channel tuning.

Weak Signals

The setup takes you through an auto channel tune. If you live in an area with multiple transmitters, you are better off cancelling this auto process, and perform a manual channel tune. I live in such an area, and went through the autotune to my confusion, I got really bad reception on the channels discovered and thought the box was faulty! A call to Humax Support, sorted this out, and I got an email of instructions to manual tune.

You can always check transmitter via digital uk website: http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/. On the right – enter postcode and house number and tick ‘I am in the aerial installation trade’. This should give you a list of transmitters for your locale. Then you can look up the channels to use to manual tune.

I had to use channel 57 in my manual tune to get the HD channels. Once manual tuning was done, all my channels were 75%+ power and 100% quality and there were no drop outs due to weak signals.

Attaching a USB Hard Drive

The HD-FOX T2 was able to record to an attached USB drive since the v1.01.12 firmware update (see updates here). My box came with version 16 of its firmware and could record on to a USB drive if it was the right size and formated to EXT3.

Attach any USB drive and you are able to read and playback supported media files, but attach the right size and formatted drive you are able to set timers or make an instant recording of the channel you are watching.

Initially, I attached a 4GB USB stick, but that did not work (although it attempted to assign it as a recording disk after formatting, it refused to record on to it.) The mystery was revealled when I attached a bigger drive to the USB port and proceeded to format it and set it up as the recording HDD.

To record, the HD-FOX T2 needs a disk big enough to reserve 20GB of it for recording/buffering purposes. So an external USB HDD that is double that – say at least 40GB should work. I attached an 80GB HDD in place of my 4GB USB stick and it formats and records just fine.

Test the newly formatted and assigned HDD by performing an instant record – press the record button.

After a minute or so you can go into Media, and see the recording appearing there:

Half a HDR-FOX T2

Now with an attached USB drive to the HD-FOX T2, you’ve got yourself a single tuner Humax PVR! It has all the recording and tricks as the HDR, but with a single tuner, it will have some dual tuner facilities missing.

So now you can go to the EPG and schedules some timers – manual or series linked reservations:

If there’s a clash of recording timers, because the HD has only one tuner, then reserving timers the box will inform you so. If you start a manual recording, this will always override any timers and if you have have clash the scheduled timer will fail. You will notice this in the Media listing:

Media Streaming Client

Before I go on to watching recordings from another device on the HD-FOX T2, I want to mention that the box can playback external media files such as AVI, VOB, and some MKV containers via an attached USB drive. So if you have such video files lying around on a USB drive, you can connect it up and play them directly. The HD has only one USB port, but you can attach a USB hub and connect a number of USB drives to it and it will see them all.

In the coming months, I will make a list of compatible media files that the HD-FOX T2 can play, but in the meantime, I suspect that those formats that can be played by the HDR-FOX T2 (as detailed here) can also be handled by the HD.

DLNA Client and Media Servers

The HD-FOX T2 is a DLNA Client, which means that if you have other devices on the network are DLNA servers, then the HD will be able to access the media that is served out.

Windows 7 can be set up as a media server that the HD can see. I have a NAS  (a D-Link DNS-320) that is a UPnP server. Most importantly, I have the Humax HDR-FOX T2, which is a DLNA server.

I can now, instead of accessing a USB device, access the network (attaching a network lead and attaching it to my home network switch, or using Humax’s own wireless dongle) and playback the files served out by the three media servers.

Windows 7 serving Music. (You need to using the Media button to change to see Music mdeia.)

My NAS device serving Video.

Using the HDR-FOX T2 DLNA Server with the HD

To be able to see the the files served by the HDR, you need to upgrade your HD box with the latest firmware – v1.02.20. My box came with v1.02.16, so at first I could not see any content on the HDR. But after the update, I was able to see all content including HD recordings.

However, I have discovered two bugs that is spoiling the HD Client to HDR Server set up. Firstly there’s a power saving issue on the HDR that turns off the box after 3 hours of continuous use, if the power saving feature is on. So if I was to watching content off my HDR using the HD, it will suddenly turn off after 3 hours. The second bug is with the HD, and as a client, it can’t playback a recording file that is bigger than 4GB completely. For example, with the Harry Potter recordings in the Media list of my HDR, I can start watching and it plays back OK. But if I skip to somewhere pass the middle of the movie, it stops playing, because the HD client code falls over at a file size of greater than 4GB in size – oops!
Humax TV Portal
With network access, there is no excuss not to be able to access online services such as iPlayer, internet radio, and YouTube. On this little box you can do so with Humax’s TV Portal. I believe SkyPlayer is coming soon along with a ‘Movies on Demand’ service…
Conclusion
This quality little box does everything, from receiving HD channels, recording like a PVR, and can access your media servers as well as iPlayer and YouTube, for a measely £65 (graded) or £105 brand new.
Hopefully, Humax will get the two niggling issues solved with the next firmware releases for both HD and HDR. I wait for that day to proclaim the HD-FOX T2 the best Freeview HD box ever!