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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!

MP4 vs MKV (for your recordings)

September 29th, 2012 1 comment

Time for a fight! or maybe just a head-to-head…

Well which is a better container format for converting your HD recordings into? No doubtedly MKV has a better lead on MP4 for HD container format due the availability of tools for converting, editing and creating but this situation has recently been changed and MP4 has gained popularity and the tools with it.

The Humax PVRs capable of playing external media do play some MKVs but are not officially supported. MP4 are officially supported and so you expect a better chance of getting them to play on your Humax.

I’ve also found that DLNA servers tend to give better support to MP4 than MKV, having served both from my NAS, and my Humax HDR-FOX T2 plays the MP4 rather than the MKV (even though that plays via USB).

Converting your HD recordings to MP4/MKV

I’ve asked around on video converting forums to what the best settings for conversions of stuff recorded on your Humax PVR to MP4 or MKV, and unfortunately no one came up with any. The general advice is to experiment and see what best works for you. So using my favourite conversion software – AVS Video Converter (donwload a trial version), I’ve have come up with the following.

Taking a recording of Alexander at 10GB or so and loading it into MediaInfo gives: BDAV: 10.3GB, 2h54mins – 1 video stream: AVC – 2 audio stream: AAC/AAC – 1 text stream: DVB Subtitle. First video stream: 1440*1080 (16:9) at 25.000fps, AVC (High@L4.0) (CABAC/$ Ref Frames). First audio stream: English, 48.0KHz, 2 channels, AAC (LATM) (LC)

So the point of conversion to any other format is to reduce the size of the file. Why not drop the resolution (b) down to 720p (1280×720) and see if this is good enough to view on my 37″ LCD from 4ft. Convert to MP4 using AVS VC:

With the latest version (8.2) of AVS Video Converter, it fully recognises a recording made by a Humax HDR-FOX T2, including the audio tracks (see box a). (Purchase an unlimited license and get to fully use other applications such as DVD, video and audio editing tools!)

I keep all the settings the same (see box b), especially setting the Frame Rate to 25fps or original (if set it lower, then there will be stuttering on playback! Be careful when using the predefined profiles such as HD video for the iPad since they have set the frame rate at 24fps which will make picture stutter on playback on any other device [except the iPad, probably, but I don’t have one to test this out!])

For sound (see box c), I will set the bit rate to 19skbps as a closer examination using MediaInfo, the max bit rate for sound is 183kps and for channels I will set it to ‘stereo’ because: (1) most HD programmes (on ITV1 HD) are 2 channels wrapped in DD5.1, and (2) to avoid lip sync’ing issues.

But select use 3/2+LTE 5.1 from the Channels dropdown list, for recordings of BBC HD programmes that have 5.1 sound to keep the surround sound facility on playback. (Here, using MediaInfo the max bit rate for sound was 303kps, so I set it to the closest setting at 288kps.)

So first of all conversion to MKV produced a 5GB file – no surprise that if we drop the resolution to 720p we get a reduction in file size. The surprise is that from 1080p to 720p is not half the resolution! But will the PQ be noticeable on screen? This is all down to individual perception and preference but, for me ‘no’ and I certainly think a reduction of space by a half is well worth making the conversion.

What about conversion to MP4? This produced a bigger file at about 6GB – more than the MKV format – what accounts for the difference, I don’t know (but will have to find out!).

So which of these two will playback on the HDR-FOX T2? Well both will via USB, but only the MP4 conversion will playback via my D-Link 320 NAS using DLNA UPnP (and also tested on my new IOMEGA Home Media Network Hard Drive, with the same result). So MKV produce a smaller file, but MP4 plays via DLNA server – so in terms of the contest  – it is about even so far.

So what if you’ve been converting to MKV but now want them in MP4 format? Don’t worry, I’ve recently found this great FREE tool! It is called MkvToMp4 (download it here from the AV Programs page). This utility will convert MKV into MP4 without re-encoding – which means it doesn’t take hours to do the task. It works very well with all the MKVs that been converted using AVS Video Converter, and the HDR-FOX T2 is able to play via USB, but again not via DLNA.

Examining the file produced by the conversion with no re-encoding using the MkvToMp4 utility, reveals that it is pretty much identical in size as the original MKV produced by AVS VC. This leaves me with an initial conclusion to why the MP4 produced by AVS VC is 1GB bigger than the MKV – that is the extra data makes it playable via the DLNA server.

So, back to the contest, conversion straight to MP4 using AVS Video Converter wins if you are using a DLNA server, but MKV wins if you are using a direct USB hard drive to play converted recordings.

Categories: Media Formats, Software Tags:

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 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.